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Webcasting, Windows Media or Quicktime? 76

Posted by Cliff
from the throw-your-apple-through-the-window dept.
schlarbo asks: "I need to help produce a live webcast and was hoping to get some insight on the process from people with experience. We are a media house in Western Australia that uses Apple computers. We have the cameras, computers and a digital converter for the cameras. However, the big question is: should we use Quicktime Broadcaster, or rent a Windows XP laptop and use Windows Media Player to do the webcast?"
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Webcasting, Windows Media or Quicktime?

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  • by stienman (51024)

    I have never broadcast video, but with the proper codecs VLC should be able to do what you're asking.

    -Adam
  • by Utopia (149375) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @05:55PM (#13884549)
    I would say go with Quicktime. Just provide a link to the player download.
    Honestly I am not sure you can create a broadcast using just Windows Media Player. You need Windows Media Encoder + Windows Server.

    On a related note. I briefly provided some support to a India-based site.
    Which provides video in Real, Quciktime & Windows Media.
    75% choose to view in Windows Media.
    • Don't forget that anyone who has iTunes installed also has QuickTime installed. And since the iPod's quite a success, I think that many people actually have QT installed. Also: We all know that Microsoft is "da evil", so I'd choose either MPEG-4 or H.264 and QuickTime. The results are better than WMP, too.
    • 75% choose to view in Windows Media... Because Microsoft brain-washes their customers!
      Really, if WMP was not pre-installed with windows, that figure would be around 30-50%.
  • We use Quicktime Broadcaster at our company for exactly what you describe, and it works perfectly. Had a problem with the camera at first, so make sure you have a camera that... works.
  • Hell, I can't even go into fullscreen on Quicktime. Even when I had some version that could installed, I had to get out of fullscreen to take advantage of the navigation bar.

    Then again, if you want to rewind etc. before the file is fully downloaded, QT is better at that than WM (unless the connection is fast enough, on both sides, or some specific media format is used, I don't know which, but I VERY rarely encounter it, and, mind you, I watch a lot of porn).
    • Players vs Formats (Score:3, Insightful)

      by @madeus (24818)
      The poster should definitely go with QuickTime Broadcaster IMO, and encode the movies with QuickTime Pro (for the ~30 USD it will cost). It's far better quality (by a long way) and it's a more efficient in delivering good quality video (so streams are ultimately more reliable for end users).

      With QuickTime Pro, you can even encode files for streaming that will work well on a regular web server, by pre-encoding them in a number of different sizes/quality, all hinted appropriately is ideal. QuickTime Broadcast
    • I can't even go into fullscreen on Quicktime

      That's just 'cause the quicktime player is crap. The codec, however, is just fine.
      Just use some other player to play the quicktime files, and you'll have no problem. (My suggestion: Media Player Classic [sourceforge.net])

  • by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @06:01PM (#13884599) Homepage Journal
    If you want Mac and Linux users to be able to watch it, use MPEG-4 via QTSS.

    If you want to give Mac and Linux users the finger, go ahead and use Microsoft's tools.
    • Windows Media Player is available for the Mac (version 9 I think still?) However, it doesn't support any of the fancy DRM, so if you do use Windows Media, make sure it isn't adding a layer of DRM to it as well.

      I've used Darwin Streaming Server, and it worked great. I highly recommend it.
    • I use Linux primarily and I don't consider using WMV the equivalent of "giving us the finger". WMV is by far the most convenient for the majority of people and I can get WMV working very easily under Linux and MacOS X (Xine, MPlayer etc.). Quicktime is a poor choice because many Windows and Linux users won't have the codec installed and unless your videos are very important many people will not bother to install it to watch them. WMV also produces similar quality in smaller file sizes.

      Since Windows has
      • by jdclucidly (520630) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:09PM (#13886186) Homepage
        This couldn't be any more patently false. The only way to play WMV9 and 10 in Linux is to have an ILLEGAL copy of the codecs installed in /usr/lib/win32. On the other hand, Quicktime generates standards-compliant MPEG4 + AAC streams in an MP4/MOV container. These are decoded using the free and open source ffmpeg libraries.
        • ... The only way to play WMV9 and 10 in Linux is to have an ILLEGAL copy of the codecs installed in /usr/lib/win32. On the other hand, Quicktime generates standards-compliant MPEG4 + AAC streams in an MP4/MOV container. These are decoded using the free and open source ffmpeg libraries.

          And the EUCD bans even talking about how to do that [theregister.co.uk]. That's circumvention and talking about it is illegal too, not just doing it., though that may also violate the license for the codecs.

      • I can't get WMV3 files to play on OS X.
        • And I occasionally have trouble getting WMV videos to play on my Win2k machine.
          M$'s WMV codecs are absolutely atrocious. Seeking in WMV encoded videos is problematic at best. I have been forced to re-encode some WMV encoded videos into MPG1/2 or DIVX formats in order to make them playable. Playing back a WMV file burned onto a CD or DVD is like playing Russian Roulette.
    • It doesn't matter. If someone is using Windows they will be able to see it either way. If they are using a mac they will be able to see it either way. And if they are running Linux they will be able to see it only if they setup codecs properly. Most distros like Ubuntu come with a crap codec setup, but a little extra work fixes that. The thing is that if you use Windows, very few Windows users will be inconvenienced by having to download extra software. If you use QuickTime very few apple uses will be incon
      • But an open streaming format DOESN'T inconvenience people, that's my whole point. MPEG-4 with Darwin Streaming Server/QTSS. Open format, open protocol, works on all three platforms. Does Microsoft's media player not handle MPEG-4 over RTSP? If so, how many Windows users don't have QuickTime or iTunes and don't know where to get them?
  • Neither.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trelane (16124) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @06:09PM (#13884646) Journal
    You should be using Fluendo's [fluendo.com] Flumotion [fluendo.com]. From the site:
    The basic server product is free software, distributed under the GPL. If you want to stream content to your customers using unemcumbered royalty-free media formats (for example, Ogg/Vorbis and Ogg/Theora), you can easily do so without having to take out any license or support contract with us.

    On the other hand, if you do license the Advanced Streaming Server, you get the additional features of our commercial server version. This includes professional GUI administration tools, access to proprietary formats for streaming such as MPEG, and access to our support engineers.

    So you can stream in Ogg/Theora for free (free plugins for the end users, too), or you can pay them money and stream in MPEG and friends [no plugin needed].
    • ...I assume he's putting on the show because he wants people to, you know, actually watch it. ;)
      • you didn't read the parent, the parent says that you pay a license to stream using MPEG4 and co or get a free license to stream in Ogg/theora.

        Note that if you opt for Ogg/theora, there exist plugin for WindowsMedia player here
        http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/ [illiminable.com]

        Mplayer and vlc played them too.

        If you don't want your user to download any player, they can use that java applet:
        http://www.fluendo.com/products.php?product=applet [fluendo.com]
        • ...or get a free license to stream in Ogg/theora

          Which virtually nobody has installed on the client side, and which most people will not bother to install simply to watch this thing. Really, you want to do this with a minimum of fuss to the end user, or they'll simply move on and do something else instead - "minimum fuss" meaning "no new codecs/players". Stick with what your audience already has available to them, trust me, and since it sounds like they're already set up for WMV/QT, why pay for something

      • by Trelane (16124)

        ..I assume he's putting on the show because he wants people to, you know, actually watch it. ;)

        Nice slam on Ogg/Vorbis+Ogg/Theora, but them's the facts. It depends on the budget. You can do it for free, if you have little/no budget, or you can pay them for it and use something that people have installed already [which, notably, you have to do for the other solutions already]. Quicktime, you will remember, requires a [free] download for Windows users (no love for anybody else) and Windows Media only wor

        • It depends on a lot of things, of which budget is one. I think we can assume that the submitter is better aware of his own needs than either you or I, and he's narrowed it down to these two readily available solutions. However, there's always a few in the crowd who, when asked whether the Toyota is better than the Honda or what, can't resist the urge to chime in "Buy a unicycle!" He asked about QT and WMV - presumably, if he was interested in a survey of everyone's pet faves, the question would have been
          • It depends on a lot of things, of which budget is one.

            The reason I said this was because budget is a constraint, and the Fluendo software lets you choose--free or not free. It has flexibility that the others do. I'm well aware of the fact that there are other considerations, as you can tell by the rest of my posts.

            I think we can assume that the submitter is better aware of his own needs than either you or I, and he's narrowed it down to these two readily available solutions.

            Problem is that it's the

            • You seem to have this idea that it's all about "slamming" someone or something - really, it's about answering the question that's been asked. It appears to me that the submitter may already have the resources in place to use QT, but wants to know if there is some advantage to WMV. Or maybe not - perhaps no resources are in place, but the submitter would like to weigh the pros and cons of each solution.

              In any case, your suggestion that Flumotion is somehow "free" assumes facts not in evidence. Does Flum

              • You seem to have this idea that it's all about "slamming" someone or something - really, it's about answering the question that's been asked.

                Your assertions to date are that:

                • Flumotion is useless (first post)
                • My post is useless (second post)

                Both were stated as what I'd categorize as "slams": the first a sarcastic comment masquerading as a quasi-joke that the submitter wants for people to actually use the streams (incorrectly implying that nobody uses the formats that Flumotion provides); the second

                • Your assertions to date are that:

                  * Flumotion is useless (first post)
                  * My post is useless (second post)

                  My assertions to date were firstly, that the penetration of the Ogg codec is rather limited. Secondly, that your post did not answer the question as asked. Now, I understand your burning need to turn a relatively simple question into a roundtable discussion, but the fact is that your post did not answer the question as asked. If you prefer not to have people point that out, I recommend you

                  • My assertions to date were firstly, that the penetration of the Ogg codec is rather limited.

                    I wholeheartedly agree with this assertion.

                    Secondly, that your post did not answer the question as asked.

                    I would also agree with this assertion. I did not weigh in on the relative merits and problems with QuickTime streaming server versus Windows Media streaming server.

                    Now, I understand your burning need to turn a relatively simple question into a roundtable discussion

                    Again with the mischaracterizations of

    • Great, now all 8 people who have streaming Ogg plugins installed on their BeBoxes running Amegia OS can watch your video! Ogg is great and all, but the guy wants average people to be able to watch this without installing a new plugin, browser, and operating system.
      • Did you actually read the posting, or just see the word "Ogg" and decide to ignorantly deride other people's hard work?

        Synopsis of the stuff you seem to have "missed" (though you posted a couple of days late!):

        1. Other, common formats are readily available (though patented, so you have to pay)
        2. Plugins (notably required by QuickTime and WindowsMedia on Windows and Mac platforms respectively) are a free download just like for QT and WM
        3. Java applet which users probably don't need any software for is also
        • I'm not replying to the top post, but the parent above mine. The actual question itself is quite interesting, but Ogg guys always think everyone else uses ogg too, which is frustrating and false.
    • I agree Theora is the way to go, all platforms can view it. Besides the lazybasterds- but they do not give a crap and will not watch anyway.
  • A laptop would hardly do, now that /. knows about it. Just go with what you all ready have.

    I hear that you can also stream video with Flash, that could be a very good solution, too.
    http://www.macromedia.com/devnet/flash/articles/fl v_download_04.html [macromedia.com]
    It wouldn't require an investment anything more than Windows Server (required for streaming video to Windows Media Player).
    • I stumbled on my first Flash stream a few weeks ago - it was in the thumbnail previews of Google's Video service! My uneducated guess is that a larger % of web users have Flash these days than either WM or QT, plus the integration with the browser is flawless (it is Flash Player afterall).

      Re: QT, I find the app. tremendously annoying in Windows. Also, a lot of people do not have it installed. Personally, I'd like to see QT die and go away for web streams.
  • by Myself (57572) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @07:03PM (#13885049) Journal
    Do both! There's no reason you can't split the signal and encode to every popular format at once. If someone has trouble getting their favorite client working, they can try another one.

    My favorite radio station [wdetfm.org] webcasts in Real, WMA, and two bitrates of MP3 simultaneously. You'd do well to follow that lead.
  • If you're a "media house" (whatever that is) then you've probably got a larger portion of Macs in the audience (dirty or otherwise) than would be usual.

    If you're familar with Quicktime Broadcaster there's less chance of you looking like idiots in front of potential customers using that than on a rental XP box (no pressure if that breaks in the middle of a webcast...).

    One thing though - make sure that you use an actual URL so that people don't have to rely on a poxy browser plugin that probably won't be ther
    • That QuickTime is so lame (and even more that outside the US Quicktime Pro costs twice as much) is the biggest problem I have with OS X. You pay over a grand for an over-engineered powerbook and don't even get FSV. Thank the lord for VLC.

      If your video is that important, give me DiVx/xViD avis and I'll be happy.
  • by RobTerrell (139316) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:34PM (#13886007) Homepage
    There are some incredibly ignorant answers above.

    First of all, you can't stream live Flash video without a Flash Communication Server license, and it's one of the most expensive prospects in the entire streaming world right now, plus most of the world still only has the Flash 7 live codecs, which are a shitty subset of H.264, so skip that. Secondly, everyone who saying crap like VLC and ogg theora... please. Shut the fuck up. He's specifically asking about Windows Media and Quicktime.

    Refreshingly, the post that asks about your audience is dead on. The choice of streaming format will be entirely driven by your audience (and also by your budget).

    Some questions to consider:

    • Do you have streaming servers? What formats do they handle? If not, you need to start learning their care and feeding right now.

    • How many users do you expect? Do your streaming servers have adequate bandwidth? Do you know how to calculate adequate bandwidth? Are your end users all in australia, or are they international? Have you considered a CDN like Akamai, Playstream, VitalStream, etc.?

    • Are you archiving on the server or on the encoder? Are you backing to tape, for the inevitable "I forgot to hit record" issues?

    If this is your first webcast, you might do well to call a streaming expert (I recommend www.incitedmedia.com [incitedmedia.com], ask for Joe -- they did Live8 so they know what they're doing) and ask some questions.

    Keep in mind: Windows Media looks like crap on Macs. Quicktime is on lots more Windows machines nowadays thanks to iTunes. Quicktime Broadcaster isn't as rock-solid as Windows Media Encoder (and certainly isn't nearly as fully-featured) but will run on the machines you already have.
    • I don't know if this matters or not, but quicktime 7 will not install on windows 98, while windows media player will.

      That rules out H.264 for people with windows 98. Since we don't know their target audience, I don't know if that is an issue. My grandma still has 98, and I'm sure a lot of older people have it as well.

      • "That rules out H.264 for people with windows 98. Since we don't know their target audience, I don't know if that is an issue. My grandma still has 98, and I'm sure a lot of older people have it as well."
        It will also not work on my Amiga, or Atari ST!
        Really Windows98 is seven years old. I guess if you want to make sure just about everyone can watch it it may be a concern but unless you know that it is required I wouldn't worry too much about it.
        Frankly I are really interested in the streaming Ogg with a jav
      • Odds are, any computer that is still running Windows 98 couldn't even come close to handling the decoding of a QT7 stream.
        Granted, there are a few (insane) people who buy 3GHz machines and install 98 ... but if they're that much of a nut about 98, then they probably know where to go and get standalone QT7-compatible codecs to install.
  • by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo@ma3.14159c.com minus pi> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @10:37PM (#13886324) Homepage Journal

    I'd personally use Quicktime Broadcaster and the Darwin Streaming Server all the way. You already have the hardware for it, both are completely free (as in beer, although DSS is also free as in speech), and you have a wide selection of compressors and packetizers.

    Yes, I've heard the Windows users cry "but we don't want to use Quicktime!". My suggestion would be not to force them to by using a standard packetizer and compressor. If quality is your goal, use H.264 for both -- Mac and Linux users can view such streams easily, and Windows users only need either Quicktime or VLC. Or, if you want to sacrifice some quality, use standard MPEG-4 for both. Quicktime Broadcaster will happily handle such formats, and everyone should be able to play them with whatever player they want.

    So broadcast using the free Quicktime solutions, but use a standard format, and everyone can be made happy.

    Yaz.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I realize that what you are asking after is either utilizing the Windows Media versus Quicktime, but I would suggest going with Quicktime as it is in house. Our high school broadcast every single concert we had in real time using a Real encoder. Every time you set up for a concert, something had the ability to go wrong rather easily, granted we were high school students at the time. If you are having to rent a Windows XP box that you haven't tested or have experience with extensively, you are more likely to
  • I've often used this combination for MPEG-4 compliant streaming:

    If you choose h.264 over MPEG-4, encoding & decoding HW requirements will be higher. For playback, any system can play it back well:

    Consider how many Windows users have iTunes installed nowadays, which means Q

  • I'd whole heartedly reccommend http://developer.apple.com/darwin/projects/streami ng/ [apple.com]. It's free, and public source, and seriously enterprise ready! I will even stream MPEG4/2/1 streams, and Quicktime player(among others) have recently added support for MPEG streams. It's a killer application, with no real match... :D

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