Instant Video On the Internet

Clear Fusion
Intervu MPEG Player
Streamworks Player 2.02
VDOLive Vive Player Video
VivoActive Player
Vosaic Browser Server

One day the band serving Internet will be enormous and the boring delays for slow downloads will be but a distant memory. When that day comes, videos will come thru the net like cable TV. A click on a Web page and at the bat of an eye, the images will come to life on the monitor.

If, after a quick look, we decide that the film isn't worth our attention, we will be able to instantly select another film or Web page. Unfortunately the band widths presently at our disposal are limited and the necessarily long downloading delays are a very real obstacle in the world of Internet. Only text and graphic files of modest dimensions are quick to appear via normal telephone connections and Web sites offering a wide choice of films are still a rarity. Nevertheless, despite the band width limitations, videos on demand are beginning to become popular on the net. Programmers are coming up with various software packages that allow for the viewing of images in seamless movement as easily as the portrayal of small graphic files.

Compression was the first strategy employed in the struggle against the band width problem. Many AVI files available on Web sites are already compressed with CinePak code. A new technique of viewing while downloading - called "streaming" has recently found its way to the market. It shortens the delay in the visualization of the first "frames" of the video images being downloaded and helps the consumer approach the brand new world of real time multimedia via Internet.

With more than half a dozen developers actively commercializing video streaming technology, the time is ripe to cast a look at the state of the art.

Vanguard video

Streaming technology still has a long way to go. Instantaneous video is possible only with faster hookups via lines such as the T1 (1,54 Mbps). But video streaming can be of service to normal users connected to common telephone lines inasmuch as it allows them to view the moving images as soon as they reach their virtual port. More importantly, the first seeds have been sown for applications that will take advantage of the first high band connections for home users. At present there are two approaches to video streaming: single reproducers and client/server combinations (server-reproducers). < P> In autonomous video streaming, the reproducers allow a preview of the moving images as they come in, for subsequent unlimited replay when fully downladed. Generally speaking they are plug-ins for Netscape or Microsoft ActiveX that are patched to the browser. They recognize a wide range of digital video formats such as AVI, MOV and MPEG. These "streamers" rarely allow for a seamless view of the moving images during the downloading phase, even with a fast connection. The files are only correctly rendered once they have been completely received. Though not an ideal solution, they are a time saver. Instead of waiting for the entire file to be downloaded even to view just a sequence or two, the streamers allow the end user a "sneak preview" so that he can quickly decide whether or not he really wants the film in question... and if the response is negative, he can quickly abort the download and go back to surfing.

Pull from the Magazine:

"INTERNETNews"n.1 January 1997
Author: Gus Venditto
Technical new editions - Milan

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Access:from 2-Jan-97


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