Introduction to Streaming
Welcome to the first week of the course! We'll use this week to become acquainted with our peers, iron out any remaining questions on the technical requirements for this course, and work on some baseline definitions surrounding "streaming". Use the tabs below to navigate between the Supply Drop, Discord, and Assignment. As well, there is a tab for a Twitch channel that we will use for lectures, and that you can access at any time.
This week you will...
- Introduce yourself to the class
- Define subject of streaming
- Review streaming platforms
- Define the difference between a progressive download and streaming using RTMP
Loot for your mind
Welcome to your Supply Drop! Each week, we'll have a section of content that will help to describe major considerations in each week. These do not take the place of your lesson! They are supplementary in nature, and for your benefit. Let's get started!
What is streaming? What is the difference between streaming a video versus downloading a video? Streaming a video, song, or any other form of multimedia involves having the ability to view that media while it is being delivered by the provider. It is described as an alternative to downloading, where a user must retrieve and store the entire file before being able to access it. Delivering content over the Internet as it is currently happening involves technologies beyond those used in delivering a typical webpage.
Streaming of previously recorded content is often known as Video on Demand. For broadcasting, we are more interested in live streaming. Live streaming is the delivery of content in real-time. Twitch.tv is one of the largest live streaming video platforms currently available and offers video game streaming, eSports competition broadcasts, and other creative content. Other companies that offer live video streaming are YouTube, Facebook Live, and Periscope.
The technologies involved in streaming are varied and complex, so our big focus this week (tech-wise) will be on Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) and the discussion between Progressive Downloads and Streaming. RTMP was initially developed by Macromedia (and later purchased by Adobe) to allow for streaming to a Flash player based on the client's computer. This protocol is still used in streaming media players today, including Twitch (which you'll be hearing a whole lot about in this course!). RTMP differs from the typical HTTP download in that the user is only connecting to the content they actually access at that point in time, whereas with HTTP the entire file must be downloaded for the eventual program to be able to execute it. In the case of a pre-recorded video, this means you can skip forward in RTMP, whereas you must wait for the download to complete in HTTP. Or, in the case of a live stream, it simply means that you are able to watch content from another person, over the internet, in real time!
Progressive Download vs. Streaming
One of the key concepts you should come away with this week is the difference between Progressive Downloads and Streaming Media. Remember, downloads are stored on a user's local computer before watching. Progressive downloads do allow the user to access the media as it is being downloaded, but it is still not the same as streaming.
Progressive downloads are linear; you cannot "skip" to a later section of the media until it has downloaded. Because progressive downloads are stored locally, there is an inherent security risk to the owner of the file; the end user has the ability to directly access and manipulate the media as they see fit. Note that this also means the end user has a choice between a variety of different video and audio players and editors to access the file with.
Streaming is a method of transmitting or receiving data (especially video and audio material) over a computer network as a steady, continuous flow. This allows playback to proceed while subsequent data is being received. With streamed media, the media being accessed is never stored locally. The data is sent to the user for immediate playback. Typically you are required to use a specific player software to view the stream.
In each week, you will have a Discussion assignment that will help to prepare you for that week's main assignment. You are required to:
- make an initial post answering the questions provided, and
- to respond to at least one peer.
You won't be able to see any of your peer's posts until after you have posted. Your response should be go beyond a simple "good job" or other basic complement. While there isn't a hard requirement on the length of your response, 100 words would be a good starting place.
The reason we only require a single response is that we are encouraging you to engage your instructor and peers through Blackboard Collaborate and Discord in real-time discussion. The questions presented here are to help you to form ideas for your main assignment, as well as allow you to more deeply analyze what your peers are thinking about as they prepare for their assignments. Your peers may be in-class students, or they may be remote and in an entirely different time-zone. We want to ensure that you all have the same opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. We want you to be fully prepared and confident going into your main assignments.
Discord chats are set up by week, and are supplemental to your actual assignments. Click the icon below to access the channel. Please participate in these chats! Discord is a very popular tool used by the streaming community, so if you're not familiar with it, this is your chance! Use the Discussion assignment to help organize your interactions. It's our hope that you find people through this class that you can collaborate with, game with, and stream with in your careers; you are welcome to invite your peers to other channels that you use!
Please introduce yourself to your classmates and your instructor. We want to hear about YOU, so feel free to discuss your hobbies (to whatever extent you are comfortable in sharing). What is your gamertag? Favorite video game? Do you prefer console or PC? Do you have a favorite streamer? In addition, include experiences and interests that you think may be relevant to this class.
Second, please confirm that you have read and understand both your syllabus and the resources available to you. If you have questions, you should feel free to either post them here or contact your instructor. You are welcome to return to this Discussion Board at any time to continue discussion or ask new questions. This confirmation can be as simple as "I have read and understand the syllabus".
Please read RTMP in the Age of HTTP Streaming. You are not required to provide citation for this resource if you use it in your assignment. However, that does not mean you are allowed to plagiarize the material! This is simply a prerequisite source that you are expected to draw from for your assignment.
You have the option this week of writing a 500 word essay or recording a 5 min video that answers the following questions:
- What is RTMP?
- What is the difference between streaming and progressive downloading?
- How has the introduction of streaming changed media industries? (ex. movie streaming taking over DVD rentals or streaming music replaces purchasing of music)
- How has the streaming of media affected your life (ex. Netflix, Twitch, Spotify, etc.)?
For written assignments:
- Assignment must be composed in a word processor (Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Pages, Google Docs, etc...)
- The file type must be supported by Microsoft Word, regardless of word processor used (.doc or .docx is preferred)
- Accepted fonts include Arial, Calibri, Verdana, and Times New Roman with a font size of 12pt
- Essays should be double-spaced on 8.5" x 11" paper size and 1" margins
- You will attach your completed document in the assignment submission area (don't type the assignment out directly in Blackboard!)
- Please use APA in-text citations and include a reference list for any sources cited outside of those included in the Supply Drop area.
This assignment is due no later than 11:59 PM at the end of the seventh day of class.
Before starting your Assignment, please review the Assignment rubric. You will be graded using this rubric.
Click below to view the Assignment rubric.
Check out our Twitch Channel below! If you want to participate in chat, you should click the Twitch button on the video player to head to the Twitch website. You'll want to do that if you want to keep the stream open while you switch tabs to work on your assignments, as well.
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