Image Processing Reference
How Do I Get There from Here?
Streaming is the major means of delivery for digital video since the technique works for
television as well as networked systems. Obviously some content is downloaded, but the
bulk is delivered as a stream.
This chapter discusses how streaming systems work and what you need to know to
optimize your video for them. Streaming is also used for TV systems but we will deal with
that when we talk about digital TV in Chapter 27. For the time being we'll stick with
streaming on the Net.
Streamed content is normally associated with Web-based AV services. It has its heritage in
the Real Networks, QuickTime, and Windows Media formats. Over the next few years,
more streaming content will be delivered as H.264 compressed video. The H.264 codec is
being considered as a realistic format for carriage of high-definition broadcast TV. Using
the same format for both TV and web delivery has some clear advantages over using the
earlier proprietary formats:
Coding farms are shared.
The differences are only in the fine points of the format.
Workflow is virtually identical.
Two areas of particular interest are gaining in popularity, although they have taken
a while to mature since they are technically challenging to accomplish:
Multicast streaming from one stream to all connected users
Peer-to-peer onward delivery of content
A very useful technology solution would be to reduce the traffic so that it is not nec-
essary to deliver the entire file. Ideally, only that fragment the user requests should be