Multimedia has become a familiar word to technology users all over the world, and consists of a wide variety of audio and video content.
Many have moved on from the earlier, traditional means of sharing multimedia on tapes, CDs or DVDs to video streaming. Children as young as a year old might view multimedia video streamed content.
Regardless of age, speed and reliability are the most desirable factors for today’s viewers.
From the types of streaming technologies that are available today, your choice would depend on a range of factors. The most important one would be whether you are streaming live such as watching an NBA game, or recorded content such as on-demand movies.
Let’s take a look at some of the main features of two different streaming protocols:
RTSP or RTP-based streaming
Real Time Streaming Protocol or RTSP (also called RTP) may be used to control multimedia sessions with simple commands such as Play, Pause or Stop that are familiar options on your media player as well. The actual media stream is carried over another protocol such as the RTP Control Protocol or RTCP.
- Progressive Download: This refers to a mechanism by which the media player could start playing after downloading a part of the media file. The limitation would be that if you try to play a later portion of the file, you would have to wait until the entire earlier part is downloaded.
- Pseudo Streaming: This is also based on HTTP but provides a way to seek and play a later part of the media file seamlessly.
- Adaptive Bitrate Streaming: In this method, it is possible to provide different versions of a source file, which the clients could choose from and download based on the bandwidth availability at their end.
- MPEG-DASH: Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) is a part of the international ISO standards, and uses segmentation of the file to accomplish the streaming successfully. It is available as open-source.
- HTTP Live Streaming: This is a method used specifically by iOS devices, and created by Apple to accomplish media and entertainment mobility services on Apple devices.
- Microsoft Smooth Streaming: This protocol allows adaptive streaming, which means that each client could enjoy the quality of streams according to his/her bandwidth.
Challenges and Solutions
- RTSP requires a dedicated server that is always on, which could be a strain on resources. There could be data loss in RTSP when there is a network error. However, when the requirement is to deliver live streaming audio or video, this protocol fits the bill very well and it could be used in broadcasting application development effectively.
- While HTTP-based protocols might lead to some wastage of bandwidth, they are the preferred choice when it comes to streaming on-demand programs. This is because they provide a much higher level of reliability when compared to RTSP. Among the HTTP-based choices, MPEG-DASH seems to be a frontrunner for both live and on-demand video.
Depending on the interface, technology and type of streaming, the solution might be based on any of the mentioned protocols. Such a solution will ensure that you have delivered optimum solution for delivering optimum results to your clients.
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[Image credit: Kathy Dempsey, Flickr]