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Live Streaming Video? 300

Posted by Cliff
from the searching-for-better-options dept.
emmons asks: "I've recently been put in charge of creating a live streaming audio/video solution for a website. I've looked around and it appears that there are two popular options: Real and Windows Media. I haven't found anything else. I don't really like either of those because Real is expensive and Windows Media is, well, Microsoft. Are there any other options?"
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Live Streaming Video?

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  • But ... well ... you know.
  • Sun do one, I don't know much about it.
    The company I work for does streaming media, and we use Real for it. It's not that expensive, you can download free versions of their tools for evaluation purposes, and it seems to be OK for Linux and BeOS support.
  • Run Sorenson Broadcaster on a Mac to capture and encode the stream, and then stream it using the Darwin Streaming Server (from Apple) on Linux, Solaris or Mac OS X, and maybe others.
  • I've been playing with their Darwin Streaming Server on a Linux box and it performs alright and it's free.

    http://publicsource.apple.com/projects/streaming /
  • by wfaulk (135736) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:30PM (#486316) Homepage
    Whatever happened to the MBone? I was never technically associated with it, but I did play with it while I was working at a major ISP/Internet backbone, and it was a great idea. But any web sites you find on it [yahoo.com] these days are either gone or terribly outdated.
  • by xnerd00x (92166) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:31PM (#486317) Journal
    I don't really like either of those because Real is expensive and Windows Media is, well, Microsoft

    Not using a piece of software just because it is from Microsoft just shows ignorance. Use what works. Evaluate windows media before you bust on it. I use it, and it does streaming pretty well.

  • I have a nice sony camcorder with a IEEE 1394 port and I also have the IEEE 1394 pci card. How can I stream (any format) from that video source? I can't even use it with netmeeting(ick).
  • by chown (62159)

    Apple's QT4 is free(beer) and open-source, and works fairly well from what I remember, and that was about a year ago. I remember having a few problems with it under FreeBSD, but it worked like a charm under Solaris.

    I'm not sure about encoding for it however, I think that might be where they slap you with the fees, but it's still a pittance compared to what Real wants.

  • by gsfprez (27403) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:33PM (#486320)
    Not only does it run on NT, Linux, Solaris, Free BSD and anything else you decide to compile it for....

    its open source.

    Oh, and did i mention that its free?

    I mean - what else could you want (other than Linux clients with Sorenson)

    Click here to go to the website [apple.com]

    (i'm not biased, i just know 3 guys that work in QTSS)
  • ...unfortunately it isn't yet. :)

    The problem is that it doesn't have its own streamable file format. AVI files are the standard MPEG4 transport format, but you can't stream them because AVI files have headers at the very end of the stream.

    Quicktime MOV files can have MPEG4 embedded in them, and can be streamed, but I don't know of the legal issues involved in that. I'd imagine that if you used a free codec, and a free .MOV creator, it shouldn't cost anything! And the Quicktime player can stream very well. So, maybe that's the best way?
  • www.icecast.org [icecast.org] - I believe they have something video in the works.
  • Doesn't matter if it streams well if not everyone can watch the stream...
    --
    "No se rinde el gallo rojo, sólo cuando ya está muerto."
  • Sun uses GTS Video [graham.com].
  • You shouldn't use MS Streaming Server because it's Micro$oft - that's just being childish.

    Rather, you should not run Micro$oft Streaming Server because it has to run on the POS Operating System by Micro$oft.

    Semantics make a difference.

  • I agree you should check out the alternatives; dont dismiss Windows Media player just because its MS. Check it out and make your decision based on its quality, not who makes it.
  • by kossico (1798) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:35PM (#486327)
    The Darwin Streaming Server is in my opinion, the best possible solution. Quicktime has the best quality and is the nicest looking. DSS is opensource, and "is based on the same code as Apple's QuickTime Streaming Server. It is available at http://www.opensource.apple.com/projects/streaming [apple.com] for FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Windows NT and of course Darwin/Mac OS X. The source can also be downloaded from the above URL.
  • You problem is, you do not know what his target audience is. If it is going to be OSS people say, then Microsoft Media formats are no good, most people would probably be using a BSD, Linux etc. OS, and not have WMP.

    Real Player is very crossplatform, but yes, expensive. I'm sure there is a way to stream MPEG streams, but thats probably expensive && || poor quality.

    Does the OSS community even have an option here?
  • by Antipop (180137) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:36PM (#486329) Homepage
    Remember if you go with Windows Media you'll block all the Linux users (not sure about Mac) out! The only alternative I can see, that everyone's already pointed out, is Quicktime, but again it'll lose all us Linux users. This is one of the lacking things I miss about Windows. Oh well.

    -antipop
  • There might be opensource solutions (possible out of Heroine Virtual [sourceforge.net]), but not many people will be able to view your content. Real reaches the broadest audience, and it works well, I've used it with Video For Linux 2 [thedirks.org] and a Winnov Videum board for capture.

    I do get frustrated by not being able to view Windows media sites such as this Penguin Cam [montereybayaquarium.org]. You could also do it with quicktime, but then you loose linux viewers due to the lack of a sorenson codec. We need something opensource, ubiquitous, and cross-platform, but as they say about NASA: Pick Two.


    -JungleBoy
    --
    "You never know when some crazed rodent with cold feet
    might be running loose in your pants."
  • by gerstens1 (308481)
    Of course you could always try being unbiased and actually give Media Player a shot, but I guess that would be too hard for the average Slahdot user.
  • You can download a free 'evaluation' version of RealServer that can serve up to 20 simultaneous streams of live or pre-recorded audio or video, and AFAICT is not feature-limited. I'm using it to serve record and CD clips on this site [interzonemusic.com] and it has worked really well.

    If you grow beyond that, the next step up costs $2495, which handles up to 60 concurrent streams, IIRC.

    --
  • One of the first companies out there to use live QT streaming is here --> http://www.hardradio.com/tune.php3 [hardradio.com]. Take a look....

    "We just started streaming MP3 audio under QuickTime using the rtsp protocol. This may be the first MP3 stream on the net that doesn't use http (i.e. a hacked web server like Shoutcast/Icecast). Sounds great so far and is experimental, more neat features to come.


    www.hardradio.com/quicktime/hardradio.mov is the url to use to go direct with the QuickTime 4.1 or newer player. (This http-delivered movie delivers our player interface and auto links into the stream) If you are set at the player default of rtsp on port 554 it will come right through to you."
  • Clients. Lusers. I mean software clients of course--and if you're not using real or media player, your customer's browser is NOT going to have it. Sure you can reasonably ask a luser to spend half an hour installing flash/real/an adobe pdf viewer, but the same does NOT hold for no-name asiaware. If it's not really, really (and exclusively) cool/important, your customers will not bother with it. Period.
  • its not linux compatible. Its yet another attempt to lock competitors out with proprietary formats, and then either immediately or eventually stop supporting their platform...
  • Not using a piece of software just because it is from Microsoft just shows ignorance. Use what works. Evaluate windows media before you bust on it. I use it, and it does streaming pretty well.

    Microsoft has this problem where they refuse to support other operating systems due to their anti-competative nature. Since this person obviously cares about Linux/Mac users, WMP is not the best choice.
  • If you are creating a website aimed at a large audience, you should consider offering more than one form of stream - and at least one of the offerings should be as mainstream as possible. The reason for this is simple: if you want people to use the service, you want to use a format they already support. (That said, if your site were targeting non-Windows users, this rule could work the other way around)

    I recently had to evaluate some streaming video (over LAN) solutions, and we ended up with the Microsoft solution because its inexpensive (effectively bundled with 2k Server) and offers pretty good quality. A major factor in deciding, though, was platform: 99% of the likely userbase used Windows, and weren't techies - meaning that they didn't want to bother with difficult plugin installations!

  • Not using a piece of software just because it is from Microsoft just shows ignorance

    Accusing someone of ignorance without understanding their motivation may be a mistake. Have you considered that there may be very good reasons why a person might want to avoid products created by a company that have nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the product itself?

  • You'll need to re-compress that video into a smaller format (unless you have one heck of a network). I don't know why NetMeeting doesn't support it; do you have a VfW capture driver for it? If so, any stream broadcasting app should work.
  • Jamie Zawinski [jwz.org] looked at three options for his webcam page [dnalounge.com] (Real, Windows Media, Quicktime). He ended up choosing Real because it was the only player with broad platform support.

    It really depends on who your audience is. If you can't afford Real and you're aiming for a Joe Sixpack crowd, forget Linux users and use Quicktime or WIndows Media. That sounds like flamebait, but if you're opposed to Windows because Microsoft is "icky" or because you'd rather spend X thousand dollars to support 5% of your audience, you're a bad businessman.
  • This has a large article on Open Source alternatives for Multimedia, including streaming audio and Video. It also looks at what is on the horizon in the next little while. Well worth the £4.25 ($5.00USD).

  • Real is the most cross-platform solution out there, AFAICT. Clients available for Mac/Linux/Windows, plus a few others as well I believe.

    --
  • Their free version is unfortunately now limited to a 1 year period (which is still pretty nice as far as evals go).

    The RealSystem Server Plus is now $1995.
  • Darwin Streaming Server [apple.com] is the free and open source version of QuickTime Streaming Server. It runs on FreeBSD, WinNT, Solaris, RedHat and Mac OS X Server. To do real-time encoding, add Sorenson Broadcaster [sorenson.com]. It's not free, but it's only $199 no matter how many streams you want to serve. You'll need a fast Mac to run it.

    --
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:43PM (#486345)
    All these people posting about how Microsoft WMP formats are not supported in Linux should check out the AVIfile library [divx.euro.ru]. This library uses bits of Wine so that it can load Windows-native en-/de-coder DLLs to play/encode ASF/AVI files under Linux (or any other platform Wine supports). I don't know if it supports streaming yet, but since it's a library, you should be able to write an app around it that handles the stream connection.
  • by inferis (84322) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:44PM (#486346) Homepage
    ..., but you can't stream them because AVI files have headers at the very end of the stream.

    Shouldn't those be footers then?
  • I think that the mpeg2 library/utils under Linux allows you to encode and stream in mpeg2 format...

    It's free (search on Freshmeat)... There is just a small drawback... Those Mpeg streams can't be understood by any Windows Codec (perhaps there are people doing it).

    For the rest, it's up to you to decide if you plan to limit your audience to MS Windows users only. Don't forget there are more and more Linux/FreeBSD/Mac/... users and that RealPlayer work on all platforms...
  • Well, the Quicktime Streaming Server is, at anyrate. It's part of the Darwin project: get the skinny here. [apple.com] Runs just spiffy on Linux, or so I'm told.

    The QT client has a freebie version that runs on MacOS and Windows, but, alack, no younicks client yet.

    SoupIsGood Food
  • you are not going to use this piece of software. That is plain stupid. Allow me to make 2 points

    • You have been put in charge of creating a live streaming audio/video solution for a website. The important thing here that you are in charge. I am making the assumption that someone pays you to deliver a solution, puts this project in your hands and expects the best. Under those condition, you should not reject a product just because the company who makes it has a certain conduct. Just like you shouldn't refuse to hire someone just because he is French, black, jewish or whatever.

    • Next, allow me to make another assumption : that you are a Geek or at least have some interests in technology (I mean come on ... you ask /.) As a technology enthusiast, geek, computer specialist, etc, you should look beyond the fact that a software is made by someone you don't like or trust. Look at the software before you talk. I have never used Windows Media Server, because I never had the chance to look at that technology. There are a lot of technologies out there that I have never seen but guess what :I would like to see them all! I don't give a shit if it's MS, IBM, Java, Black, Jewish or even French.

    Don't be closed minded. Yes Microsoft makes crappy ass shit from time to time, but not ALL THE TIME. Now let's start the flame ...

    dudle

  • 5{o be possible to use vic [ucl.ac.uk] or the Java Media Framework [sun.com] with the H.263 codec instead of Sorenson Broadcaster.
  • by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:47PM (#486351) Homepage Journal
    Icecast [icecast.org] streams MP3 and almost streams Ogg Vorbis, and they are working on video. If you are a coder or otherwise inclined (aka you can hire programmers) you might look into that project.

    Otherwise, for MP3 straming, it works great.

    --
    Evan

  • And which client for Linux or Solaris will you use to hook up to this? (full disclosure: I work for RealNetworks, but I'm not an official spokesman)
  • Everyone seems to be saying QTSS. It is free. It works on Linux.

    BFD.

    Can't watch them on Linux though. Or anything else, 'cept MacOS and Win. That is where things really suck.

    Now, i'm not saying it isn't great that all of this server stuff works on Linux and all, but we need both sides of the equation to keep content free, server and client.

    So what do you use to watch streaming video on Linux? And what types of streams can you watch? How do they compare to the available Windows or Mac software?

  • Looks like the first part of my post got mangled, I said "It might be possible to use..."
  • Ummm, how is a question regarding an Internet-based IP multicast backbone that was used to send streaming media (amongst other things, but that was a primary feature) offtopic to a post about streaming media?
  • Just because you can't figure out how to properly install Quicktime, doesn't mean it isn't a viable alternative for others.
  • There is a project being run out of Cornell University called the qVIX project. Its aim is to provide real-time, high quality video/audio to users. The algorithim is something very new called CU30 which is a full-frame rate, high quality, real-time video codec. The qVIX application and CU30 codec are GPL'ed and can be found at http://cu30.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net].
  • by cr0sh (43134) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @02:53PM (#486359) Homepage
    Couldn't some form of an applet on the client side handle this? Sure, it couldn't be very big images, but I would think it would be possible. You might have to come up with some custom streaming format, or use one currently available. I would imagine it depends on what you are trying to stream (a talking head, or an advertisement, or something else), to determine what kind of quality you want in the end. I think it would be possible though to write some server code and a java applet that could handle it all (though only at a low to medium quality).

    I thought I remember seeing this done a long while back, when applets were everywhere, Real was just starting out, and streaming video was still an "idea" for later...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • no offense, but you used "AFAICT" too much [slashdot.org] today.

    Yes, once would also have been too much.
  • Give me a link to a Linux client untill then uh no. Sorry but it was a good try.
  • I read the posts telling you to use Windows -- but I figure, why purposely be NON-compatable....

    I haven't used it, but Sun has the JMF [sun.com].
    Quote: Developed by Sun and IBM, Java Media Framework 2.0 (JMF) technology is the unified architecture for the playback, synchronization, capture, and transmission and transcode of media - including streaming audio and video - across most major operating systems.

  • Sorry :)

    ILOTAFAW (I'll lay off the acronyms for a while)

    --
  • www.truetech.com / www.camarades.com, It's video only but it's free and requires no plugin to play. The server sends a string of jpegs. I'm still screwing with it. As a side effect, you get listed on camarades website for free, and can easily clock up 20-50 hits per minute to your page with 'sufficiently interesting' content. Or you can get a feature-reduced realproducer for free, and a version of the server that supports 20 (perhaps 25, have to check) streams. I have stuff about hacking the truetech software, and clips from realproducer on my web page, 'cos it's what I'm working on at the moment :)
  • You can download a free 'evaluation' version of RealServer that can serve up to 20 simultaneous streams of live or pre-recorded audio or video, and AFAICT is not feature-limited. I'm using it to serve record and CD clips on this site and it has worked really well.

    I'm aware of their eval product - and I'm not sure about the person who originally posed the question, but my guess was they probably wanted the capability to do more than 20 simultaneous streams... And probably more than 60 would be a fair guess. I know we were paying somewhere around ~$100k/server for RealServer licenses, and I think that got us 500... maybe it was 1000, but it still wasn't _THAT_ many. And even for $100k, you don't get ALL the features. Acting as a pull splitting source (if my terminoligy is correct) is still disabled unless you buy something like the "Unlimited Internet Gold License", which costs an ungodly amount of money as to discourage anybody from actually trying to compete with RBN.


  • I was under the impression that Real bills you monthly for every stream, in addition to the license fee for the server. I don't know if this is true, but the people I was talking to made it sound like they nickel and dime you to death.
  • You have been put in charge of creating a live streaming audio/video solution for a website. The important thing here that you are in charge . I am making the assumption that someone pays you to deliver a solution, puts this project in your hands and expects the best. Under those condition, you should not reject a product just because the company who makes it has a certain conduct. Just like you shouldn't refuse to hire someone just because he is French, black, jewish or whatever.
    One major flaw here: that's not how capitalism is supposed to work. If you have a major problem with a company's business practices, you don't use their products. If the best fashion designer out there got 90% of their labor from overseas sweat shops, I wouldn't purchase their clothes, even if they were the best out there.

    Microsoft has made many questionable business decisions, and even when they haven't broken, or at least bent, the law, their practices hardly make them out to be the victim in this transaction.

    Furthermore, Microsoft's refusal to port to other operating systems limits the usefulness of their formats, and by caving in and using their stuff regardless, they hardly have any impetus to change their practices.

  • some people are slamming you for preferring not to use MS, but as others have posted it looks like either the 1 yr/20 stream realplayer eval or the QT/Darwin solution will do what you need.

    What a shame those people are slamming you for wanting a choice...maybe all microsoft people should be forced to drive a yugo and live in a tent until they sign a statement that they now understand the meaning of the word "choice".

  • While I doubt it is free, you might look at ClipStream [clipstream.com], which is a Java based streaming system (so it can be done - now, is there an open source solution, and better yet, GPL'd?)...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • http://www.the-labs.com/Video/
    http://rnvs.inform atik.tu-chemnitz.de/~jan/MPEG/MP EG_Play.html
    http://www.dcc.uchile.cl/~chasan/ (this guy supposedly had a Java player, but it isn't there anymore)

    And of course:

    http://www.mpeg.org/MPEG/index.html

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • F...ing slashcode! There is supposed to be no blank space between the P and E on that second link...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @03:13PM (#486393)
    I worked for a company that made a fairly serious investment in streaming video and live encoding - the musticast-enabled their network (v.useful for live netcasting), we distributed a number of server around the country and placed them in the ISP's dial-up POPs. And we opted for Windows media for a number of reasons - - Something like 98% of our users were on the windows platform. - the server is 'free' with win NT/ win2000 You need to pay for the server OS license, but you don't pay per stream like you do with real. It is effectively an unlimited licence. - The quality is great - media player supports a bunch of codecs, and if you use something exotic, the client's player will go fetch the codec and plug it in, transparently. It is possible to pick your codecs independantly for audio and video, and really tweak them for performance. For example, you would pick one setup for fast-paced, live sports footage, and a different one for an interview where the audio is more important. - The encoding tools are free and good. Really free - you can download them without purchasing anything. - Fully multi-threaded, and supports multiple processors and multiple capture boards in one machine. Go for a beefy dual-proc machine with 4 Osprey 1000's in it, and you have a live encoding dream machine. - dead easy to set up ISDN lines, and bonded dialup channels etc for your upstream path in a live encoding setup. We usually used a cisco 1600 with an isdn dialup to allow multiple machines to connect and encode, but you can also just use a connection directly from the machine. I could probably go on - in short, Windows media player and encoder tools are just about the best things I've seen MS build apart from their keyboards and joysticks. The only drawback I found was that to start and stop the services and do other general admin you would have to use something like PC anywhere to get onto the servers. And I hate using a gui over a dial-up. Tim
  • I find the whole concept of refusing to use superior software because of hate for the company that produced it is rather silly, but if you're going to detest one of those two companies, it should probably be RealNetworks.

    A search of RealNetworks on slashdot [slashdot.org] turns up a lot [slashdot.org] of [slashdot.org] articles [slashdot.org] on RealNetworks' violations of privacy. They also sued Streambox [slashdot.org] under the DMCA, for reverse engineering their file formats and circumventing their "protection against piracy".

    And their player bombards you with ads and annoying popups (e.g. please register your personal information with us so we can send you Exciting Product Offerings). It feels like they care more about their corporate associates than the consumer.

    Microsoft has also had bad business practices, but then again, they've had a lot more opportunity to. Real, OTOH, doesn't have as much influence, but has been as sleazy as it could. I shudder to think of what RealNetworks would do if it were in MS's position.

  • by austad (22163) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @03:23PM (#486398) Homepage
    A license for Real is around $20,000 for 400 connections. It's expensive. Real works very well on Linux though. There is a free RTSP server for linux, do a search on freshmeat for it. I don't know how you would create the video though, I'm sure it's in their FAQ.

    Window Media server is free with win2k advanced server, but it's windows, and it won't handle nearly the traffic that the linux box with realserver will handle (8000 connections per processor).

    The DivX code was just opensourced (not the shitty Circuit City DivX, the MPEG-4 like codec). I think this will eventually support streaming.
  • by mo (2873) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @03:25PM (#486400)
    I've done a lot of work in this area. Here's what I think:

    Rule 1: don't use real. They have very good audio codecs, but the video stuff isn't worth it because you have to pay for everything.

    If you are looking for quality, go with Windows Media. Get a Quad processor beast with an Osprey 500 and serve live MPEG 4. All the software is free if you don't count the operating systam costs.

    If you want an Open Source solution use Vic [ucl.ac.uk] with Darwin Streaming Server [apple.com] I think an Osprey 200 is your best bet for a capture card, but I haven't actually tried this out yet. Note that this uses the H263 codec which isn't much to talk about. If you want to use sorenson codec to stream live to quicktime, well good luck. There's something called LiveIce but it costs 6 grand and it only runs on NT, but you might want to look into that.

    Here's some good links to get you going:
    Choosing a Streaming Video Technology [dv.com]
    previous slashdot article [slashdot.org]
    technical primer on rt*p protocols [ohio-state.edu]
  • QuickTime is easily the best quality, and there's no price-per-stream. You can run the QuickTime Streaming Server on Mac OS X, Darwin, or Linux. QuickTime 5 also has some new buffering features that make so much sense, you won't believe that Real and MS don't have them.

    Live Delivery [apple.com]

  • Streaming Server does not do encoding, it's just an RTSP server. You're gonna need an encoding platform that can do RTP broadcasting in addition.

    You're choices for these are VIC(open source) [ucl.ac.uk], Sorenson Broadcaster [sorenson.com], and Sorenson+LiveICE [media100.com]

    Note that sorenson alone can only do H263 in realtime on a Mac which is the same as Vic, but LiveICE is supposed to actually do the sorenson codec (although it will cost you).
  • Just thought I'd point out that Apple recently changed the APSL and removed or clarified the parts that people considered non-free. Of course, it still won't satisfy RMS (nothing but the GPL for that man), but it's about as good as it gets from the corporate world.

    Supreme Lord High Commander of the Interstellar Task Force for the Eradication of Stupidity

  • by Snocone (158524) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @03:48PM (#486424) Homepage
    There's videoclipstream, a Java streaming video solution, here. [videoclipstream.com]
  • There is a new version of the APSL which is, for all intents and purposes, free. You should keep up on the things you are boycotting.

    -jon

  • by gig (78408) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @04:03PM (#486429)
    > Not using a piece of software just because it is
    > from Microsoft just shows ignorance. Use what
    > works.

    No, it's not ignorance. Software is not a one-time purchase. If this guy sets up MS-based streaming video, he's estabilishing a relationship with Microsoft. Even if the MS solution has more features or is cheaper, you have to consider whose promises you're attempting to believe. Microsoft also has no multimedia savvy. Windows Media is ugly stuff to people who know better. It's unfun, and live streaming video ought to be fun.

    I would go with QuickTime, myself, for the following reasons:

    highest quality available
    free, open source server software that runs on Darwin, Linux, NT, and Mac OS X, with NO per-stream cost
    easy authoring features that will enable you to put a Flash front-end, titles, or links into your streams
    integration with video authoring software
    a player that's popular, easy to use, and unclutterd by blinking ads
    Apple owns a big piece of Akamai.

    Also, you can get a Mac with DVD-R, FireWire, and gigabit ethernet built-in as your broadcaster, and make a DVD after the live event is over, as well as create a DVD-ROM of the raw data, all on the same machine (and all the software is included). The other machines you involve (usually one or two more) can be Linux or NT if you like. With the money you save by having no per-stream cost, the machines are basically free, anyway.
  • by bataras (169548) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @04:09PM (#486431)
    I've actually implemented a realserver solution and written a shitload of code for realserver on linux/solaris/nt. Haven't had exp with MS, Ogg, or QT yet, but wouldn't mind the chance. Real isn't terribly clueful about linux community friendliness, but they do have a beta player that runs on linux, solaris etc. Their server runs NT, linux, solaris etc. Which is all far more than we'll see from MS any time soon.

    They have the "surestream" thing which scales stream quality up or down depending on user connection. You can point a user at one URL (and one file on the back end) with multiple bitrate encodings and the server/player will deal. Real has had a bug in their server for several months. It keeps causes the server to start using 100% cpu for no reason. We have not been able to get a single realserver instance to handle more than around 500 streams (on more than heafy enough hardware) without it getting really pissed at us over time. It took alot of bitch slapping, but real finally admitted they have the bug. So don't believe any numbers like one server on one monster box will handle 3000 users. Real will tell you memory usage per user and users per cpu mips. But we ended up running enough realserver instances across enough linux boxes to keep each instance below 300 users (a fuzzy happiness level we found). Hey real, if you've fixed the bug already, doh. Guess you should've told me, eh?

    Also, check into mixing stereo streams with mono streams in one surestream file. Mono is actually better sounding than stereo below like 30kbps. But above that roughly, you want stereo. But realproducer won't let you mix and match all combinations of everything you'd want.

  • by Curious__George (167596) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @04:32PM (#486444)
    I've got all three players (Windows Media, RealPlayer & Quicktime 4) on my Mac. But I went with QuickTime when it was time to broadcast because Sorenson Broadcaster ROCKS. If you get a masochistic charge out of doing things the hard way, be my guest, but Sorenson is intuitive to use (who needs a manual?) and has great compression codecs.

    I bought Sorenson Broadcaster and used QTSS to deliver live AUDIO of our universities athletic events. A few month's later, the President of the U.S. picked our campus to deliver one of his last major addresses. HAD to try a video webcast. It came off well, with reports from across the country reporting it worked great.

    Real offers a free server, but only to get you hooked. Once you become successful, you'll have to purchase expensive licenses.

    QuickTime Player is a great choice for users of either major platform. It has a super-easy installer. As already mentioned, the QTSS is free in various incarnations.

    Keep in mind that streaming LIVE is different from streaming archived events. You'll be using RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) instead of HTTP. That can cause problems for people behind firewalls that aren't configured to let the stream in.

    I highly recommend "QuickTime for the Web" [apple.com]. Here's a sample chapter [apple.com] from Apple's site.

    Broadcaster is great and you can download a fully functional 30 day demo [sorenson.com]. I swear, if you want to do live video, you really should get a FireWire equipped Mac, plug in your video camera and run Sorenson Broadcaster. If you want to improve on reality, play with the free copy of iMovie to create your archive files. You would have to be insane to spend money for the hardware and software necessary to do the same stuff on another platform.

    Curious George.

  • superior software because of hate for the company that produced it is rather silly

    I dont think that /. readers have any problem with Microsoft as a company its really a problem with their monoploistic abuse of power to drive others out of markets and purposely exclude other platforms in order to protect its Windows Monopoly on the desktop. If MS started producing open source versions of its software for Linux I think youd find /. readers would have much less of a problem w/ them... but trying to F*** other OSs is a little 'dirty'... why offer any support to that effort by deploying MS technologies?

  • If you're worried about your pocketbook, however, ideologies can be dangerous

    Spoken like a true coward. Read this: You are nothing without conviction.

  • The most economical and flexible hardware solution is a dual processor G4 combined with a DV camera. Accompany this by Sorenson Broadcaster and Sorenson Video 2.1 Developer addition and you have an extremely powerful and cheap streaming server. This will work for multicast streaming, if you want to use other methods, combine it with a QTSS running under Linux or OS X Server running as a reflector. The developer edition of Sorenson Video is important to provide Altivec and multiple processor support. Additionally, your investment in this equipment will make it easy to move to MPEG4 (not MS-MPEG4) when Sorenson releases their software codec. Sorenson recently demoed their beta MPEG4 at the Macworld Expo. Yes, you will be initially investing in a more proprietary solution to begin with, but at least it will be expandable to more open standards later on, less than one could say for solutions from Real and MS. Graham
  • I just set up a QuickTime Streaming Server 3 preview install on an OS X public beta machine, and have had great luck with it so far for intranet streaming. Plus, it's FREE. check it out. [apple.com] -Nick
  • by Jamie Zawinski (775) <jwz@jwz.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @05:31PM (#486471) Homepage

    Not only does it run on NT, Linux, Solaris, Free BSD and anything else you decide to compile it for....

    Who cares if the QuickTime server runs on Linux? You still can't watch any modern Quicktime movies on Linux because there is no player. It's the players that matter.

    It's really irritating to hear the ``me too'' crew keep claiming that there is Linux support for QuickTime. There is none that matters.

    It is unfortunately the case that RealVideo is the only cross-platform video format that is deployable today. It is unfortunate both because both QuickTime and Windows Media have dramatically better video quality, and also because Real's pricing model is extortionate.

    You can get a crippled demo version of the encoder and server for cheap/free, but here's what the licensing prices for RealServer Pro look like, if you're actually using it:

    • 100 viewers: $6,000

    • 200 viewers: $12,000
      400 viewers: $22,000
      1000 viewers: $40,000
      2000 viewers: $80,000

    And that's for a single version of the server, with no future upgrades or support. If you want upgrades and support, add 40%.

  • by Jamie Zawinski (775) <jwz@jwz.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @05:32PM (#486472) Homepage

    Icecast streams MP3 and almost streams Ogg Vorbis, and they are working on video.

    They are not.

    Icecast streaming video is still a fantasy. Last time I checked, they haven't even started.

  • This library uses bits of Wine so that it can load Windows-native en-/de-coder DLLs

    Sounds like DivX ;-)

    But where does the end user get the license to use the DLLs? From a copy of Windows. The WiMP EULA is tied to the Windows license; its "Supplemental EULA" (also used for IE) states, in effect, "If you are not a licensed user of Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows NT, or Microsoft Windows 2000, you have no rights under this EULA."

    Running the DLLs on Alpha, Sparc, MIPS, PowerPC, or any other platform supported by NetBSD or GNU/Linux will be dog slow because it must go through an x86 emulation layer.


    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? [pineight.com]
  • Actually, I would submit that this is a completely rational descision. It doesn't matter if they make a better product or not, the truth is the company has a history of sucking people in killing the competition, and making them pay and pay and pay. Getting trapped in a Microsoft solution is a bad business descision.

  • I have recently started an OSS project here [slashdot.org] that will hopefully solve many of these problems. I know where you're coming from, I run into many problems with both of the popular platforms. With Windows media, you can send and receive parameters to make the content more interactive, however getting that done is a feat considering M$FT's documentation (it's disgusting), not to mention of course that it's not cross-platform. Real doesn't have as many features, which limits your ability, and it's expensive as all hell. I know what it's like, you just wanna rip your hair out. Well hopefully the OSS project that I listed above will solve all this. It's in the planning stage right now (mainly I just need to find the time to get a feature list out so that people can start thinking about how it can be done). Help is needed and everyone is welcome!

    $man microsoft

  • here's the real link:

    Try this one [sourceforge.net]

    $man microsoft

  • Actually I'm pretty sure there are players (avifile, xtheater, xine?) which I know for a fact play asf (using windows DLLs and WINE loaders), but I'm not too sure about streaming, I think some of them might.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • It looks like Quicktime for Linux also doesn't support H.263 and I didn't see anything about watching streams, so it's probably irrelevant to this discussion.
  • Microsoft also has no multimedia savvy.

    Microsoft research has employed and currently employs numerous gods in the world of graphics and multimedia. Graphics gods like Jim Blinn [microsoft.com]. Realtime gods like Michael Abrash. You can check out all the various research groups, the people involved, and what they do here [microsoft.com].

    Windows Media is ugly stuff to people who know better. It's unfun, and live streaming video ought to be fun.

    Perhaps I'm not one of the people who "knows better", but fun-ness seems like a pretty poor criterion for a critical evaluation of a streaming media product. Clever skins can kiss my ass. Windows Media is pretty decent as far as I'm concerned. MS has put a lot of time and money into crushing Real Networks, and we're beginning to see the fruits of that.

  • by ryancooley (248760) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @07:04PM (#486504) Journal
    You want lowest common denominator? Use Sun's JMF... Your video can be played back natively on Solaris, Windows, Linux, but most importantly, any platform with Java support can use the Java based player... The users needn't know that 3 second pause was them downloading the player :-). Now THAT is a video stream that reaches everyone!
  • Mmm. Me used to use MBone for streaming video before you were a sparkle in the milkman's eye, jackass.

    Oddly, I was actually curious about what happened to it, thought that it might be relevant to the discussion, as it used to be a hotbed for developers dealing with streaming video.

    Do people hang out waiting to find any excuse to flame? I think you need a new outlet for your rage. On the other hand, at least this is reasonably non-violent.

    Everyone else, sorry for the rant.

  • by RedWizzard (192002) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @08:58PM (#486513)
    <rant&gt
    As a user I hate Real. More than any other single app I use. I don't want fucking channels. I don't want take5 or whatever that shit is. I don't want icons I never asked for all over my desktop. I don't want spam. All I want to do is watch some video. Video that I can download, not a fucking stream. I don't want to have to go back to the server every time I want to see it, just because some asshole in marketing thought by streaming it they might get a few extra clicks on their banner ads.

    I know streaming is suited to this particular application (live video), but I urge anyone looking at doing streaming media to avoid Real. For the damage they've done to my online experience they deserve a plague of festering boils, but I'll setting for them never getting another customer.
    </rant&gt


  • buy or appropriate a superior technology [in this case as standard such as MPEG4]


    what tech did MS buy to make IE better then netscape?

    maybe good coders?

    -Jon

    Streamripper [sourceforge.net]

  • Check out a recent issue of Linux Journal. A streaming medium is just dying to come out of Ogg Vorbis combined with FIASCO. Pure open source and pretty hot technology. In fact, done well, you'd be looking at a top contender against QT, Real and Media Play. Did I metion open source? Some pieces need to be created though: Integrating FIASCO with Vorbis into the Ogg wrapper, determine how it will be streamed and code some plug-ins. Not such a bad open source project - give me three good programmers and 6 months... then watch out!
  • by robla (4860) on Tuesday January 23, 2001 @10:00PM (#486530) Homepage Journal
    Jamie, thanks for pointing out how silly it is for Linux partisans to be big fans of the Darwin server.

    Now, regarding video quality. RealVideo 8 is quite good, and in every comparison I've seen, does better than the competition. Of course, I'm a RealNetworks employee, so I'm prone to bias. Still, here's the link to comparitive data on the RealNetworks site [realnetworks.com], as well as an independent assessment [geocities.com] which largely comes to the same conclusions (with some nods to the competition). And, yes, there's a Linux version [freshmeat.net]

    As far as server price goes....hey, we've gotta make a living somehow. For the bandwidth necessary to stream to the audiences that you quote, you're going to pay a lot more in bandwidth and infrastructure than in software licenses.

    So, can we get a little slack here? :)

    Rob

  • It's great that this "graphics god", Jim Blinn has a home page on microsoft.com, one of the largest companies in the world, a company with a vested interest in seeing people use ever more complex hardware & software....

    ... and he doesn't use anything on that page that would be unfamiliar to the first version of Mosaic :)

  • ... has a lot of solutions _almost_ ready for streaming. Notice the enphasis on "almost".

    They have a quicktime/mpeg player for linux, a library to read and write quicktime format files, and a low-bitrate MPEG encoder, not compatible with MediaPlayer (i.e. noone wrote a codec for it, at least until now).

    And the fact their address is http://heroines.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net] should tell you something about the license(s) they use... :-)

    I'm not sure about streaming support, but given the library and the quicktime standard, I'd say this should be easy to implement.
    If you have the option of paying some developers to write some code, maybe this could be a solution (you'll need a MS WMP codec based on MPEG 2-movie and libmpeg2)

    Ciao,
    Roberto.
  • If the Real license is $20.000 per 400 connections, it's irrelevant if it suports more connections per processor, since for $20.000 I can buy a *hell* of a lot of processors.

    Personnaly I would rather pay for hardware than software (that's what got me into linux in the first place). I Windows media has a better compression, quality and price (nill) than It's illogical to think about anything else.

    I love Linux and use it every day, but don't forget the golden rule of engineering: "the right tool for the right job"

    ...
    Yes, I know I ramble and my spelling isn't quite up to scratch. If you wish to complain,
  • You are correct when you state that not everyone is x86, and also not everyone is Windows happy.

    Now, depending on his audience, it is probably safe to say that at least 3 out 4 of his visitors will be x86 and Windows users with WMP already installed. On a site that I manage, the number i about 8 out of 9 users have an x86 Windows platform with WMP already installed.

    Now, should I go and spend tons of money to accomodate 1 out 9 people? No, I dont think its prudent. My goal is to someday find a way to hit 100% of the potential audience, but right now MS WMP hits the highest pertcentage of people who simply need to click a link to start watching. With real, most people do not have the player downloaded/installed, and as for QT, the numbers are just plain silly. For me, the fact that 88% of visitors could view my streaming live content with WMP was damn good, compared with 49% with Real, and 0.5% with QT.

  • by hatless (8275) on Wednesday January 24, 2001 @03:50AM (#486561)
    Real's servers cost serious money for more than a dozen or so streams, but then again so does the bandwidth for those streams. Do the math and figure out how much connectivity you'll be paying for at your co-lo facility. Surely you don't plan to do high-volume streaming over a single T1 to your office.

    Next, do you need good quality across North America? Maybe you need to mirror on both coasts. Need to go beyond North America, or have increased reliability? Then you'll probably need to do sign on with Akamai.

    No, the server licenses are just the beginning. Unless you're only talking about a few low-bandwidth streams, in which case you can use the free or cheap Real servers.

    So make your server platform decision based on what OSes you need to support clients on, and how bad it would be for your business model to require a player many people don't already have (i.e. Quicktime 4 or above). If you're counting on visitors who aren't paying you directly, you should probably limit your choices to Real and WIndows Media.

    Anyway, why run your own servers at all? Why buy the hardware and bandwidth if you can just outsource your hosting to a company that already has fiber, giant servers and a contract with Akamai? Do you have login and tracking issues that video hosting services can't support?
  • I find it a bit odd to find a single post thanking someone for pointing out the silliness of supporting the quicktime version since it doesn't support linux, while providing a link to the unix versions of realplayer: the full version is not avaialble, and what *is* available is "community supported"--whatever that means . . .
  • for a version that works under load?

    And if it exists, would someone *please* tell cnn?

    :)
  • I would prefer MPEG over WMP, and WMP over sorenson.
  • BZZT! Wrong! The QT Java classes use native calls to the QT runtime. It only works on Mac and Windoze. Did you even read through the tutorial? Here is a direct quote:
    QuickTime for Java is both an API and an application framework. As an API, it provides Java developers access to the rich wealth of multimedia capabilities in Quicktime previously available only to C/C++ and Pascal programmers. It enables access to QuickTime's native runtime libraries which provide support for different forms of media (images, audio, and movies), timing services, media capture, complex compositing, visual effects, and custom controllers. QuickTime for Java has many other benefits as well. Since the API relies on native libraries to perform its complex and time-consuming tasks, it is extremely fast. It is also cross-platform- it will run on all platforms that support QuickTime (Macintosh, Windows NT, Windows 95, and Windows 98).


    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak

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