Multi Media Data Streams

Like a slide show, this file is set for good sound and picture clarity over, picture frame rate. 28K modem.

This file is set for a 40K modem. The file should be replayed if downloaded with a 33K or slower modem. A quality difference in visual frame count over the 28K version.

This 56K modem version uses the same audio quality as the above files but has a higher picture frame rate. You may have to replay the file after the initial load. Big difference in the effect.

Using Real Audio/Video, this file is weighted for more frames per second over picture and sound quality using a 56K Modem. This file is not cached so, it has to be downloaded for every play. Good for copyrighted works.

Real G2 is the new format that tries to determine the connected speed of your visitor and adjusts one (1) file to match this data stream connection. Does it work? YES however, you cannot predetermine the quality of the presentation. If your visitor has a slow connection, then, the quality will always be poor vs. a cached short stream that is replayed.

thank you.

Select the graphic to replay.
Background music is copyright © 1996 by The Exceptional, Tom Wagner, all rights reserved, used by permission. There is a loss of sound quality (sorry Tom) from the original but, it streams!!! using Vivo.
Copyright © 1998 by
Background Graphic and animated gif is Copyright © 1997 by , all rights reserved.
Most recent revision January, 1998.
Multimedia file is Copyright © 1997 by Queens Hospital, Hawaii.

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Spiced Media

Animated Gif files and Streaming Multimedia files bring action to pages where truly, the work can equal thousands of words. Which file type is best for you? The use of one type over the other may be determined by what you want the file to do for you. Both of these file types (animated.gif and streaming media) can use considerable system resources so, depending on what your page is to say and how it is laid out, one type of file may be better than another when delivering to a broad range of users. Both file types can be used on a single page however, browsers powered by legacy systems or, systems with limited resources may have problems dealing with both types or, more than one file on a page, loading at one time.

The animated gif can be set to loop continually. It is supported by most browsers and servers. I like to pair animated gif files with midi files for background sound. This combination can give you an audio/visual page that tax your site visitors systems lightly. Animated Gif files dress pages nicely, without demanding too much attention and, can be combined with streaming media however, the cost in CPU kernel resource use may be a bit much for some legacy systems or, systems with limited resources. Animated Gif files may work with a current multimedia PC and streaming media files too, (this page) but, some folks may have less than satisfying results from the mix. Lots or large animated gif files on a single page can take a lot of system resources too so, if the file is large FILE SIZE = (height) times (width) times (frame count) times (color depth) or you have many GIFs on a page, some of your site visitors may have problems even without streaming files. You may not want to mix looping, large animated.gif files with the streaming media types eg. Indeo, Clear Fusion, Real Audio/Video, Vivo, Emblaze and, MS Netshow because they would all be sharing the limited, download bandwidth unless you can balance and plan the load. I don't know how to exactly do it.

Animated gifs have to download completely before the relative quality of the art is fully appreciated; while streaming media types starts after just a short delay, with relatively good quality - if the file is matched to the modem speed, with the expected download connection.

Streaming Files

The file types on this site are like super compressed AVI and WAV files. Less quality than the original files but, great for the WWW because they are smaller than the masters in size and, stream or play as it downloads to the users browser. No long wait for the complete download.

Because of superior visual and audio capability over other graphic types:

  • Streaming files are best used when you want to present some elaborate data type.
  • Tell a more complete story.
  • Focus your visitors attention.

Unless the page is expected to be viewed and accessed on a closed - high speed network or other system with lots of bandwidth, care has to be taken to ensure a good page load. This care should include the sequence of the files being loaded with the streaming file. For general internet use, these files are good when used with small static graphic types that don't demand much in system resources once loaded and, finish loading completely before the streaming file starts. The streaming media files should start to play after your page content is completely loaded so whatever bandwidth is available can be dedicated to the file. If more than one streaming file is on a page (not recommended,) only one should auto-start. Second and third files should be set to manual starts and when started, the prior file should be completed. Not playing or being downloaded. MS Netshow has a time line to control this. Something like Asymetrix Compel (about 1990? I may have spelled the company and program name incorrectly. BTW, a great program.) The audio sections would probably clash and the expected data streaming rate for the file would be compromised where, if two files were being loaded, each would get perhaps half of what is expected in bandwidth, leaving your visitor with a less than satisfying site visit. Browser system resources may be a problem too with multiple loads. These files can use considerable resources. Clear Fusion, Indeo, Vivo, Real Audio/Video, Emblaze and, Netshow have different system requirements and use different amounts and types of resources when played. I tried to measure the differences using the same master and can say, they have different resource requirements. Your expected visitors browser and connection should be part of your page considerations, for all brands and file types. The Tom Wagner file you should be listening to is mastered off of a 17 MB WAVE file. It is compressed down to less than 400 kilo bytes. There is a loss of quality but, the file is usable on the WWW for most visitors so, I feel the trade off is worth the loss. Get the record when it comes out. Huge difference. Liquid Audio is another streaming format that delivers almost CD quality but, as I understand it, a special server and more is required for the format to master. Something like how Real Products were before the new versions.

A problem can be avoided when working with frames - where multiple pages are loaded and say, the audio parts clash. If your page has a mid file playing within a table of contents window and, a streaming file is loaded in another window, the streaming media file will NOT trigger the mid file off as the different audio/video type loads. This can be useful or, be a small problem. To turn off the initial mid file, you can send a second mid file (that does not loop) to load prior to the streaming media. Just a single note will do. This mid file embedded on the streaming media page. (Heard the note when your loaded this page? Wake up MS, IE doesn't do this yet.) If two streaming media types are in separate windows (video in window one and audio in window two) displayed at once, there will be download problems unless you preplan for the situation where the expected bandwidth is considered when mastering the files by preplanning for only half of the available bandwidth for each file.

If we all had SAT, ISDN, ADSL, cable or, some other type of fast connection; streaming files would be a lot simpler. Because all of us don't have these connections, considerations have to be made regarding the file composition. The measurement factor is the expected working connection speed or bandwidth of your visitor and his modem. User modems, connecting line speeds and other problems of getting the bytes from the server to the users modem - through the line route are bandwidth factors in this equation. A decision has to be made where the weight of several properties have to be met to deliver the file in a format the site visitor will enjoy. These values are limited by the connection where for this example, say a visitor with a 28.8K modem is the expected visitor, connected to your server located in the same city as the browser and the data packets are routed through say, 5 systems. How much of the data packets will you give to the visual part? The audio part? The considerations you need to make regarding some aspects of your audio/visual file are (FILE TYPE=VISUAL QUALITY + AUDIO QUALITY) where the bandwidth and end connections are your constants say, dial up 14k, 28k or, 56k modem; ISDN or Cable Modems. Some factors are:

  • Size= the images, width and height.
  • Rate= Number of frames per second of the file being sent.
  • Quality= Image Clarity of each frame.
  • Depth= Color bit depth of the frames.

These values are then balanced against the sound quality of the file sent. Like the visual aspects of the file are considered when authoring a streaming file, sound bit depth and speed is premeasured and also set into the file. All this data, being sent at once, balanced to the expected connections from your server to the visitors browser. Basically, smoother motion or better picture quality; this balanced with the sound quality, to provide a file that will stream at your visitors modem and connection speed.

Like an animated gif, some streaming media types can be held in your visitors browsers cache so, when replayed, the file does not download a second time but plays from the users hard disk. This feature of the media lets a visitor connected with a 14K modem appreciate a file designed to stream at ISDN levels. But the file has to be replayed by your visitor to enjoy the quality. A problem with this though is that if the stream is broken, not completely downloaded and cached it may be difficult to reload the file. The broken file may play then stop at where it was broken. The fix would be to remove the file from the cache then reload the file. Not too easy.

Most of the links on this page use the same AVI file as a master. The individual files were developed for various connections. Try each file type to see the relative differences. The Vivo files are cached on your system so can be replayed smoothly because they are not being downloaded a second time. The Real Video file is set so that it is not cached. To be replayed they have to be downloaded again. This is a good feature. No cache problems and less copy problems. For advertising however, a cached copy maybe better.

Which file type is better? Vivo, Real Audio, Emblaze or Netshow? They each have their strengths and lack qualities of the other. These file types are widely supported. Real Audio is available as part of Netshow and can be downloaded from the Microsoft, Netshow site. I believe the Vivo encoder has components built into Microsoft Netshow. MS Netshow will be the most common streaming media type. Netshow is bundled with MS Internet Explorer. Vivo usually is auto installed, only once, into MS IE the first time the file is encountered on the WWW. Vivo is then ready to play .viv files whenever they are re-encountered. Netscape users are given the option to manually load the free plugin. Not difficult to do for most visitors to your site. Emblaze does not need a plugin installed in your visitors browser however, the browser has to download the 50-60k player at each new site it visits so, there is a time penalty when using the Emblaze file type.

Server load and bandwidth use for streaming files are subjects another site should cover in depth. However, it should be mentioned that these files use considerable resources so, some server systems and hard-wired areas may at times be over taxed by these files, if used considerably.

The button link is to the Spiced.Com Work Sheet where we will convert your (analog) standard audio and video tape to digital formats. Very reasonable rates.
Copyright © 1997 by
Background Graphic and animated gif is Copyright © 1997 by , all rights reserved.
Most recent revision January, 1997.
Multimedia file is Copyright © 1997 by Queens Hospital, Hawaii.