Saturday, July 02, 2005

Live 8

live 8 main website

Great cause and a great line up of artists! Check out the web page and sign the live 8 list.

You can view the concert in Peer Impact by selecting "File->Open URL" and entering this URL: http://pdl.stream.aol.com/aol/us/aolmusic/specials/
2005/live8/playlists/world_playlist_us_460_dl.asx?wmcache=0

Let's talk about the technology that is behind the "live" stream. Here are the specs for the stream:

Bit rate: 460kbps
Video size: 320 x 240
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Audio Codec: Windows Media Audio 9.1
64 kbps, 44 kHz, stereo 1-pass CBR
Video Codec: Windows Media Video 9
Frame per sec: 29
Protcol: RTSP (UDP)

To put how small the screen size is for this broadcast into perspective let's measure the screen. The screen is about 3 3/4 inches by 2 3/4 inches wide which is equivalent to a 4 inch TV screen. Imagine if you had to watch TV at home on a 4 inch TV in the year 2005. For years broadcasts have been streaming live events over the Internet and having to settle for low quality video and audio. Listeners have also had to settle with dropped frames and constant buffering to keep up with the broadcast. The bandwidth requirements to support a stream that has thousands of simultaneous users, and the bandwidth requirements to support a high quality video stream are astronomical. Even if you could pay the bandwidth bill the infrastructure it would take to provide such a great user experience would be huge. You would need a boat load of streaming servers and a pipe the size of Texas to deliver the stream. So the question I ask is, "How live does a stream have to be? If a streamed was delayed by 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour would it be any different then a "live stream" like live 8? Just a delay of 5 minutes and Peer Impact could deliver a high quality and maybe even HD(High Definition) quality stream right to your desktop or TV. Let’s use some new specs that are equivalent to a DVD quality stream:

Audience: 2201.02 Kbps
Audio codec: Windows Media Audio 9.1 Professional
Audio format: 192 kbps, 44 kHz, 2 channel 24 bit VBR
Video codec: Windows Media Video 9
Video bit rate: 2000 Kbps
Video size: 640 x 480
Frame rate: 29.97 fps

Let's use my 5 Mbps Road Runner connection at home as an example to see how this would work. If I could max out my connection for 5 minutes I could download a file that was 187 MB. That’s about 12 minutes of audio and video at the above quality. So for every 5 minutes of the stream that was downloaded I would gain 7 minutes of “buffer” time. Using the Peer Impact network a quality stream like the one above could be delivered to thousands of listeners. This is possible because the transport technology in Peer Impact re-shares chunks of the stream as each user receives them.

The question still remains - Would this be worth the 5 minute delay? I believe so. Just think; no more tiny screens, no more frames dropping, and no more buffering(thank god). In today's *world* people want quality. I don't think watching a stream that is behind the live event by 5 minutes would decrease the experience or the thrill of a live event. I heard a quote the other day from our fearless CEO Greg Kerber that I thought was right on. He said, "Tap water is free, but everyone is buying bottle water." (I think this quote also applies to most P2P applications as well, but that's a whole other discussion) Once again, people want quality and the quality that people are getting today is extremely low compared to what is possible in the year 2005.

Thoughts?

3 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

How about next time a big streaming event for charity comes up Wurld Media can offer its services .Be a great promotional opportunity for Peer Impact also .

The television networks have to delay thier telecast even if its only 30 seconds so a 5 minute delay wouldnt be bad at all .

2:40 PM  
Blogger Chris Bick said...

I think once broadcasts start understand our technology we will get the opportunity to help broadcast events all the time.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Peer Impact could be the new IPTV

5:51 AM  

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