Drazen Pantic on Fri, 10 Mar 2000 16:44:33 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Open Source Streaming Alliance

Open Source Streaming Alliance - Now!

Streaming on the Net has started to be almost the necessity of
any Internet savvy organization -- imperative is to send, and
even better stream, as much audio and video content as
possible. The full agenda is to send a rich multimedia content
and reach the global audience, delivering a message through a
clear sound or crisp video, of course with the minimal cost.

The distributed set of audio/video streaming servers world
wide, exchanging streams through multicast and splitting
technology could provide a public domain channel for non for
profit and non wealthy organizations and individuals a
necessary channel for effective and global streaming, without
interruptions and "net congestion" errors. Idea is very simple:
when a user requests a content from one of the servers in the
network, he/she gets redirected to the closest server relative
to the Internet bandwidth topography. So, if a user from New
York wants to listen to radio from Belgrade, he gets seamlessly
connected to a server in US, which on the other side requests a
stream from server in Amsterdam, being provided by one stream
from Belgrade. In that way, multiple users from US do not
create multiple connections to the low bandwidth server behind
the infrastructural terror in Serbia. Examples are numerous,
but the basic idea is clear, generate as less redundant traffic
protocol for streaming, and enable low bandwidth environments
to rely on solidarity in streaming from the better situated
sites. That will create a diversity of content, and enable
global accessibility for all voices.

The technical part of the idea is already implemented in real
Network's Real Broadcast Network, bringing together a set of
distributed RealMedia servers and major global telco providers.
Implementation functions very well on the pure technical level,
but...it relies on the Real Media standard, specifications and
details are patented by Real Network, hence unknown to the rest
of the world. In their promo text RN states "Our sophisticated
network technology and management ensures high-quality and
reliability, allowing you to focus on what's important-your
site and its content",[1]. The meaning is that user(s)
worldwide should be relieved from the boring questions letting
The One And Only Broadcaster to deliver their content,
regardless of the method and the cost. What brings us to the
second painful point of RBN -- the cost. Without further
elaboration, I will just cite the RBN's "Special Offer" page,
[2], starting with: "Enjoy worry-free Webcasting from RBN for
as little as $9,995."

The alternative solution, at least in delivering audio content
is available and not very difficult to conceptualize. MP3
standard has reached incredible popularity, combining the
quality of sound and open source approach. Collective
intelligence of code creators worldwide, has produced numerous
tools: encoders, rippers, and streaming servers - mostly like
freeware software, available to everybody free of charge.
Moreover, open source standard has put MP3 in a perfect
position of total platform independence; any machine that has a
computer chip can play a MP3 file: from PalmPilots to
mainframes through stand alone devices. Servers are also
available, look for example [3] or [4].

On the infrastructural side, things look also very good. The
number of non for profit groups and individuals world-wide have
established Internet servers with significant - or more precise
with sufficient bandwidth - to create a mighty network of
streaming servers. (For global distribution of the Internet
bandwidth and traffic, see [5].)

So, there is just one step needed: the will and awareness for
creation of the flexible and global network of distributed MP3
streaming servers. The servers might just agree to exchange
streams, and establish a protocol for redirection of users. Al
elements are here, available now, and it looks appealing to
enable a guerilla radio from who_know_where to be as loud on
the Net as it could be. Doesn't it?

[1] http://www.realnetworks.com/rbn/about.html
[2] http://www.realnetworks.com/rbn/promos.html
[3] http://icecast.org
[4] http://www.shoutcast.com
[5] http://www.internettrafficreport.com

Nettime-bold mailing list