Mon 9 Apr 2012
Mon 9 Apr 2012
Mon 8 Nov 2010
Guest post by John Youssef.
Recently, Ustream has changed the way they do advertisements. We were blessed enough to be able to use them for the amount of time we did, but this new changed prompted us to look for a more reliable and professional streaming provider. When considering a new provider we had several criteria in mind:
After considering several options, it was an easy decision to agree on Mediaserve as our new streaming provider. They offered several options that many other streaming providers do not offer, and they do it at an extremely affordable price. Their biggest advantage is that their streaming service is built on Wowza Media Server. This allows us to run a flash stream, and an iPhone stream simultaneously, as wowza automatically encodes into iPhone format in real time. Wowza also has the ability to encode using Microsoft Silverlight technology, but it is not something we are currently implementing at the moment.
At the time of registration, we were required to register a domain with Mediaserve, to use as our streaming hostname. We decided to go with the .net version of our current domain name for simplicity’s sake. The registration process was very simple and straightforward. Within a couple hours of registration they had everything setup for us, and had emailed us very detailed step by step instructions to get everything setup and running.
Everything is done through Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE). Once you download it and install, you simply need to follow the instructions emailed to you to get it properly configured. With Mediaserve’s setup, streaming is as fast as clicking start in FMLE. No more pesky browser windows to open like in Ustream’s setup. In order to get the iPhone streaming working properly, you need to purchase a third-party plugin to encode the sound in AAC format. We purchased ours from Mainconcept for a one-time fee of $249.
To setup the embedded stream window on your website, you need to download Flowplayer from Mediaserve’s download page. The free version of flowplayer has a small watermark in the top right hand corner and does not have any functionality in terms of customizing how the player window looks. Since we were changing everything around, we decided to purchase a commercial license for a one-time fee of $95. This allows you to remove the watermark, add one of your own, and completely customize how the player window looks and feels.
The iPhone streaming is done through your Ipod’s/iPhone’s built in video player. The only thing needed is to setup a piece of embedded code using the instructions Mediaserve provides in order to get it working properly.
I have to say, Mediaserve’s support was amazing through the whole setup process. They respond in an extremely timely manner, even on weekends, and their responses were always very polite and helpful. They made the setup process a breeze, and answered any questions I threw their way.
Now I know the last thing you all want to know is the price. They offer two payment options. You can choose to pay a monthly fee of $39.95, or if you pay annually, the monthly fee is reduced to $30.95 a month. We decided to go the annual route since it was a savings of over $100 annually. This price includes 30gb of storage space, and 300gb of monthly bandwidth. This price also comes standard with 100 simultaneous connections. You do have the option to upgrade the number of connections on a per-need basis, but the only time we feel that we would need to do that would be during Holy Week when our number of viewers more than doubles. Other than that 100 is more than sufficient for our needs (for now anyway!) All in all, for the amount of features they include, and their price, and level of service, I would highly recommend checking out what they have to offer. We’ve gotten nothing but compliments since we made the switch.
Fri 16 Jan 2009
On Wednesday, Google announced they will be no longer allowing uploads to their Google Video service. Google invites you to use YouTube or Picasa, but the issue for churches is that sermons often exceed the 10 minute cap on video length. There are several competitors on the market that allow free uploads of any length video (although they still have file size limits). They all have “premium” accounts available as well.
Who do you use for your video hosting?
Fri 28 Nov 2008
Fri 20 Jun 2008
Our favorite card for video encoding is the ViewCast Osprey-100, we have been using it with Windows Media Encoder for years. Recently, we began testing live streaming with Ustream.TV which uses Adobe’s Flash technology for streaming. Their simple encoding client does not allow you to select which input on the Osprey-100 to use. To get around this, fire up the free Windows Media Encoder or the free Flash Media Encoder 2.5 and use it to select the input you want. Once selected, Ustream’s app will see the same input.
Sat 7 Jun 2008
With high speed Internet connections and relatively cheap webcams, multi user video conferencing is now a reality for almost any group or organization. Several companies have hopped on to this bandwagon offering free or low cost software solutions that allow you to host online meetings or classes with ease. We recently did a quick evaluation on the following three options (thanks to #citrt for helping out with the initial eval):
Our initial testing showed ooVoo with the best video quality and interface (no hard data, just our opinion), plus video recording and six users for $10/month it is a pretty sweet deal. We put ooVoo into production a week ago and began using it for a clergy seminar. Results came back overwhelmingly positive from all those who attended. The only issue is that 6 simultaneous users may not be enough, so we’ll have to make the jump to MeBeam or just go one way (for the larger meetings) with Ustream.TV.
Fri 6 Jun 2008
We are testing out live streaming our church with Ustream.TV. If it goes well, we will offer it along with the windows media stream for our main feed from the sanctuary.
Sun 20 Apr 2008
Testing out Neokast to push a 887 kbps live video stream (640×480 24 fps). Seems to be working pretty well, only downsides are that it is Windows only and requires a plugin. We had around 25 users on it earlier today with no major hiccups.
Further reading: Bob Cringley – The $7 TV Network: Neokast brings multicasting to the masses.
Tue 15 May 2007
Our beta testing with Neokast is going well. We are now running a 640×480 29.97 fps stream at 732 Kbps. We will continue testing at this rate for the for another week and see how it goes. If you would like to check it out, tune in to the bible study tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7pm EST.
Update: We were having issues at 732 Kpbs so we are trying out a 548 Kbps 640×480 24 fps stream tonight.
Fri 4 May 2007
Shortly after posting Serving up Live Streaming Video, I got an email from Neokast asking if I would like to experiment with their platform. I jumped at the opportunity and they got me setup in no time.
Neokast connected directly to my existing Windows Media publishing point and listed me on their site (still in beta). I tested out the stream this morning and it was up and running. Neokast then proceeded to send me the code that allows me to embed their player directly on our site. Embedding the code was pretty straight forward, and the player integrated cleanly. You can also double click on the player to go full screen.
I am running a limited access test this weekend before opening it up to the public. If you would like to be in on the test just comment below.
Neokast currently requires Windows XP and administrator rights to install the plugin. The plugin does install all the dependencies but it can be a little tricky for the novice to navigate. I had my mom install the plugin, it took about 20 minutes with me guiding her on the phone. Neokast said they will get me detailed instructions and FAQs soon.
If all goes well this weekend with the test, we will setup an in house Windows Media server that will service our internal clients and will also provide a higher quality stream for Neokast to pick up and share. Don’t worry, we will also keep our existing setup for those who can’t install the plugin.