HTTP Streaming Media
HTTP Streaming Video Tutorial
"HTTP streaming", also called "progressive downloading" or "pseudo streaming", is when you make use of your web server to deliver your streaming media files. For this, there is no need for any specialized web hosting server. As long as your webserver recognizes common video files, there's no problem. Actually, it is not really "streaming" at all. It's a simple bulk download of your video file to the end user's machine. What makes it appear to be "streaming" is that your video file will begin playing while the download is still in progress.
However, there is one main difference that could be noticed by the viewer between HTTP video streaming and true video streaming - the end viewer will not be able to fast-forward to the end of the clip until the whole video file is downloaded. But, for those on a tight budget who would still like to pseudo stream their video clips, this is really the best and cheapest alternative for websites that have little to moderate traffic flow.
When using progressive downloading of videos, there are some disadvantages. If you have a good deal of webtraffic to your website, HTTP streaming videos may not work for you since it will not be able to handle the larger traffic loads. You will be unable to broadcast live events. Also, when using HTTP streaming video files, it is not able to read and adjust to the data rate (end users' connection speed) automatically. As a result, if you want to create individual versions for various speeds, it will be needful for you to create separate video files for each speed. As long as you don't have a heavy website traffic load, this should not be a problem for most webservers. Realistically, though, this isn't practical, so you must decide which video formats to make available.
To create HTTP streaming videos, you must first create a video file. It's best to use a common video streaming format, such as Windows Media Player (.wmv), MPEG-4, Macomedia Flash (.swf), Apple Quicktime (.mov), etc. Next, you need to upload your file to your web hosting server. Lastly, embed the video clip in a web page using special HTML tags (see how to embed Flash media files or the other links to the left about embeding videos; or you could make a hyperlink to your file).
That's about it. With the embedded video file, the clip will begin to play as soon as your web page loads. If you use a hyperlink, when it's clicked on, it will open the viewer's defualt video player and your file will begin streaming, however you won't necessarily have control of how your video will appear within your webpage. For this reason, in the next parts of this videohosting tutorial we'll be talking mostly about progressive downloading of videos.
The next step of this free video hosting tutorial guide is how to create streaming videos.