The History of Streaming

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Streaming is the process of distributing a piece of media over the Internet. Currently, there are many different platforms available. Some are more popular than others, and some are more niche. The differences between them are sometimes distinct. Therefore, it would be premature to discount anyone. The differences between the streaming platforms are constantly evolving.

RealNetworks

RealNetworks is a company that has made streaming media possible since the mid-90s. The company was founded by former Microsoft executive Rob Glaser, who envisioned creating a platform for politically progressive content. He later turned it into a technology company, and by 1997, RealNetworks had become a well-known name in the streaming media industry. On September 5, 1995, RealNetworks broadcasted its first audio event over the Internet, and in 1997, it launched the first streaming video technology.

In 1998, RealNetworks had more than two million users, and its sales reached $131 million in the same year. In 1999, the company recorded a $7 million profit. This positioned the company as the dominant player in the $900 million streaming media industry. As of 2012, RealNetworks’ technology was responsible for more than eighty percent of all streaming content on the Internet.

RealNetworks changed its business model and source of revenue in 2002. In December 2001, the company launched a content subscription service called RealOne. Within a month, the company had more than 500,000 paying subscribers. The company also launched a video ecosystem and a new version of RealVideo.

Microsoft

Streaming is the process of sending multimedia content from one device to another. Originally, streaming was a niche market, but with the emergence of smartphones and computers, the streaming medium has become an important market. The development of streaming technology has facilitated the development of new applications and platforms, including video games.

Microsoft began the development of streaming technology in the early 2000s. The company made its name in the video-tape rental business but soon began experimenting with streaming media over the Internet. In 2007, it introduced HTTP-based adaptive streaming. The technology had its challenges, including buffering, but it was a success.

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The company also restructured its work culture to accommodate new technologies, focusing on collaboration. Initially, Microsoft employed a hierarchical organizational structure, which made the flow of information in the company difficult. The company had a stacked ranking structure, and managers rated employees on a bell-curve scale. As a result, developers and engineers had a greater incentive to compete and collaborate.

Flash was a prime example of this. The company was the first company to embrace HTTP-based streaming technology. In the early 2000s, Flash dominated the streaming market, and Apple followed with iTunes for Windows. The company also introduced HTTP-based streaming (HLS) protocol, which is now used by Apple devices. Flash, however, is still the dominant video streaming technology.

Adobe

In the early days of streaming video, Adobe was known for its video software. It was also known for its video editing tools. Today, the company has developed a suite of video editing software that offers professional tools for creating and sharing video content. Adobe’s video software also helps media companies to build, publish, and distribute videos.

Its streaming software also enables developers to create high-quality videos. However, if you’re using a different platform to create video content, you might infringe on Adobe’s patents. Adobe’s patents cover many other technologies, and the company wants to ensure that its products are as accessible as possible.

Adobe argues that Wowza infringes on its patents through RTMP Enhanced. But the software’s inventors say that the new protocol is not identical to RTMP. The difference is that it uses encryption. So how can Adobe prove that its software infringes on the RTMP Enhanced protocol?

Progressive Networks

While Progressive Networks is considered the pioneer of streaming media, other companies tried the technology. Other companies were already working on streaming platforms, such as Xing. Xing released its streaming platform, StreamWorks, in late 1995, a little more than two years after Progressive Networks launched its own.

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In September 1995, Progressive Networks was the first to stream a major sporting event. The broadcast featured a game between the Yankees and Mariners, and it was the first major live sports broadcast on the Internet. This innovation helped lay the foundation for the broad adoption of audio and video streaming.

This partnership between Progressive Networks and the Seattle Mariners brought baseball to the Internet for the first time. The games would be streamed over the Internet via the company’s RealAudio technology. This would allow baseball fans to watch games from the comfort of their homes without sacrificing other activities.

As streaming media technology became a significant business, specialized software was needed to support the technology. Companies such as Microsoft and RealNetworks began developing streaming media platforms. Initially, streaming media was limited to low-bit-rate audio streaming, but it was now applied to video-centric applications and high-bandwidth (100kbps) networks.

Severe Tire Damage

In the early 1990s, a band known as Severe Tire Damage broadcast their first live show from a digital systems research center in Palo Alto, California. The band billed themselves as the opening act for StoneCast. Because the Internet was unsecure, nobody knew that the band was live-streaming. As a result, media coverage of the show referred to Severe Tire Damage as a “lesser-known” band.

Severe Tire Damage was the first band to be live-streamed on the Internet. The band first began multicasting their live shows onto the Internet’s IP multicast backbone in 1993. The band even opened for the Rolling Stones during one of the earliest internet shows. Often performing in the Palo Alto Digital Equipment Corporation parking garage, the band became a popular Internet act.

In addition to breaking commercial radio, Severe Tire Damage headlines a list of nerdy bands, headlining the list. The band’s name is a play on the word “nerd.” The band has a bad reputation, but this has continued their success. Their live album also contains a joke about Microsoft and greed.

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HEVC

The history of streaming HEVC can be categorized into HEVC-based and AVC-based. HEVC was developed to address the need for higher-resolution video and more powerful parallel processing architectures. AVC is a high-quality compression standard that works with both hardware and software.

HEVC’s bitstream is structured into units called “network abstraction layer” or NAL units, which are self-contained packets. This allows the video layer to be identical across multiple transmission environments. HEVC is hierarchically encoded into different temporal layers, and each NAL unit is associated with a specific temporal layer. This feature is known as “temporal scalability.”

HEVC has made progress over AVC, which is a more outdated codec. It supports higher bit depths and improved chroma formats, like 4:4:4 color space. Furthermore, it is highly efficient, with halved bit rates. The Joint Collaborative Team has standardized the specification on Video Coding (JCT-VC).

HEVC is the highest-quality video compression standard available. It is used to deliver high-resolution video without hogging bandwidth. This makes it ideal for live sports and other commercial broadcasts. It is also used for digital signage and video messaging. However, HEVC is not supported by all web browsers. It requires a special encoder to run.

VP9

VP9 is a compression format that works well on web videos. It can achieve up to a 30 percent reduction in bandwidth. The codec is integrated into WebRTC, an open project that enables real-time communication without needing plugins or third-party software. The codec also supports P2P file sharing.

VP9 is royalty-free, and the successor of VP8 was used initially on Google’s YouTube platform. The Alliance now supports it for Open Media, which also backs its successor, AV1. A recently updated WebM format version features VP9 and Opus audio support.

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The VP9 encoder is designed with advanced temporal and spatial AQ algorithms. Its dual-pass process analyzes scene content and lighting conditions to calculate the most efficient bit allocation. This technique preserves fine details better than H.264. Moreover, VP9 is optimized for gaming content, allowing users to enjoy high-quality streaming on various devices.

VP9 works smoothly on PCs, even with high-definition video. It can also save on bandwidth compared to other codecs. Moreover, it is open-source and free to use. Unlike HEVC, it is easier to deploy on mobile devices, making it more affordable for users. It also supports HD+ and 360-degree videos.

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