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QT streaming - worth it for me?
05-31-2006, 12:46 AM
Post: #1
QT streaming - worth it for me?
Greetings. I managed to get QT streaming all running on my site for audio (mp4 AAC) and video (.h264) content - not an easy task since I'm no web guru (the KB and wiki helped immensly) but I wanted to implement some DH provided cool Apple tech. After some constructive criticism I added standard mp3 audio to "appeal to the lowest common denominator" (i.e., those without the latest QT and/or on Windows, etc.).

I learned much about QT streaming & the code necessary to set this up. However, rethinking the whole thing before I add non-streaming video, is all this it worth it for my personal situation? I'm just a simple musician who's offering up a bit of free a/v content. Should I chuck the whole QT streaming concept and just go with QT fast start & basic mp3 (sort of http streaming/download, especially if you're on broadband) for simplicity's sake or are there any "worth the trouble" benefits to offering a/v content in more that one standard format?

Thanks for any thoughts!
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06-13-2006, 02:35 PM
Post: #2
QT streaming - worth it for me?
Bit late on the reply, but I'd gone through this myself and here's my personal take on it. It's a bit long and rambling, but what the heck.

Offering a "lowest common denominator" MP3 version can be a kindness to those not well eqipped, and is probably a necessity if you're going for the widest reach possible. Giving a higher quality AAC version is a nice bonus to people with the right software, and for video, QT is as common as anything else so I'd just go .h264 and call it good (I'll also note that when I tested, VLC would play QT .h264 files just fine, and it runs on pretty much every platform, so you can recommend it to people not on Windows or the Mac, though if you're geeky enough to be running Linux you probably already have it).

Set up properly, I believe a stream can offer your viewers a file that is tailored to their connection speed, based on what they've set in QT's preferences, but that's getting rather involved to set up, and there's little benefit over just letting them pick the quality they prefer and wait for it if they're on a slow connection.

The only real advantage to streaming over simple HTTP with quickstart (that I know of) is being able to skip around in the file before it's finished loading. Depending on WHAT you're streaming, this can be a big advantage--I've used it to make long-ish radio programs easier to move around in, particularly useful for those on slow connections.

Well, I take that back; there is one other advantage: If you are serving very large media files to people on broadband, but people frequently don't finish watching/listening to them, it could hypothetically save you bandwidth (I think, anyway). That is, if you've got a 10MB video file that 50% of your viewers don't bother to watch past the first MB, if you're streaming it theoretically they've only used about that much bandwidth, while if they're on a fast connection the entire file might have otherwise loaded before they decided not to finish watching.

Admittedly, I could be wrong about this--not sure how QT handles advanced-caching--so it might not even help. I also can't say this would be likely to have any effect on 99.99% of sites in the real world, but I thought I'd mention it.

Personally, the way I look at it, although MP3 is ubiquitous, it's not less proprietary than AAC--just older and wider spread. If you actually wanted to go "open" with your formats, you're basically looking at OGG, but of course that's far less commonly supported than .m4a files. If you're giving downloads to people who might be playing them on non-iPod music players, though, MP3 is a must.
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06-19-2006, 09:20 AM
Post: #3
QT streaming - worth it for me?
Thanks very much for your thoughts on the matter! After some debating, it seems in my particular situation QTSS doesn't really give me a great return on my investment (of newbie time and hair-pulling setting it up) - it also creates design issues with displaying links to multiple formats (something I'll be toying with forever, I think). For now I guess I'll leave some stuff in multiple formats and others just one.

Still, it's cool tech and I'm happy DH offers it Smile

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