Mastering Internet Video: A Guide to Streaming and On Demand Video

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Overview

All you need to master preparing, capturing, compressing, securing, and delivering Internet video

Finally, there's a start-to-finish guide to Internet video for everyone who needs to understand it: Web professionals, managers, software developers, marketers, and hobbyists, even investors. Mastering Internet Video brings together clear, coherent coverage of every key issue: compression, formats, standards, servers, software, hardware, networking, multicasting, digital rights management, video editing—even troubleshooting. Damien Stolarz offers both conceptual and practical information, as well as coverage of all leading formats and platforms. Best of all, he presents easy-to-use, step-by-step solutions for each of today's most common Internet video usage scenarios. Coverage includes

  • Comprehensive conceptual coverage of capturing, preparing, and deploying video on the Internet
  • A practical guide to video compression—including expert help with performance and quality tradeoffs
  • Objective information for evaluating streaming servers, software, and hardware—including solutions from Microsoft, Real, Apple, Macromedia, and others
  • How networks and the Internet handle video data—including the challenges of real-time data delivery

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321122469
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 8/4/2004
  • Pages: 477
  • Sales rank: 1,196,746
  • Product dimensions: 6.91 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Mastering Internet Video: A Guide to Streaming and On-Demand Video About the Author

Damien is an entrepreneur with 15 years of experience making computers talk to each other. He cofounded static.com (also known as Blue Falcon Networks, which is now akimbo.com) in 1995, where in his long tenure as Chief Tech-nology Officer, he led the development of numerous technologies including an online service, networked multiplayer games, and peer-to-peer cost-reduction software for video streaming. In 2002, he started Robot Army Corporation (http://www.robotarmy.com), a software consultancy and R&D house, which continues to develop large-scale media delivery software among other secret projects. In 2004, Robot Army spun off Carbot, Inc. (http://www.carbotpc.com), which designs and manufactures in-car entertainment of computers. Damien holds a bachelor or science degree in computer science/engineering from UCLA.

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Read an Excerpt

Mastering Internet Video: A Guide to Streaming and On-Demand VideoIntroductionGoals of This Book

This book has the primary (and ambitious) goal of making Internet video understandable to anyone, through a carefully planned, complete, and entertaining sequence of definitions and illustrations.

Perhaps Internet video will eventually be easier to understand, well explained in a tidy package that protects the new student from all the gory details. Right now, the beginner who tries to dissect the marketing claims made by a variety of vendors finds himself quickly put to sleep by technical explanations in almost any direction he looks. In this book, we attempt to arm the reader with sufficient weaponry—by providing both a strong conceptual under-standing and a high-level technical understanding—to confront these gory details head-on.

In addition, we intend for this book to be the basic text on the core technology of Internet video. That's a daunting task for any work with "Internet" in the title, but through our disciplined avoidance of many brand names, fleeting product lines, and easily dated technologies—and a focus on the unchanging fundamentals of these fields—Mastering Internet Video should stand as an accurate description of the basics of Internet video for years to come.

This is not a tutorial book. We won't walk you through the dialog boxes or tell you which buttons to push. Rather, our goal is to educate you well enough so that you know what all the options in the dialogs mean and what steps to take when you're unhappy with your initial results.

Although there are many fine books oncompression, networking, and video editing, this is, we believe, the first book that pulls together all these disciplines into a single coherent picture of Internet video from beginning to end. Who This Book Is For

Our aim with Mastering Internet Video is to create a book that works for all the disparate specialists involved in the whole process.

For the website designer or web developer, it aims to be compelling page-turner—a picture book that can be read cover to cover in a few sittings, which comfortably conveys a thorough mechanical understanding of getting video online.

For the technical manager, it aims to convey a deep conceptual understanding of every knowledge domain relevant to Internet video, so that business decisions can be readily made without having to constantly defer to experts.

For the venture capitalist, it aims to provide an instant mastery of a broad array of technical fields, enabling them to make more insightful decisions on where their markets of interest are headed.

For the technology hobbyist, it aims to be an entertaining look inside Internet video, showing how it really works and providing a deep well of insight for intelligent cocktail party banter.

For programmers and software engineers, this book aims to convey a complete, accessible grounding in all the relevant technologies of video delivery over TCP/IP networks. The hard-won collection of data in this book usually takes years to accumulate, and most of the books in the market do not attempt to give a complete picture of the art and science of Internet video.

Last, but not least, this book is for the people deep in the trenches: the system administrators and people tasked with keeping large-scale Internet video services up and running while constantly improving performance, broadening their scale, and adding large amounts of new content on an almost daily basis.Organization of This Book

Following is an outline of the book's content. As you can see, the first seven chapters of this book walk sequentially through the steps involved in making video available on the Internet. The final chapter discusses Internet video standards.

-Chapter 1, "Video Preparation and Capture," describes the process and technology of preparing and capturing the video (getting high-quality video into the computer in a digital form).

-Chapter 2, "Video Compression," explains video compression, the methods of making video files (which are very large) small enough to work with and deliver over the Internet.

-Chapter 3, "Video Storage File Formats," describes the many different file formats in which video is stored on a computer and their different uses.

-Chapter 4, "Streaming Media Server Software," describes streaming servers, software, and hardware that is better suited for delivering real-time video data over the Internet than web servers.

-Chapter 5, "Video Transport Protocols," describes video transport protocols, the languages spoken between computers when transporting video data over a network, such as the Internet. This chapter also gives an excellent tutorial on how the Internet works (and doesn't work) for real-time data delivery.

-Chapter 6, "Enterprise Multicast," describes enterprise multicasting, the highly efficient video transport protocol that most closely approximates traditional television broadcasting and that is used more in the corporate environment than within the Internet at large.

-Chapter 7, "Video Security and Digital Rights Management (DRM)," describes the technology behind Digital Rights Management, the tech-nologies used by content owners to control how Internet video is used by its audience.

-Chapter 8, "Internet Video Standards," describes Internet video standards in general.

-Appendix A, "A Quick List of Problems and Concise Solutions," offers a toolbox of solutions to the routine problems encountered in the process of setting up Internet video. The chapter also outlines many specific scenarios in which people want to use Internet video and offers several potential approaches to their implementation.

-Appendix B, "The MPEG-4 Standard," discusses in more detail the MPEG-4 standard.

Word Problems

In the process of writing this book, the heaviest emphasis was on defining everything in an easily readable way. Each technical term is defined when it is first used.

Internet video, as a subject, presents a particularly steep learning curve for many people. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • It contains technical terms from many different fields.

  • It is explained with poorly named, easily misunderstood, or the incorrect terms.

  • It is clouded by marketing buzzwords that have little real meaning.

Technical Terms from Too Many Different Fields

As a discipline, Internet video borrows words and concepts from many different fields. Most "mature" subjects like math or physics have only one set of technical terms that you have to learn. In trying to understand Internet video, however, you instantly encounter sophisticated terminology from the fields of electronics, physics, video production, television broadcasting, telecommunications, encryption, data compression, computer networking and Internet, and computer programming.

To address this problem, we've attempted to define every word in these fields with a straightforward, conceptual definition and a comprehensible explanation. Counterintuitive Naming

In addition to the problem of too many technical terms, there is simply bad naming of terms. Professionals in the originating fields admit that the words have always been confusing, or that they should be renamed, but "that's what we've always called it." Sometimes the terms were invented by technicians who were already confused, and their misuse is continued as a matter of tradition.

To address this problem, we've attempted not only to define these terms, but also to point out when they are poorly named, and to reiterate the explanations several different ways to explain them clearly and thoroughly. We've done our best, however, not to introduce new terms, as there has been enough confusion already.Buzzword Overload

Another major challenge to understanding Internet video is misleading marketing-speak. Examples abound in subjects like digital rights manage-ment and content control (where no truly foolproof system exists). The urge to stand out from competitors results in different cool-sounding buzzwords for the exact same technologies. Potential consumers of the technology thus have very little information on which to base their decisions. They can read low-level technical discussions, which makes all the technologies sound like the same gibberish, or they can study marketing buzz-speak designed to make nearly identical approaches sound unique and better than the rest. In truth, many technology vendors use similar systems and make minor compromises and enhancements to make their systems unique. How This Book Is Written

This book was written with the following strategies in mind:

  • Define each term used.

  • Illustrate as much as possible.

  • Eliminate unnecessary detail.

  • Use analogies to illustrate concepts.

  • Explain everything.

  • Start light, and then go technically deep.

  • Don't be overawed by technology.

  • Stay interesting!

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Video Preparation and Capture.

Video Basics.

Frame Rate.

Flicker.

Television Video Versus Film.

Interlaced and Progressive Video Tradeoffs.

Film-to-Video Conversion.

Film-to-Video-to-Film Conversion.

Frame Shape (Aspect Ratio).

Analog Versus Digital.

Analog-to-Digital (A/D) Conversion.

Resolution.

Scan Lines (Vertical Resolution).

Lines of Horizontal Resolution.

Higher and Lower Resolution Sources.

Color Resolution.

Connectors and Image Quality.

Rectangular Pixels and Non-Square Projection.

Television.

Film.

Broadcast Standards.

Video Basics Summary.

Capturing Video.

Digital Tape Formats.

Digital Video Cameras.

Film Formats.

Analog Tape Formats and Cameras.

Analog Capture.

Computer Graphics.

Creating New Internet Video Content.

Audience Internet Connection.

Shooting.

Editing.

Summary.

2. Video Compression.

Compression: How Much Is Bad?

What Codec Should I Use?

The Decision-Making Process.

Delivery Method.

Bandwidth Target.

Player Choice.

Codec/Format.

Encoding Systems.

Basic Settings.

Balancing Audio and Video Bit Rates.

Codecs.

Frame Rate.

Video Size.

Quality.

Advanced Settings.

Quality-Based Versus Bit Rate-Based Compression.

Constant Bit Rate (CBR).

Variable Bit Rate (VBR).

1-Pass and 2-Pass Encoding.

Key Frames.

Frame Dropping.

Bandwidth Scalability.

A Brief History of Internet Codecs.

Early 1980s: DAT and CD Audio.

1984: Macintosh Audio.

Mid-1980s: GIF.

Mid-1980s: Amiga MOD and MIDI .

Late 1980s: Videoconferencing and H.261.

Early 1990s: JPEG.

Early 1990s: QuickTime.

Early 1990s: Cinepak.

1991: MPEG-1.

1995: H.263 and MPEG-2.

1996: Sorenson.

1996 to the Present: MP3.

1997 to the Present: Commercial Efforts.

1997 to the Present: Macromedia Flash.

1998: Quake.

2000: Scalable Codecs.

Present: MPEG-4.

Video Compression: Under the Hood.

Spatial Compression: JPEG.

Step 1: Color Space Transform.

Step 2: Downsampling.

Step 3: Frequency Transform.

Step 4: Quantization.

Step 5: Output.

Temporal Compression: MPEG.

Recommending a Codec for Your Content.

Summary.

3. Video Storage File Formats.

An Ideal File Format for Video Storage.

Requirements of Internet Video File Formats.

Store Compressed Audio/Video.

Efficient Playback.

Efficient Scrubbing.

Efficient Seeking.

Defining Codecs.

Other Header Information: Metadata.

Non-Video Content.

Multiple Bit Rates.

Protecting Files Against Unauthorized Use.

Video Editing.

Checking File Integrity.

Packetization.

Common Internet File Formats.

Internet Video Container File Formats.

Simple Raw or Stream Video Formats.

Internet Playlist, Index, and Scripting Formats.

File Formats Versus Codecs: “How Do I Play Back an AVI?”

A Brief History of File Formats.

Apple’s QuickTime: MOV Files (.MOV).

Audio-Video Interleaved: AVI Files (.AVI).

MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 (.MPG, .MPEG, .DAT, and .VOB).

Progressive Networks: Real Audio and RealVideo (.RA, .RM, and .RAM).

Advanced Streaming Format and Windows Media Format (.WMV, .WMA, .WMX, .ASF).

DivX: A De Facto Standard.

Shockwave/Flash (.SWF, .FLA, .FLV).

Simple Multimedia Integration Language: SMIL (.SML, .SMIL).

MPEG-4 (.MPG, .MP4).

Common Features.

Under the Hood.

Summary.

4. Streaming Media Server Software.

Types of Internet Media Delivery: Streaming Versus Downloading.

Streaming Thoroughly Defined.

Internet Streaming Servers.

Television Experience: Broadcast or Live Video.

“Live” Video.

Video on Demand (VoD).

Instant Gratification: Network Condition and Bandwidth Awareness.

Real-Time Viewing.

Time Awareness and Real-Time Delivery.

Throttling Down for Narrow Pipes or Clogged Connections.

Faster Stream Starting.

ForwardError Correction.

Content Tracking.

User Experience Tracking.

Better Logging.

Third-Party Verification and Reporting.

Advertisements.

Better Tracking Than Offline Advertising.

Ad Syndication.

Regional Advertising.

Content Control.

Keeping the Content on the Server.

Digital Rights Management.

Controlling Access: Restricting Viewership to Permitted Viewers.

Region Restriction.

Billing Integration.

Scalability and Fault Tolerance.

Reality of Scale.

Hierarchical Server Arrangements: Live Broadcast.

Caching Server Hierarchies.

Content Delivery Networks.

Limiting Bandwidth Use.

Streaming Server Drawbacks.

Youth.

Unstable Terminology.

Pseudo-Interoperability.

Expense.

Technology Maintenance and Updates.

Three Times the Headaches.

Missing Features.

Summary.

5. Video Transport Protocols.

How Video Travels Across the Internet.

Radio.

Television.

Telephone.

Internet Basics.

The Internet Backbone.

Public Exchange Points.

Peering.

Private Peering.

Internet Complexity.

Packet Loss.

Different Routes.

Delay (Latency).

Bandwidth Variation.

Scalable Media Transmission.

Multicast.

Content Delivery Networks.

Distributed or Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Networking.

Network Layers: A Brief Primer on Internet Protocols (and Relevant Acronyms).

Physical Layer.

DataLink Layer.

Network Layer.

Transport Layer.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

Application Layer.

Streaming Protocols.

Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP).

Microsoft Media Server Protocol (MMS).

Shoutcast/Icecast Protocol (ICY).

Streaming Through Firewalls.

Summary.

6. Enterprise Multicast.

Multicast Simplified.

Example: CEO Video Broadcast.

Example: Stock Ticker.

Multicast Concepts.

Bandwidth Control.

Assumptions Made.

Multicast Complicated.

Multicast.

Group Membership.

Multicast Addresses.

Creating an Efficient Tree.

Source, Group (S,G) Combinations.

Multiple Sources Versus Single Source.

Different Multicast Algorithms.

Dense Mode.

Sparse Mode.

Internet Protocol Version 6.

Multimedia Backbone.

Routers and Switches.

Quality of Service.

Reliable Multicast.

Multicast Summarized.

7. Video Security and Digital Rights Management (DRM).

The Hope of Digital Rights Management.

A Tale of Two Consumers…or How to Feel Like You Are Protecting Content When You Are Not.

DRM Conceptual Ingredients.

The MP3 Experience.

Under the DRM Hood: Encryption Technology.

Encryption Overview.

Using Encryption in DRM.

How DRM Is Compromised.

Encryption Concepts.

Simple Encryption Algorithm.

Tools in the Encryption Toolbox.

One-Time Pad.

Symmetric Encryption.

Asymmetric Encryption.

Hashing: One-Way Encryption.

Key Management and Revocation.

Digital Signatures.

Certificate (Key) Authorities.

Updatability.

Combining It All.

Truly Effective DRM.

Hardware Solutions.

Guidelines for Effective DRM.

“Safe” Online Distribution Models.

Summary.

8. Internet Video Standards.

A Nonstandard World.

The Two Types of Standards.

The Browser Wars.

Standards Organizations Relevant to Internet Video.

General Purpose Standards Organizations.

Internet Standards Organizations.

Video Standards Organizations: MPEG.

More Video Standards Organizations.

Creating MPEG Standards.

Future-Proofing.

Some Final Notes.

Appendix A. Quick List of Problems and Concise Solutions.

Appendix B. The MPEG-4 Standard.

Glossary.

Mastering Internet Video Web Bibliography.

Index.

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Preface

Mastering Internet Video: A Guide to Streaming and On-Demand Video

Introduction

Goals of This Book

This book has the primary (and ambitious) goal of making Internet video understandable to anyone, through a carefully planned, complete, and entertaining sequence of definitions and illustrations.

Perhaps Internet video will eventually be easier to understand, well explained in a tidy package that protects the new student from all the gory details. Right now, the beginner who tries to dissect the marketing claims made by a variety of vendors finds himself quickly put to sleep by technical explanations in almost any direction he looks. In this book, we attempt to arm the reader with sufficient weaponry—by providing both a strong conceptual under-standing and a high-level technical understanding—to confront these gory details head-on.

In addition, we intend for this book to be the basic text on the core technology of Internet video. That's a daunting task for any work with "Internet" in the title, but through our disciplined avoidance of many brand names, fleeting product lines, and easily dated technologies—and a focus on the unchanging fundamentals of these fields—Mastering Internet Video should stand as an accurate description of the basics of Internet video for years to come.

This is not a tutorial book. We won't walk you through the dialog boxes or tell you which buttons to push. Rather, our goal is to educate you well enough so that you know what all the options in the dialogs mean and what steps to take when you're unhappy with your initial results.

Although there are many fine books on compression, networking, and video editing, this is, we believe, the first book that pulls together all these disciplines into a single coherent picture of Internet video from beginning to end.

Who This Book Is For

Our aim with Mastering Internet Video is to create a book that works for all the disparate specialists involved in the whole process.

For the website designer or web developer, it aims to be compelling page-turner—a picture book that can be read cover to cover in a few sittings, which comfortably conveys a thorough mechanical understanding of getting video online.

For the technical manager, it aims to convey a deep conceptual understanding of every knowledge domain relevant to Internet video, so that business decisions can be readily made without having to constantly defer to experts.

For the venture capitalist, it aims to provide an instant mastery of a broad array of technical fields, enabling them to make more insightful decisions on where their markets of interest are headed.

For the technology hobbyist, it aims to be an entertaining look inside Internet video, showing how it really works and providing a deep well of insight for intelligent cocktail party banter.

For programmers and software engineers, this book aims to convey a complete, accessible grounding in all the relevant technologies of video delivery over TCP/IP networks. The hard-won collection of data in this book usually takes years to accumulate, and most of the books in the market do not attempt to give a complete picture of the art and science of Internet video.

Last, but not least, this book is for the people deep in the trenches: the system administrators and people tasked with keeping large-scale Internet video services up and running while constantly improving performance, broadening their scale, and adding large amounts of new content on an almost daily basis.

Organization of This Book

Following is an outline of the book's content. As you can see, the first seven chapters of this book walk sequentially through the steps involved in making video available on the Internet. The final chapter discusses Internet video standards.

-Chapter 1, "Video Preparation and Capture," describes the process and technology of preparing and capturing the video (getting high-quality video into the computer in a digital form).

-Chapter 2, "Video Compression," explains video compression, the methods of making video files (which are very large) small enough to work with and deliver over the Internet.

-Chapter 3, "Video Storage File Formats," describes the many different file formats in which video is stored on a computer and their different uses.

-Chapter 4, "Streaming Media Server Software," describes streaming servers, software, and hardware that is better suited for delivering real-time video data over the Internet than web servers.

-Chapter 5, "Video Transport Protocols," describes video transport protocols, the languages spoken between computers when transporting video data over a network, such as the Internet. This chapter also gives an excellent tutorial on how the Internet works (and doesn't work) for real-time data delivery.

-Chapter 6, "Enterprise Multicast," describes enterprise multicasting, the highly efficient video transport protocol that most closely approximates traditional television broadcasting and that is used more in the corporate environment than within the Internet at large.

-Chapter 7, "Video Security and Digital Rights Management (DRM)," describes the technology behind Digital Rights Management, the tech-nologies used by content owners to control how Internet video is used by its audience.

-Chapter 8, "Internet Video Standards," describes Internet video standards in general.

-Appendix A, "A Quick List of Problems and Concise Solutions," offers a toolbox of solutions to the routine problems encountered in the process of setting up Internet video. The chapter also outlines many specific scenarios in which people want to use Internet video and offers several potential approaches to their implementation.

-Appendix B, "The MPEG-4 Standard," discusses in more detail the MPEG-4 standard.

Word Problems

In the process of writing this book, the heaviest emphasis was on defining everything in an easily readable way. Each technical term is defined when it is first used.

Internet video, as a subject, presents a particularly steep learning curve for many people. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • It contains technical terms from many different fields.
  • It is explained with poorly named, easily misunderstood, or the incorrect terms.
  • It is clouded by marketing buzzwords that have little real meaning.

Technical Terms from Too Many Different Fields

As a discipline, Internet video borrows words and concepts from many different fields. Most "mature" subjects like math or physics have only one set of technical terms that you have to learn. In trying to understand Internet video, however, you instantly encounter sophisticated terminology from the fields of electronics, physics, video production, television broadcasting, telecommunications, encryption, data compression, computer networking and Internet, and computer programming.

To address this problem, we've attempted to define every word in these fields with a straightforward, conceptual definition and a comprehensible explanation.

Counterintuitive Naming

In addition to the problem of too many technical terms, there is simply bad naming of terms. Professionals in the originating fields admit that the words have always been confusing, or that they should be renamed, but "that's what we've always called it." Sometimes the terms were invented by technicians who were already confused, and their misuse is continued as a matter of tradition.

To address this problem, we've attempted not only to define these terms, but also to point out when they are poorly named, and to reiterate the explanations several different ways to explain them clearly and thoroughly. We've done our best, however, not to introduce new terms, as there has been enough confusion already.

Buzzword Overload

Another major challenge to understanding Internet video is misleading marketing-speak. Examples abound in subjects like digital rights manage-ment and content control (where no truly foolproof system exists). The urge to stand out from competitors results in different cool-sounding buzzwords for the exact same technologies. Potential consumers of the technology thus have very little information on which to base their decisions. They can read low-level technical discussions, which makes all the technologies sound like the same gibberish, or they can study marketing buzz-speak designed to make nearly identical approaches sound unique and better than the rest. In truth, many technology vendors use similar systems and make minor compromises and enhancements to make their systems unique.

How This Book Is Written

This book was written with the following strategies in mind:

  • Define each term used.
  • Illustrate as much as possible.
  • Eliminate unnecessary detail.
  • Use analogies to illustrate concepts.
  • Explain everything.
  • Start light, and then go technically deep.
  • Don't be overawed by technology.
  • Stay interesting!
Read More Show Less

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