Video portals offer many options for online content delivery. Still, one of the first decisions to be taken is whether to make videos downloadable (HTTP PD) or available via a streaming video player.
- HTTP Progressive Download
- Flash Streaming (RTMP)
- Professional video hosting
- CDN operator services.
Selection of an optimum delivery option depends on many factors. On our website, you can find a plentitude of materials on the subject. As a starter, we advice you to read a post on video content delivery mechanisms. Also, we’d be happy to consult you on choosing an optimal architecture. HTTP PD installation is the cheapest option. Still it uses content caching which is an upside and downside of the technology at the same time. If you need to protect HTTP PD content, this may require costly content encryption. To fully solve the issue, several HTTP server plugins should be developed. One plugin helps to navigate the content to start playback from a specific point of time so that users do not have to download a video file from the beginning every time. Another important plugin should limit the transmitted video so that not to send the entire video file to the user just starting to watch the video. Implementing Flash Streaming based on Flash Media Servers involves quite costly licenses, but also offers many benefits to users and owners of the video portal. Let’s list the main arguments in favor of streaming from video portals:
- Significantly higher bandwidth efficiency
- Support of live broadcast and DVR (pause and rewind of online broadcast)
- Automatic bandwidth detection and dynamic streaming
- Quicker start of playback
- A common delivery system for different operating systems
- Interactive services on the broadcasting platform
- Better security and control of content distribution (RTMPE has been approved for Web distribution by major copyright holders)
- Flexible scalability without significant costs involved
- Built-in client application control (SWF Verification)
- Standard technology, ease of operation and support (as opposed to plugins)
- Flexible built-in analytics, reporting and API.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned benefits of Flash streaming, it is sometimes more cost-efficient to use HTTP PD. For general architecture of video portals and role of video content delivery in the solutions, see Solutions → Video portals.