StreamingMedia show

I went down to the Streaming Media show at the end of last week. It was interesting and I think I learnt a few things. Not a big show, but it will be putting some of its talks up on video streams, so I thought that I’d add some links here to help anyone else looking for info.

I’ll put a few links here just for reference and to remember who I saw. Not everyone on the show floor, but the few that I talked to. The first talk that I listened to was Jan Ozer from Doceo, who did an excellent technical level talk on the pros and cons of h264. It explained why some podcasts are not playing on my iPhone (only has Baseline profile playback). I shall listen to that again, when the video is there, but even the technical slides were valuable. He made the point that h264 use means paying royalties at some point; just bear it in mind. For Quicktime, he suggested using Main profile, as the user needs QT Pro to play High profile (until mid 2009?) For Flash (which got h264 at v9.3), use High profile. Suggested B frames might be increased for animations. Recent iPods can handle 640×480 -> 480×320. He had a set of slides in comparisons between encoders. I think he rated Queeze the best, Apple for good bit rates. MainConcept is used by Adobe and Sorensen. Telestream Episode had a mention. New VP6 next May will be better. Differences show up mainly in high motion video, so keep still!

Jon Alexander from Velocix gave a talk on HD delivery, but it was a high level view. If you play 2Mbps video it needs less than 50msec round trip, which gives a limit of around 1800miles (assuming 1% packet loss) 6Mbps => 20msec. They talked about adaptive streaming, but I needed to move on at that point and felt I could read this on the web site. Interesting in that we were looking at a possible use for the current project. Mentioned some managed servers eg BTVision bring in the point of control into the home. We talked of that last week at another meeting; it seems to be the combination of ISP in your home, with an AppleTV-type box; a home server hub.

Jet-Stream from the Netherlands, won the readers award for European CDN; other finalists were Global-MIX and Stream UK, both from the UK. Stef at Jet-Stream suggested that putting a toe in the water is very easy with their site. He recommended having a look at Wowza as well (which they offer). Sounded as though they had good pricing if you’re expecting sudden/short peaks in usage. Helen at StreamUK gave me a clear technical run down on what they offered, which could be worth a second look.

Adobe had a session planned for the San Jose version of this conerence, about customising the Flash Video Player, but had to cancel. This turns out to be lucky for us, as Kevin Towes recorded his presentation and has it available online.

Again, the rise of social interaction is coming to the fore. The main reasons coming out of the discussions were,

  • It costs ten times as much to get a new customer than keep an existing one. Social features allow much more interaction and allow customers to truly engage with the content, offering higher retention rates.
  • The cost of implementing social features is free or very cheap if you are all ready using video.
  • Remember to be very specific about your goals and set clear reasons and targets for using social media.
  • These are some of the people I spoke to,

    AStream – A group of people with some broadcast tv experience
    EdgewareTV – $10k for a streaming server – 3000 people at top SD quality
    Internap – Another CDN to look at.
    Vidiator – Talked well about their mobile video, managed service. Showed the yamgo example, which looked neat and modern. Helen kavanagh – talked clearly – big CDN
    GPL – Was interesting to see their viewcast boxes, portable encoders
    Gomez – Had software for performance analysis of network links
    SMPE – streaming media – very fast and flexible (?)
    Streamzilla from Jet-Stream – stef van der ziel

    In looking around, I had a good look at the Mio package from Nativ. They looked to have a very flexible workflow system, that can deal with all types of video, adjustable metadata, transcodes etc. I’ve had a look at the site since and might have a look in depth to see if we can use it on a couple of projects. Price is a problem with the smaller sites, but maybe we can do a deal across several.

    I didn’t have time to speak to everyone, so look for more on the streamingmedia site (link at the top).

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