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ION Resources - Streaming Media:

How the Technology Works



A brief discussion of the steps involved

Record an audio clip that you would like to use in your course. You can read about the hardware and software required for this step. Audio clips recorded on Windows platform computers are often captured in the .wav format. They are often referred to as .wav files.

Convert your audio clips to streaming format. There exists a variety of software to perform the conversion. The RealTechnology software that that converts media files from native to streaming format is called an Encoder.

RealTechnology produces three Encoders. There is a product for everyone.

Real Producer is the most basic tool. It is free and a good place to begin if you are new to this area. Using Real Producer will be discussed in detail.

Real Producer Plus and Real Producer Pro have more features, but they are not free. You can look at a comparison chart of the three Encoders.

You can also use the Shareware program Cool Edit96 to open a .wav file and encode it to produce a file in the RealMedia format.

Create a web page that plays the streaming audio or video. If you are using Real Producer, a wizard will help you through the steps associated with creating a web page that plays your media clip.

Publish your web page to a server. You would place the web page with a link to an audio file in the directory for your course. However, the audio clip itself may reside in a different directory or maybe on a different server. Where the media clips reside depends on where your College RealServer software is installed. You will probably need to ask your system administrator about where the media clips should be located.

What is the Function of the RealServer Software?

You do not need to read the explanation below unless you really want to know how it all works!

Reference the diagram below as how the components needed to stream media are explained. If you are interested in more details, or plan to administer RealServer, you should read the RealNetworks RealServer Administration Guide.

1. A student visits your course with a web browser and clicks on a link that you have created to the streaming audio and video of a lecture. The link is to streaming media files that are stored on a RealServer.

2. The RealServer receives a request for the streaming media of the lecture from your student creates a small file called a metafile. RealServer sends that small file to your student's browser.

3. The student's browser receives the metafile and transfers it to the RealPlayer software. The metafile contains the address of the location of the streaming media file that the student wants to play.

4. RealPlayer reads the address of the media file contained in the metafile and requests that file from the RealServer.

5. The RealServer streams the media file directly to the RealPlayer where it is played for the student.





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