Streaming Video Webcasting - Internet TV Broadcast
The Internet has been the great leveler by allowing almost anyone to become a publisher and present his or her
ideas in a public format. Now with the widespread use of broadband a whole new area of self publishing is opening
up in the form of Internet TV.
Video streaming is a technology that is accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. One
step up from Video On Demand or VOD streaming is live video broadcasting over the Internet. Although demanding more
resources than VOD, live video broadcasting is becoming more accessible to the average computer user.
Video Broadcasting Over Internet Webcasting
Live Internet video broadcasting is sometimes called webcasting. Up until recently it has been the exclusive
domain of large corporations or institutions with the financing to setup the necessary infrastructure. Webcasting
is now available to the masses and almost anyone can host their own Internet TV station.
Webcasting at its most basic requires just a simple webcam and a broadband Internet connection. The quality of
this kind of webcasting, however, can be very poor, with frequent pauses and poor image quality.
Higher quality webcasting requires the use of a specialized video streaming server. Streaming servers can handle
higher bandwidths and are designed for high quality webcasts. They are also expensive.
Video Conferencing Over Internet
An off shoot of one way live video broadcasting is live video conferencing where several participants in
different locations can see and hear each other. Each participant may also be able to see and manipulate computer
programs such as spreadsheets.
This type of video conferencing is ideal for large companies that have branch offices separated at great
distances. Rather than travelling to a meeting, an Internet video conferencing session can be set up. This saves
the time and expense of travelling.
Internet video conferences are also ideal for universities. Guest speakers from anywhere in the world can
participate in seminars without disrupting their schedules.
The technology for live video conferencing is several years old and has found its way into a range of
applications ranging from mundane online chatting to critically important telemedicine. As broadband Internet
becomes more commonplace, we are likely to see even more extensive use of this technology.
Another important use of video conferencing is telemedicine. Patients in remote locations can consult with
doctors thousands of miles away. This is especially important to small communities with limited medical facilities
and can often save patients the time and expense of travelling to a large medical facility.
A variety of technologies can be used to supplement live video conferencing. Participants can communicate
verbally by speaking into a microphone, but this can cut down on the bandwidth available to the video.
Alternatively participants can talk using traditional phones, cell phones or Internet telephones otherwise known as
VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol.
Desktop sharing applications allow participants to manipulate computer data on remote computers. This is ideal
for illustrating certain procedures which might be difficult to explain verbally.