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  1. #1

    Pay Per View/Video On Demand Streaming


    I believe this is the right place for the post.

    I would like to know good solutions for video on demand streaming and hosting.

    I'm looking to answer this questions:

    - How do you secure it
    - How do you use the logs to limit the BW per user
    - What services do you use for that
    - Any tip that may help me
    - What are the limitations (how do you overcome them?)
    - CDN recommendations
    - Hosting recommendations
    - Anything else...

    How did you do it? How would you do it? If you could share your experience, it would be great for me (and probably for many others).


  2. #2
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Manchester, UK
    Hi grep,

    First off, I haven't done this myself. I'm only basing this off things I've read elsewhere on the internet before this, and my own experience with web dev.

    Second off, it isn't going to be cheap.


    In terms of hosting, you'll need a package with one hell of a lot of bandwidth. Those packages with 'unlimited' bandwidth may look the business, but hidden away in the Terms and Conditions will probably be a clause with either a set figure (which may be surprisingly low) or something called fair usage, and I doubt video streaming would typically be classed as fair usage.

    You might have better luck with an unmetered bandwidth package - this is slightly different in that the company simply (and supposedly, but I doubt it) doesn't monitor your bandwidth/storage usage. Again, I'd check the T&Cs on this.

    Next, you'll need a package that isn't on a shared hosting account, certainly if it's going to have more than one user at a time (which I'm imagining it will do). Most ISPs will tend to suspend your account when it uses more than it's meant to of the CPU, database engine (e.g. MySQL), and hard drive 'requests' (reads/writes). My host, for example, will suspend my account when I reach a certain amount of 'requests', 175,000 to be exact. The terms and conditions relating to my hosting package (which is shared hosting) is at the bottom of this post for reference.

    So, you'll probably at the very least need a Virtual Private Server (VPS), or dedicated server. A VPS is, typically, similar to a shared hosting account, but it guarantees you a portion of the server resources. Less VPSs are hosted on the same server, compared to hundreds, usually thousands, of shared hosting accounts.

    A dedicated server is, well, a dedicated server. These are for when you absolutely need performance guaranteed, which you might want, certainly if your site gets popular.

    VPSs and DedServs also allow you to install extensions and other software which otherwise might not be allowed on a shared hosting account, a typical example would be FFMPEG, essential if you're going to be streaming video. You might also want to use Realplayer streams, although I'm not as clued up about those.

    Software, etc

    CDN, or a Content Distribution Network, allows your content to reach audiences worldwide quicker than a single server can do. A well-known example is Amazon Cloudfront, where you as the developer/site-owner would pay per GB per month depending on what you use. Generally it'd be recommended to store your videos on these CDNs, whilst you have your main content (such as PHP scripts, HTML pages) on your own server. You could put images (especially hi-res ones) on a CDN, if you wanted, but that's up to you.

    Securing the content would be the major headache for me. The main solution that would come to mind would be to use a CMS, whether custom-made for you or not. Through this, you could set it so a user can only watch a video if they have paid up-front. You could also do a subscription where viewers are allowed to watch as much content as they want each month, with a subscription charge in place.

    I think that's most of what I can help you with. Really, you need to be talking to a local web developer (or someone in another location if you're comfortable with that, or can't find one locally) who has experience in this sort of thing. They will know a lot more than me, and may already have solutions ready to be implemented. The main drawback of doing it with a web developer is the cost, but if you're committed to the project/website, I'll assume that you're prepared to take on the costs if necessary.

    Let us know if you want any more, I'll see what I can try and do.


    Inodes policy

    The Customer understands and agrees that an account cannot use more than 175 000 per account. Accounts that slightly exceed the inode limits are unlikely to be suspended, however, accounts that are constantly creating and delete large numbers of files on a regular basis, have hundreds of thousands of files, or cause file system damage may be flagged for review and/or suspension. Every single file or folder on The Customer's account is counted as 1 inode unit.

    Disk space and Traffic Usage

    The terms "unlimited" and "unmetered" are defined by our experience with similarly situated customers or measured by the industrials standards and the average resource usage of a shared hosting account located on the same server. This means that your use of our resources may not exceed that of similarly situated customers in a way to affect global performance of the hosting environment of cause any service-related issues, regular backups delay or high I/O wait. In particular, you may not use our services for the primary purpose of:
    Audio/Video streaming (other than that which is incidental to a site's operation)
    Large photo galleries exceeding the allows inodes usage or average disk space usage on the server by other shared hosting accounts.
    Storage of a large amount of uncompressed or full-size digital images
    Online backups both of your local computer or hosting account
    Online file (FTP) serving
    Distribution of content such as MP3 files or other multimedia content


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