Videohosting / Videostreaming FAQ
Is it possible to stream media files from a webpage without having a special streaming server?
Yes, it is. It is called "progressive downloading", "HTTP streaming", or "psuedo streaming", though such a method does not have all the benefits of streaming servers, such as being able to fast-forward the video before the full file is downloaded.
What is a "streaming server"?
A streaming server is web hosting server with a specialized piece of software that has the ability to adjust the data rate as it is sent and controls the streaming of the video itself. This is referred to as "true" streaming media and is rather expensive to do, especially for hosting large video files.
Do I have to use only one video format to make use of HTTP streaming videos, or can I choose whichever video file format I want to use?
You can use different video formats, such as Flash (.swf), Windows Media (.wmv), Apple QuickTime (.mov), and MPEG-4(.mp4). It is best to use the most common file formats, and those that can be played on any operating system platform (or at least the most popular ones, such as Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux) with easily obtainable free codecs or browser plugins.
How difficult is it to use progressive downloading to stream videos?
Not difficult at all! You just need to make sure you have a compressed video file in the format you want to use, and a little time.
Is progressive downloading expensive to do?
No, it doesn't have to be. It all depends on how much you want to spend. The cost is mainly in the conversion utility you want to use. There are free programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. If you go with the free versions, all it costs you is time!
What advantages are there to using progressive downloading?
The biggest advantage is lower cost. If you use a free conversion utility, it costs you nothing. Can it get any better than that?
What is a conversion utility program?
A conversion utility is a program that imports a video clip and then exports it to the video format of your choice. Essentially you open a video file (i.e. yourclip.avi) and choose what filetype format you want to save it as to stream from your web page (i.e. yourclip.wmv).