The Four Facets of Multimedia Streaming

The Four Facets of Multimedia Streaming

Florence Agboma (University of Essex, U.K.) and Antonio Liotta (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-250-3.ch007


Recent advances in media coding techniques and network access technologies have made multimedia streaming practicable and affordable in both fixed and mobile environments. Multimedia streaming services from anywhere and at anytime is fast becoming a reality. This chapter provides a snapshot of the facets involved in delivering multimedia streaming contents to the end user’s terminal. The facets discussed in the chapter extend from the streaming paradigms, media coding techniques, the network support for multimedia streaming services to the techniques used to evaluate the user’s quality of experience for multimedia streaming applications. Each facet is also discussed for both fixed and mobile environments.
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Facet 1: Streaming Paradigms

Streaming multimedia services can generally be grouped under two main categories, real time and on-demand. Within the real time paradigm, the multimedia contents are usually broadcast in real time and are centrally controlled. There is an increased requirement to maintaining constant service availability. For example, a disruption in a broadcast session, means that a subscriber cannot go back to replay or continue from the missing session because content viewing is according to the broadcast timelines. The on-demand paradigm offers a more personalized service, where individuals can control the type of contents they want to watch. It allows the playback of an archived video and also facilitates the new growing demand of user-generated contents where users upload their personal video contents to a specific online community. Examples can be found in,, etc. With a large number of users, the server capacity, storage and bandwidth requirements for on-demand services become challenging because the multimedia streams are unicast. The service availability requirements are not as stringent as that of the real time paradigm because of the degree of control that is given to the subscriber. A subscriber can interact with the multimedia streams using the start, stop, pause and replay functions on the device. This on the other hand, makes the client viewing behaviour more flexible. The on-demand paradigm enables service providers to differentiate their services, which could further lead to increase ARPU.

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