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Lab 7.4 Exercises

7.4.1. Understand Streaming Multimedia

a) Discuss the differences of streaming media technology as compared to simply embedding audio and/or video files in a Web page.

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A1:

Answer: Embedded multimedia files must be completely downloaded before an appropriate helper application or plug-in can process and deliver their content. Therefore, large multimedia files can lead to a long delay for the user during downloading. Processing and delivery of streaming media content begins as soon as the downloading process begins.

This distinction allows streaming media players to support “live” content as well as content stored in static files.

Two important offshoots of this are the different bandwidth required and the expectations of the user. When accessing pages with embedded media, the user knows there will be a wait time. However, the user does not expect to wait with streaming media.

With a greater bandwidth requirement, streaming media can appear choppy because the player may be forced to chop out parts of the stream in order to keep up. That is, information is coming in too fast for the player to process or store.

b) Visit the Web site www.kfox.com and listen to the station using its “Listen Live” link. Discuss some of the problems that might occur when listening to the station like this.

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A2:

Answer: Your enjoyment of the radio station (independent of your taste in music) will depend on your bandwidth. Listening to the station like this across an ISDN line is fine, but only if that's the only information going across the line. That is, I cannot listen while surfing the net. In order to keep real time, the line needs to be used exclusively by the streaming audio.

7.4.2. Create Web Pages Using Streaming Multimedia

a) Create an <EMBED> tag for a streaming video object with the source being the file you are using (e.g., “welcome.ram”).

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A1:

Answer: Here is one possible solution <embed src="welcome.ram" height=500 width=500>.

As you can see, there is basically nothing different compared to other audio and video formats. Note also that like other video formats you really ought to specify a height and a width, otherwise you may end up not seeing anything.

As mentioned before, the difference here is how the file is played for the user. With other audio and video formats, the entire file is downloaded before the user can view or listen. With streaming media, the server sends a series of user database protocol (UDP) packets back to the client. If a UDP packet somehow becomes corrupt or lost during the transmission, it will not seriously disrupt the transmission/broadcast. When the packets arrive at the client, they are reassembled and sent to a buffer. Once the buffer fills with the necessary packets to begin playback, the file begins to play even before all packets have been completely received from the server. If the buffer exhausts, playback will temporarily pause until the buffer fills again and can continue.

b) Discuss why using a system that simulates streaming video (i.e., CineWeb) can be more effective than true streaming video.

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A2:

Answer: Such products allow you to use a common, standard format like QuickTime, AVI, and MPEG. This might allow your to have one link to play the streaming version and another to play the download version, without the need to manage separate formats.


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