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  1. #1

    Streaming Media Technologies study

    Hi Ya'll,

    I asked Dave Owen if this was alright to post here and he graciously agreed -- Thanks!

    I am with Indiana University (this is a large state university in the US of A for anyone that doesn't know -- on my own set of forums, 2/3rds of my readers are out of my country so I have to explain these things sometimes).

    We are trying to do a study on different media technologies to figure out what the current trends are and what actually works and what doesn't.

    Its all independent -- we aren't getting paid by anyone (heh! I think I'm already out a bit right now as it is :P) and we hope to be able to share this info as soon as we are finished with the study as well as how we went about encoding this media and setting up the different media servers.

    So if you have a few minutes, please take a look at our survey and answer a few of our questions. Its pretty quick -- we aren't interested in you watching the WHOLE video, just seeing if it plays and what your initial opinion is.

    Thanks! And if you want to be alerted when we've finished our study, please leave your name at the end of the survey!

    BTW -- if anyone has any questions about the survey, please ask! I will make certain that I check in here often! if you have questions about the encoding or server technologies, please ask! If you need IMMEDIATE answers -- send me an email (even if its to say Check The MediaCollege Forums And Answer Me -- I hate when someone new comes on my own forums and asks folks to do something for them and then never hangs around to return the favor!)

    Clif Marsiglio
    Manager of Development and Outreach Testing Activities
    The Testing Center
    Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    This is a worthwhile survey and I encourage everyone to take it. We get a lot of people asking about comparative performance and it can be quite hard to answer objectively. This sort of information is extremely helpful when it comes to deciding which format to use.

    Clif, any chance you can share the results with us?
    Dave Owen

  3. #3
    Hey Dave,

    I'll be glad to give the results of this!

    We hope to have the preliminary results out by early July -- I've talked with my collaborator on this and we have decided we want to put up some notes about the struggles we've had to do to try to make all of this cross platform and keep everything as equal as possible -- at least on the client side.

    I know I was able to play all of these on the Mac and PC (and several of these on Linux -- I'm *STILL* trying to get two of them running with some 'third party' codecs on my Linux box) -- so we are trying to be objective in the fact that if these don't run on the major desktops, we weren't going to put them in our survey.

    But yeah, this is objective -- and if we can learn something from this, we hope to go more indepth in the future of trying to figure out what is most useful for users and content creators. And as such, we don't even know how we are going to do or 'favorite' choice -- maybe we will skip that and give different scenarios and tell ya'll which we think works out best for each of them (i.e., media company wanting to simply push bits at any cost, folks that are just starting out but want to be able to expand, the best choice for $X range). It all depends on how this turns out...

    But all in all, yes, we will be sharing the info -- and if anyone wants this info, you can put your email address in at the end of the survey and we will let ya know (but we aren't going to unless ya do it!!! ).

    Thanks to those that have helped us with this -- and Thanks Dave for allowing us to share this with your readers!

  4. #4

    Thanks for the help!

    Hey Ya'll,

    I have the results of the study as well as a few quick tutorials on how we encoded our videos to get the results:

    Surprisingly, the results came in differently than I had expected -- based on criteria that we asked folks to rate the videos on (quality, buffering, 'playability'), as well as several pieces of data that we collected on our end (time to encode the videos, file sizes of the resultant encoded files, price of technology for both encoder and the streaming technology).

    Our results came out to

    #1 Zentu's VX30 technology (its a Java based application -- seems to run on almost EVERYTHING -- no real plugin needed)
    #2 Flash
    #3 Windows Media
    #4 Real
    #5 Quicktime

    All in all, the results seem a bit 'odd' considering what I thought I knew, but thats why we wanted to do this independently without being paid by anyone to do this -- we wanted to cut out all the BS that is associated by the current studies. This is not our 'favorite' video technologies -- but the ones picked by media professionals in an emperical study and thus it should be a little less biased

    In the near future, we plan on rerunning a portion of this using a pool of trained raters in a more controlled environment (meaning that certain things like 'playability' will not be judged -- looking at quality of the videos and how well it plays through streams).

    Again, we didn't pick our favorites -- if this were the case, Quicktime wouldn't be #5 on my list. Its the only one listed that actually streams with standards in mind, and as an F/OSS geek a lot of the time -- I like technologies that go towards standards (even if Apple breaks said standards when it goes to DRM in their quicktime ). Heh! I think a lot of my friends from Apple are going to be irked over this (luckily, I don't deal with the QT folks there, just the developers and the Music folks...still probably means no more beta testing for them for a few months though :P).

  5. #5
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    Interesting info, ccmarsig. I briefly went through the results but I will read it thoroughly during the weekend. I sent the results link to my co-workers just to have them take a glimpse of the direction streaming may be going.

    I look forward to future surveys.

    Best Regards.
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  6. #6
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    Te Awamutu, New Zealand
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    I would like to congratulate Clif and the team for this survey. As I've said before, it's invaluable having this sort of unbiased information. In a world where it's becoming increasingly difficult to find untainted studies, this sort of study should be acclaimed and publicised as much as possible.

    I'm a little surprised by the results as well, mainly by the strong showing of Flash. This makes me happy though as I'm a bit of a Flash fan. I can't say I'm that surprised by Quicktime's poor showing - as much as I've loved this format I've struggled to make it perform as well as the others. Sad but true.

    Well done Clif and thanks for sharing the results.
    Dave Owen


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