Video broadcasting on the web; streaming or pseudo-streaming?

13 May 2013 by Sam Wiltshire

Everyone obviously knows the video streaming broadcast platforms YouTube and Dailymotion. But beyond these, what is the real issue concerning the dissemination of videos on the Web regarding streaming and pseudo streaming?

Videos require a tremendous amount of storage capacity and bandwidth. Also, if you don´t want your videos to have the icons or menus of the video broadcasting platform, you have to disseminate them via other means. To do this, you must already understand the process of video broadcasting on the Web. Concretely, there are 2 main techniques: multicast streaming and pseudo-unicast streaming.

Multicast streaming involves disseminating the video as does a TV station with live broadcasts: there are multiple simultaneous connections to the same video stream, much like the principle of cable or terrestrial broadcasting. This technique, called IPTV, is used by various cable and telecommunications operators. Nevertheless, you can still use multicast streaming over public internet, but there are huge constraints in relation to quality and price of broadcasting as this option requires passing through servers that manage the number of requests from users, the quality of video, etc.

Multicast vs Unicast

In any case, “live” streaming must ensure a certain quality of diffusion as anything that is not being seen at any given moment will have completely disappeared unless it has been saved at the source and is being re-broadcasted by the provider. But then we are not talking about live streaming. Recently, thanks to Cloud (and equally to a standard CDN protocol which is capable of connecting Datacentres to each other in order to manage this issue), it’s not only the French company Akamaï which is capable of broadcasting to millions of users all over the planet. It is now possible to use other white label platform streaming services like MetaCDN Cloud and Dailymotion Cloud which offer live streaming globally. The advantage of this version of Cloud is that it allows you to instantly see the broadcasting costs needed and adjust them in real time. It is not only storage costs that are charged but also the bandwidth consumption. Pseudo streaming itself is a form of A to B transmission we dubbed “unicast” which was first invented for the internet, though we now see it commonly in hotels and in packages offered by telecommunications companies. The most well-known technology of this type is Flash Video, which remains current due to its recent developments (particularly regarding H264 and possible compatibility with HTML5), even though this format is capable of live streaming. Pseudo streaming is generally observed by a download progress bar on the screen which moves faster than the playback bar when watching a video. Due to its modest price, we see pseudo streaming on broadcasting platforms that don’t broadcast live programs and also on websites that host their own videos and that can simply be “http” without the need for a dedicated video server. Video being played is temporarily stored in the memory of the PC, tablet or smartphone to ensure the best fluidity.


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