Monday, February 25, 2013

Streaming; Solution for Quality Across Multiple Bandwidths

We have had the discussion of optimizing your video streaming by trying to determine the optimal video quality for the bandwidth of the majority of your viewers. You can read about that discussion here. You don't have to settle for a reduced video quality stream because you have a few viewers that can only watch your streams over cellular data. There is a solution.

Utilizing the Adobe Flash Live Media Encoder you can assign multiple output streams to be sent to the multicasting service or server. Look at the following image.

On the lower left hand corner you will see three different Bit Rates all selected. These Bit Rates each produce a video stream sent to the multicaster. In this case you will have three streams being sent from your computer. Depending on your audio settings the audio content will be added to each stream. As you can see in the picture Adobe calculates the stream sizes and tells you to total upload bandwidth needed for your setup. Just make sure you have enough "upload" bandwidth to handle your configuration. You can test your upload/download bandwidth by running a speed test here. Choose the closest server and run the test.  

This is the easy part of the configuration. The other half of the setup depends on the multicaster and the software you are using for the player in your browser. First, the multicaster may charge you for each stream you send to them. If this is the case your setup could incur some higher fees. Second, if you have a multicasting service that allows multiple feeds, then you need to configure the player in your browser to test the bandwidth of the client and provide the appropriate stream with the greatest quality.

Many players are very different in design and setup. You need to refer to the documentation or product forums of the player you use. If you have not decided on a player and the multicaster does not provide there are plenty to choose from. Just do some research to see the capabilities of each of the products on the market before making a decision.

As always, start with one stream and work your way up. Taking one step at a time will be easier in the long run.

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