How Do I...?

Three basic steps: Create, broadcast & play

There are three main steps to creating streaming media content for your website. In this section we'll walk you through aspects of each.

Step 1: Creating compelling content

Whether it's simple audio and video, or multimedia presentations that also include pictures, text and graphics, the first step is creating high-quality, compelling streaming media content. You need to have either existing analog (tape) content such as audio or video presentations, commercials or training materials, or a way to generate new content, or a live event that you can capture using a microphone or camera. Once you have your content, you need to convert it into a digital file format that is stored on a computer. Although the simple microphone that comes with most computers will do the trick, to get better quality, you'll want to purchase quality recording equipment at a local electronics store. You'll also need an audio/video capture card or other media device connected to a computer.

Once the files are digitized they need to be encoded, or converted into a streaming media file format. All you need is simple encoding software that typically allows for easy wizard- driven production or complete control of the encoding settings.

Step 2: Broadcasting to an Internet or intranet audience

Once you've encoded your streaming media content, you're ready to broadcast it to your audience. This broadcast can be either live or on-demand. Live content, such as a sporting or music events, a share-holder meeting or a product launch can be broadcast as it happens to a large Internet audience. On- demand content is prerecorded and broadcast multiple times, depending on when and how many times users choose to view the clip. To broadcast content you need a streaming media server-a software-based application set up as part of your Web site configuration.

On-demand content, once it is encoded into the desired format, is sent to our servers via FTP at your convenience. The file is then available for viewers from that point forward. If you have a live streaming event, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Step 3: Playing audio, video and more

Hundreds of millions of computers have media player applications installed, allowing users to access the wealth of content that's available online. When a user discovers an audio or video clip they want to experience, they simply click on the link or file within the Web page; then their media player software automatically retrieves that file from the streaming media server. The media player launches and begins to play the content in real-time-there's no waiting for the file to download.

Users can choose when, where and how many times they want to view the content. They can fast-forward and rewind just as they would with their own VCR or DVD player. In some instances users can search through the content to find exactly what interests them. With certain products users can even access the media player application itself to search for specific content or request to have personalized content delivered right to their desktops.