Vosaic Browser Vosaie
Server Vosaic Corp.

Vosaic is already on the cutting edge and considering the speed with which Internet video technology is progressing, it could become next year's standard. The innovative feature of Vosaic is that while all exclusive video streaming servers decide the speed of transfer at the beginning of a file download, the Vosaic Server continually adjusts the speed of reproduction to optimize results. Working on the UDP band, it adds a feedback loop to check the client's visualization advancement, measuring the process every few seconds to fine tune its transfer rate. As a result, the Vosaic system takes full advantage of the available bandwidth allowing the client a better chance to receive a smoother video flow. The server can send data at 42 Kbps to a client connected via ISDN or at 3 Kbps to a client connected on a telephone line. When traffic on the Net changes, the server regulates the transfer speed to obtain the best possible result.

Web administrators might find the Vosaic system more complicated to configure than VDOnet or Xing. Three separate files are downloaded at the moment of reproduction: an audio file in GSM format, an MPEG video file and a control file that keeps tab on the MPEG film. The configuration of the server is further complicated by the requirement of a file pointer (VOS) that records information on the film. The Web page links refer to the configuration file which in turn refers to the MPEG file, the GSM audio file and the control file. When we effected our test, Vosaic's instruments of configuration were still under development and so to get the server working we had to modify the text files with precise details vis-a-vis the position of every file. The complete system consists of the following products: Vosaic Server (which we tried on Windows NT Server 4.0),

Media Tools (a utility for converting MPEG files to the Vosaic format) and the plug-in players Vosaic Browser for Macintosh and Windows. We tested the software of the beta 9 release. The company has opted to issue two versions of the player: a free version that comes equipped only with start and stop controls and a version that costs $29 that allows fast forward and reverse as well as personalized window sizing. None of the two versions comes with a "SAVE" option, and so content providers can safely use this system to offer free samples protected by copyrights. The Vosaic system is evidently banking on the long awaited arrival of hardware cards for the decoding of MPEG files on the PC. If installed, the player will automatically pass the onus of elaborating the images to the dedicated MPEG processor. The overall quality of the Vosaic system was often amazing during high speed connections. The videos were played with uncommon smoothness and the quality of the sound was truly impressive.

Vosaic's performance was not nearly so good with telephone connections, but it was at worst equal to its best competitors. Furthermore, since Vosaic is certain that its technology is better at managing the vaguaries of bandwidth, it supplies superior images from its own site compared to the other video-server distributors. Vosaic has also done an excellent job in maintaining audio-video synch: on a fast connection we easily obtained a trouble-free, high-quality audio flow. If for any reason the video flow is interrupted, the system automatically eliminates a few frames and resynchs with the sound track in a matter of seconds. Unlike the VDOnet and Xing products, the Vosaic Server doesn't impose any limits to the audio quality. For example, whereas VDOnet can only handle audio at 8KHz, some of the Vosaic samples are reproduced at 44KHz.

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Last updated 7-Jan-97
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