HTTP Live Streaming

The Iphone OS 3.0 announcements included a new capability: to watch HTTP Live Streaming. Well, I know that there are streaming protocols and streaming servers, and I know that there is something like progressive download that allows us to start watching a movie while it is beeing downloaded.

trasnsport_streamBut what is HTTP Live Streaming? I finally found a nice article goung through the media streaming history (well, for some of us it is lived history…). I picked some facts that I found noteworthy:

  • HTTP Live Streaming actually does stream content in real time
  • RTSP streaming failes when it hits against the first firewall, HTTP tunnelling adds too much overhead
  • The technology behind HTTP Live Streaming was submitted to the IETF as a draft standard (on track to become an RFC)
  • It looks like Microsofts “Smooth Streaming”, but is not bound to Microsofts Expression Encoder, Microsoft Internet Information Server with a Smooth Streaming extension, and does not require Microsoft’s Silverlight 2 on the client…
  • It is simple: the content is encoded into an MPEG transport stream and chopped into 10s fragments
  • It is not an continuous stream, the client asks for fragments as they are needed
  • It does not require any special server (any webserver can deliver the fragments)

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