Coffeehouse Thread

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Why host streaming videos?

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  • User profile image
    Bas

    Often, when I try to watch an instructional video on a Microsoft website, it's some sort of streaming .asx affair. 3 out of 4 times, these videos are completely unwatchable for me. They either start buffering after every 5 seconds of video, eventually resulting in a frozen image but running audio, or they just play a couple of seconds and freeze at "Buffering: 8%" or something.

    Take this Robotics Studio tutorial. After a full minute of loading, the only part I've heard so far is "Hi, my name is George Chrysanthakop-". It simply refuses to play any further.

    Keynote videos suffer from the same problem. So did the XNA videos from Gamefest. Heck, until the Silverlight player arrived on C9, I wasn't able to watch any videos unless I downloaded them first.

    And there's the deal: why can't I download these videos? The RS videos are tutorials. Why should I only be able to watch this on the website itself? Besides, I may want to watch them again for reference a couple of time. Every time I do, I have to hit MS's (ad-less) server and suck up their bandwidth.

    I must be missing a distinct advantage of hosting streaming videos over offering a downloadable version. What's the rationalisation behind all this?

  • User profile image
    mcampbell

    Yes I HATE this. It sometimes happens with C9 videos, but mostly on  other MS videos. I protest for a .wmv file with every .asx link.

  • User profile image
    mcampbell

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Bas wrote:
    And there's the deal: why can't I download these videos? The RS videos are tutorials. Why should I only be able to watch this on the website itself? Besides, I may want to watch them again for reference a couple of time. Every time I do, I have to hit MS's (ad-less) server and suck up their bandwidth.


    SDP Downloader.


    If the video wouldn't stream in the first place, what would make this program get it?

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    PerfectPhase wrote:
    Instant start and seek with an optimised stream for your bandwith.  The other thing is that as .asx are playlists it lets the video flick between 320x240 for the talking head and 640x360 for the screen capture in this case without wasting bandwith encoding the head at higher res or downscaling the screen cast.

    Only works when the content producers can be arsed to produce versions at different bitrates. They rarely do. Open any *.asx file and you'll often find only one media entry.


    MBR encoded files are encoded into a single file and the mms sever sorts out which stream to send you, so single entry in the .asx

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    Content control?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Bas wrote:
    And there's the deal: why can't I download these videos? The RS videos are tutorials. Why should I only be able to watch this on the website itself? Besides, I may want to watch them again for reference a couple of time. Every time I do, I have to hit MS's (ad-less) server and suck up their bandwidth.


    SDP Downloader.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    GoddersUK wrote:
    Content control?


    Why?

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Bas wrote:
    
    GoddersUK wrote:
    Content control?


    Why?

    Beats me.

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    Bas wrote:
    
    GoddersUK wrote:
    Content control?


    Why?


    Makes it harder for people to take your video and claim it as their own.

    (perhaps not relevant to your particular example but I could imagine it being done with say c9 vids (goes back to the watermarking debate).)

  • User profile image
    Bas

    GoddersUK wrote:
    Makes it harder for people to take your video and claim it as their own.


    That's my point, that's not an issue with tutorials. I can see why you'd want to restrict people to only watch certain videos via your own site, but free tutorials? Keynotes? It's a hassle, and a lose/lose situation for both me as a viewer and Microsoft as a provider.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    Bas wrote:

    I must be missing a distinct advantage of hosting streaming videos over offering a downloadable version. What's the rationalisation behind all this?


    Instant start and seek with an optimised stream for your bandwith.  The other thing is that as .asx are playlists it lets the video flick between 320x240 for the talking head and 640x360 for the screen capture in this case without wasting bandwith encoding the head at higher res or downscaling the screen cast. 

    Well that's the idea, works very well here for me.  Sould really have a download link as well though for those that wish to watch offline. 

    BTW I like the way the page is laid out.  

  • User profile image
    Bas

    PerfectPhase wrote:
    Instant start and seek with an optimised stream for your bandwith.  The other thing is that as .asx are playlists it lets the video flick between 320x240 for the talking head and 640x360 for the screen capture in this case without wasting bandwith encoding the head at higher res or downscaling the screen cast. 


    Good point, I didn't consider that. Odd that it seems to be working over there, I left it running in another tab and started playing Half-Life on another PC, then when I came back an hour later it suddenly started playing. For four seconds.

    Maybe I'll e-mail the RS team. Is everybody able to see it just fine?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    PerfectPhase wrote:
    Instant start and seek with an optimised stream for your bandwith.  The other thing is that as .asx are playlists it lets the video flick between 320x240 for the talking head and 640x360 for the screen capture in this case without wasting bandwith encoding the head at higher res or downscaling the screen cast.


    Only works when the content producers can be arsed to produce versions at different bitrates. They rarely do. Open any *.asx file and you'll often find only one media entry.

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