Personal tools
You are here: Home Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences Producing Distance Education Resources Video Conferencing and Streaming Lecture

Video Conferencing and Streaming Lecture

Document Actions
  • Content View
  • Bookmarks
  • CourseFeed

Internet-Based Desktop Video Conferencing and Streaming

Tutorial 1 of 1

> <h3>Readings:<h3>

Template File(s):

  • none

Several issues to consider

  • The most important is bandwidth . The amount of bandwidth (network capacity) available affects the quality of the conference: the more bandwidth, the better the quality. With less bandwidth, the video is more likely to be jerky and to fall out of synch with the audio.
  • Video and audio are compressed (shrunk) prior to transmission, then decompressed prior to display on the receiver's computer. The specific  hardware and software used to do this is called a codec (compression and decompression )
  • Number of users: Videoconferences can be between 2 users (point-to-point) or between many users (multipoint). The latter requires more complicated technology and bandwidth.
  • Quality: The number of frames per second transmitted affects the quality of the video. The more frames, the higher the quality -- and the higher the bandwidth demands. Usually, Internet videoconferencing transmits 15 frames per second (for comparison, television is 30 frames per second).

Software packages available include

  • Netmeeting (Microsoft)
  • CU-SeeMe
  • ProShare (Intel)
  • Sorensen Envision (made in Utah)

Basic principles of Internet streaming video

Streaming is a technology that allows video/audio files to be transmitted to a client machine as a stream, rather than as a whole file. This means that the file can begin to be displayed before the entire file is downloaded. This is especially useful when large files are involved, as the user does not have to wait a long time.

The key to streaming is buffering . Before beginning to play the video clip, the player will load the first several seconds of the clip. Then, what is stored in the buffer is played to the user.

Streaming software Example Server platform Client platform Development system Codec
REALPLAYER by Real Networks Mimi's Lecture, Real Stream (56 kbps)
Mimi's Lecture Real Stream (256 kbps)
Linux, Windows, Solaris (Mac not included in latest versions) $8,000+ Any, freeware Any freeware or $149.95 for pro version. RealVideo G2 with SVT proprietary codec
select from the list of top stories and then choose a connection speed.
Windows NT (no additional cost after NT) Any, freeware Windows Proprietary windows media codec
QUICKTIME by Apple (pick any movie!) Any (no software needed unless you want to do live streams) Any, freeware Any Sorensen

Internet access affects bandwidth, which affects quality

Several mechanisms are available to access the Internet, each with price and bandwidth implications. The following summarizes typical access methods:
  • Internet services provider. Via ISP network and your connection/modem speed. Modem: 56kbps download - 33.6 upload
  • ISDN (integrated services data network). Via your phone company: 64-128kbps download - 64-128kbps upload
  • Cable modem s. Via your cable provider. 384kbps - 4Mbbps up/download
  • DSL (digital subscribe line). Carries data at high speeds over standard phone lines. Available via your phone company: 144kbps - 8 Mbps download - 144kbps - 1.7 Mbps
  • Wireless . Via cell and satellite telephones. This is a rapidly changing technology sector.

Applications in online education

  • Consider how you might use these technologies in online education settings
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Video Conferencing and Streaming Lecture. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
Online Degree Program
Utah State University offers an online masters degree program (MS & MEd) in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. Click below to find out more.