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Streaming Media

February 16th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Many web hosting companies offer streaming media in their web hosting packages. Streaming media refers to the ability to upload audio, video, or animation clips to your website. There are two main types of streaming “progressive streaming” and “real time streaming”. Very few free web hosting services allow streaming at all.

With progressive streaming, a file is downloaded from the server, and usually starts to play while the rest of the file is still downloading. The entire file is downloaded and stored on the visitors computer. Many hosts are not very supportive of this type of streaming because it takes up a lot of disk space and data transfer and costs the host more money. Some streaming media hosts will not allow mp3, avi, or mpeg files to be uploaded. If you are considering creating a website that has a lot of streaming media files find out if your hosting package will accommodate your needs.

Real time or server based streaming is designed for people who wish to have a lot of multimedia files on their website. As the name suggests, these files are stored on a special dedicated server and works very well for media to be viewed in “real time” such as live TV broadcasts, webinars, and internet based classrooms. Some of the more popular streaming servers are the QuickTime Streaming Server from Apple, the Real Networks Server or the Windows Media Server.

With real time streaming the entire file is not downloaded to the player. It is much like watching TV only the view may have the option to view ahead, look back, or skip around. Because real time servers can be very expensive they are not typically included in low cost packages. Some web hosts may offer this at an additional cost or have slightly higher pricing for web hosting packages that include this option.

If you are building a website and not sure whether you will use this feature it you may to consider the possibility you may want to expand and you this option later. Or, if you know you intend to use a lot of multimedia on your site perhaps some of the information in this post will help you to know which questions to ask your web hosting provider.

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