Since the advent of the internet, doing many interactive things including video streaming has become possible. The power of dynamic internet allows a person to transmit both audio as well as video at very high speeds; so that things like video streaming and teleconferencing become possible. In essence, video streaming is nothing more than taking a video and audio signal at the source and transmitting across the internet. This allows you to send any interactive video stream to any website that can receive dynamic data. The website that is displaying the video stream must have a special script that can show your video and audio stream.
You can easily create video streaming with nothing more than a simple microphone and a webcam or you can use more advanced equipment to generate the required signal. In addition, you will need some sort of an encoder software that will help you to transform the signal into a continuous stream. In order to achieve this, the streaming data have to be broken into packets and each packet needs to be checked at the moment of streaming in order to make sure that the data integrity is maintained. If there is an encoding problem, this can cause the loss of the coherence of the visual data, which can cause problems at the reception end as well. Otherwise visual frames as well as audio packets will be dropped during transmission and this can make the broadcast lose its overall coherency. Usually, the signal integrity can depend on your internet connection speed, as well as the quality of the line itself. Your internet connection should be good enough so that the data packets are also being forwarded to your ISP with minimal loss. In addition, your connection should have an overall stability for extended periods of time since internet broadcasting o streaming will usually take place for some time. An unstable connection can cause lot of dropped frames in your video stream.
The most popular type of encoding in video streaming is flash streaming. The greatest advantage of flash streaming is that it can be played back in any kind of a browser. You can easily use Internet Explorer, Firefox Mozilla, Google Chrome or even Opera to play back any flash streaming regardless of the computer or the operating system that is being used. Hence, whether the user is using an Apple computer or a classic PC won’t matter and even using Windows or Linux will not make a difference in playing back the stream. However, the main problem with flash streaming is the fact that it will use a larger amount of bandwidth and this can make it an issue in terms of bandwidth availability.
The second type of encoding mechanism that you can use is Shoutcast streaming. In fact, shoutcast streaming is a very popular streaming method that has been in use for over a decade. It is especially used for audio streaming and for internet radio stations, since it is an inexpensive and easy way of streaming. The shoutcast streaming encoder actually uses a sort of MP3 encoder that is Winamp compatible, so that it can be played back in variety of different platforms including Winamp player as well as VLC player. Especially, many online radio stations have popped up after the usage of Shoutcast streaming. However, the main disadvantage of Shoutcast streaming is the fact that especially video signals can be hard to playback in different type of browsers. Thus, you may end up using different scripts for different browsers and this may not be necessarily sensible for a website that displays video streaming. However, for audio streaming Shoutcast still remains the best option.
Almost all of the encoders for video streaming as well as audio streaming can be found for free on the internet. However, you will need to use some sort of a data service provider to provide a server for your streams. These encoders will send the video stream or the audio stream to the streaming server and the streaming server will send the signal to the whole of the internet. Of course, anytime that someone watches your video stream, then it will use that much of bandwidth from the server itself. For example, if you are streaming at 128 kps, then this will mean that the person who is watching your video stream will also be using a 128 kps of the bandwidth. So, if you have many people watching your video stream, then this can cause a lot of bandwidth to be used immediately by the server. In fact, with a simple calculation, if 50 users watch your video stream or your internet video broadcast continuously for a month; it can use as much as 50 GB of bandwidth from your server and from your service provider. Hence, this can cause large bills from your service provider.
Thus, it is essential that you choose a service provider that is able to give you affordable rates for the amount of listeners that you will have on your stream. In addition, some stream bandwidth providers will give you a fixed amount of bandwidth and they will charge you only for that, while some stream bandwidth providers can give provide you with a pay as you go system. In order to choose the correct stream service provider, you will need to have some idea of how many people will watch your stream or broadcast. Of course, needless to say, your service provider should also make sure that they provide continuous support for your video streaming broadcast. Furthermore, script support should also be provided, so that you can embed a compatible script on your website. This way, you can make sure that your video stream can reach as large number of people as possible. In the end, you can do a lot of interesting activities with video streaming and you can even start your own internet TV station or your own online radio. So, start looking at your options and start your personal internet broadcasting today.
Dr. UGUR GUVEN is an Aerospace Engineer (PhD). He has worked as the Technical Director of various TV Channels and he is currently a Technical Consultant to many TV channels today. Dr Guven has been involved with advancement of internet tv broadcasting and video streaming technology since 2000.