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Old August 26th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #16
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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This video is transcoded at 450kbps and is 45 minutes long.
Ranching the New West

Therre all different kinds of shots from still to interviews to action...
Chris Sgaraglino
Widow Creek
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Old August 29th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #17
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There's some confusion about terms in this thread.

The OP says the service provider has a trailer for origination of live streaming, but goes on to complain that the user experience won't be as good as progressive download. Is the goal for live streaming, or is it not? Live is "streamed", period. If there is a bandwidth constriction the stream continues at reduced quality, sometimes unacceptable.

True on-demand streaming is neither live nor progressive download. As Perrone points out, streaming takes care of many rights-management problems before they start, because other than a few seconds of buffering, the content is never cached on the user's computer. (As with other digital technology, a determined pirate can get around this, too...)

To say that an 800Kbps stream is a good bitrate at 720x480 for all kinds of content is just wrong - the OP should certainly be suspect of a company that says it is. They may still have great web services and do great video. Or maybe the sales guy/gal really doesn't know what he/she is talking about, and the real results could be much better, perhaps at different bandwidths, when they're actually doing the work.

Live is different than on-demand, whether streamed or progressive. In live, the encoder, server, and client software blow past any encoding errors. Maintaining the integrity of the stream is everything. Real-time, baby, very unforgiving. 800K could be quite a bit better for an on-demand stream/file than it is for live, because of the assymetric nature of the encode (takes as long as it takes, not real-time), and the non-linear nature of playback buffering and/or downloading.

As a working webcaster, and college instructor of streaming, I can tell you for sure that testing and benchmarking are essential to optimizing bitrate and frame size. A comparison of 800K and 3M on Vimeo only tells you how they compare for that specific content, on Vimeo. It doesn't tell you how your content is going to look when it has been through the service provider's encoder and through their streaming server. The way to answer that question is to run a test with your content on their system. Maybe OK, maybe not, but that's how you can evaluate their solution, really.

Last point - the OP has pointed to YouTube as providing the benchmark viewing experience. They are providing up to 4 bitrates and frame sizes for each clip! The internet is not a TV set! There are no standards! What does broadband internet access actually mean? Arguably, that you can expect somewhere between 500 and 800K as a minimum download speed. We can complain about it all we want, but we've got to either accept that, or hope that our content is so compelling that an end-viewer will wait while it partially downloads for progressive play.

PS. Youtube does multi-bitrate and multiple frame sizes, and you can too, for live, streamed, or on-demand.

PPS. This thread hasn't touched on that other big determiner of streaming quality, lighting and camera work.
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
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