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Old October 7th, 2008, 07:56 PM   #1
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TV Network Internet Video Streaming.......

I must be living under a rock, as I have only in the last couple of days stumbled upon these feeds (ok, yes, I admit it, I was desperate to watch THAT video of Tina Fey doing her SNL Palin thing - too scary for words!).

Up to now YouTube has been about the extent of my streaming experience, so it has come as a huge eye opener to see the quality with which these feeds are pumping out content.

Having done a very small amount of checking around (CBS, NBC, The Beeb and Oz's SBS) I am truly gobsmacked by the quality of the images and the smoothness of the delivery.

The question for the panel is:

How are they doing this?

NZ has some of the slowest Broadband on the planet, so I reckon my line speed is barely above 1 meg.

How are they getting such huge amounts of 16:9 down that diameter pipe with nary a hiccup nor a glitch? And so clear?

Conversely, why is YouTube so bad?

I appologise if the concensus is "Huh, where you been living the last decade?", the answer is, obviously, under that rock.

On the same subject (sorta), why can I find a live feed of the Obama/ McCain debate on Oz's SBS and not from either NBC or CBS? (or are they there but also under a similar rock?).

Thanks in advance,


CS
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Old October 7th, 2008, 08:35 PM   #2
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nbc IS providing the debate via hulu. I am watching it now.

Youtube is so low on quality because of their massiveness but they are moving to higher quality. Rumors of them sending petabytes would be the reason. Every bit counts.

1Mbit is more than enough for a nice quality video. 896K is a darn good video bit rate. More than enough, especially if there is a lot of repeating back ground. Second, if you buffer you can avoid the random hickup. :)
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Old October 7th, 2008, 09:00 PM   #3
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Huh..........

I was watching on SBS and it worked a treat, for a while, then went to hell in a hand basket and locked solid.

Ran my link speed test and whadda you know - 3.4 MEG!

Fastest I've ever seen it and the worst feed I've had. What is going on here?

Confused.


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Old October 7th, 2008, 09:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
I was watching on SBS and it worked a treat, for a while, then went to hell in a hand basket and locked solid.

Ran my link speed test and whadda you know - 3.4 MEG!

Fastest I've ever seen it and the worst feed I've had. What is going on here?

Confused.


CS
The link to you and the vidoe source may be saturated. The link betwen you and your test site (especially if its your ISP) is clear. Think of it as a trip driving to work. Some roads are packed some are not.

Might want to try and watch the feed via cnn.com
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Old October 7th, 2008, 11:09 PM   #5
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OK, some specifics....................

I presume the originals all start off as HD.

Does anyone know what they're using to encode these feeds?

Are they off the shelf or some sort of "private mix"?

Final O/P pixels?

They all seem to load their own "viewer", is the decode for the codec built into it if it's a "private mix"?

Is this why they are so much better than YouTube? They're not relying on "off the shelf" codecs which work with everything (practically) but don't do any of them well?

None of them seem to fire up Windows Media Player or any other readilly available PC viewer.

Again, is this due to some "magic potion" Codec?

Any of these questions make any sense?


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Old October 7th, 2008, 11:33 PM   #6
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My guess is most of them are encoded using flash.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 12:47 AM   #7
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OK, so, more specifics...........

Maybe Flash? Any other takers?

OK, if so, what sort of system is it running on that can take full HD, and transcode it, on the fly, to Flash (or whatever) and O/P it to the web with nary a glitch, hiccup or BSOD?

Remember, I was watching this "live", keeping a secondary running commentary going from the LiveBlog @ guardian.co.uk, and they were keeping pace, nose to nose.

If I tried to transcode my HD to anything via H264 on my system I could go away and have a summer holiday doing a 30 minute piece!

What the heck is this stuff running on?

From what little I can remember about Flash (now, this is going back a few, er, never mind) it was not all that flash (sorry) when it came to rendering times no matter how little you asked it to do.

I appreciate these may be somewhat esoteric questions, but if I could provide video feeds of that quality with the stuff I shoot, wow, and I do mean WOW!.

I have this awefull sinking feeling someone's going to come back with the ultimate price tag for this sort of thing that puts me right back at square one.


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Old October 8th, 2008, 01:17 AM   #8
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Hulu.com uses Flash at resolutions up to 480p. And I assume they are also using Flash Media Server on the backend. I believe the BBC site does the same.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 03:06 AM   #9
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Hi Michael.........

I don't suppose a bit more detail could be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of you on this?

How much does Flash cost?

How much does Flash Media Server cost?

Are their viewers thus purely Flash decoders?

Are these feeds running at 480p?

What systems are they running on?

Bottom line:

How are they doing this?

What are they using?

What is it costing them to get this quality?

So far, most of what I've got is assumptions and guesses (sorry, Michael, but that's what you've said).

Does no one really know for sure?

I find it suprising no one has asked these questions before (that I can find, anyway).

Gone from confused to frustrated.


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Old October 8th, 2008, 05:00 AM   #10
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How much does Flash cost?

--The encoder that you need is free. So is the player that people need to decode the video

How much does Flash Media Server cost?

--Their full Interactive server costs US$4,500 Basic FMS3 costs US$995. These prices are null unless you have the servers to run them on. You are better off using a streaming host who all ready owns this software and simply upload the file to them while you are recording.

-Are their viewers thus purely Flash decoders?
The decoders and the player yes. They could have easily built more stuff around it using JS, PHP, Adobe Air etc.

Are these feeds running at 480p?

--The live feeds, probably not but with that said it is possible if you have the power to encode that on the fly

What systems are they running on?

--If they were utilizing the standard Flash Encoder for streaming it would be a Windows system as they do not have other OS clients yet.

Bottom line:

How are they doing this?
Most are using flash. MSN tends to use WM9 and Silverlight now.

To be honest when watching on hulu it looked like they setup a TV capture card to the NBC Station and started encoding it to the Flash Media Encoder. Its a free tool to encode video to FLV to send to the flash media server that is provided by adobe. This then points to the flash media server which is what relays all the info to the servers which eventually go down to you.

What are they using?
They are using flash.

What is it costing them to get this quality?

--Bandwidth and transfer volume. Beter quality video costs bandwidth per person watching and it means you will send more data in the end which is how servers are billed. For you to setup shop right now you would neeed: Camera, Computer, Free encoding software, and a host (I have found one that works for $39.95 with 5GB of transfer and it goes up from there) With that you can set what ever quality you want. Just be aware if you push it too high your ammount of transfer will be used up quickly and it will cost you more, plus the average peoples connection will die if you go past 1000kbits. Also you can get hardware cards for encoding to h264 to keep real time. I can do some high quality stuff on my quadcore with 4GB and keep real time though :)

So far, most of what I've got is assumptions and guesses (sorry, Michael, but that's what you've said).

--Unless you get someone from Hulu or the places you have seen you will only get guesses on how they do it. But i have told you one way of doing it above.

Does no one really know for sure?

See above :)

I find it suprising no one has asked these questions before (that I can find, anyway).

They have in different ways. Usually they just ask how to stream.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 05:44 AM   #11
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Well, er, thanks, er, Josh............

Didn't think I'd rattled any cages there, but obviously I did.

Appologies all round, if so.

Thanks for your input.

Hmm, I take it you do a bit of this stuff then?

I'd have to say Josh, that answer should be immotalised in Bronze, what a cracker!

It would have to be one of the most detailed, if slightly impenetrable, answers I've ever seen to any question posed on DVinfo, without doubt.

Sort of reads like the script for one of the "Terminator" movies (I can just hear Schwatzenneger, er, whatever, doing his bit with it......ring a bell?).

Anyway, I think I finally "gettit", thank you.

At this point I think I'll quietly retire to ponder the data received before querying the system yet again.

Thanks once more,


CS
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Old October 8th, 2008, 06:16 AM   #12
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I didn't mean to come off upset or anything. I tried to answer in short answers to each question to make sure I did not leave anything out. I just felt bad for not answering your questions earlier in discussion. I was too busy having a few drinks with friends while watching the debate :p

I do a fair bit of streaming which totals about 4-8 hours a week for sporting events. Which are streamed via WMV @ www.rollinssports.tv

Tonight will be a womens soccer (real foot ball for those in the EU) game.

When I am not streaming live I do provide a lot of video via my website in a "streaming" like format via flash which allows the users to jump around the video with short buffer times :)

I have also done a number of events using the flash method which I like the most :) I am always happy to answer questions and I apologize if I am hard to follow but I promise to try to be helpful!
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Last edited by Josh Chesarek; October 8th, 2008 at 07:15 AM.
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