Thursday, November 02, 2006

Online Broadcasting Reviews

The new mid-season programs are coming up, and this is the start of the November Sweeps, but I thought that I would take a minute to review some networks online broadcast programs.

I would have to say that the absolute best is ABC's video. I got hook on the last season of Alias during it final run last spring. I didn't watch much of the first few years, but I was bored and started watching Alias.

ABC has really put together a great program here. So far they are allowing people to watch all past episodes from this season. So, if you miss one of their more popular shows, you can always catch it the next day online.

The video quality is good at ABC's Internet Broadcast. Sure it can get choppy at times, but I am amazed at how infrequently ABC's is choppy. They also did a great job at managing the commercials. While some commercials will run for a minute or more, if you are attentive enough, you only have to let it play for 30 seconds. Then it is on to the show.

The second best Internet broadcaster, and I mean second by a long shot is CBS's innertube. When it comes to quality of video, CBS, FOX, and NBC are all pretty much the same. The commercial handling is pretty typical and not very creative.

CBS wins the second slot for one simple reason. They have the widest selection. Not only do they provide the complete season, they also provide a lot of extras. You can watch either more footage from the shows or interviews with the stars. They even have several Internet only broadcasts. I don't know why, but I am sort of hooked on BBQ Bill.

The third place Network Internet Broadcaster is probably FOX on demand. They earned third only because they too provide the complete season. Otherwise the quality and download is roughly the same as CBS or NBC.

And last place goes to NBC Rewind. Simply put, if you missed last week's episode, you better get to it before next week's airs, or you will be out of the loop.

One thing that NBC does do that I think other networks should consider is they put up a splash screen telling the viewer this the program airs. I honestly don't know when some of my favorite shows air. I just wait to watch them on the webcast.

I think that it is great that all of this webcasting is happening. It has made it so I watch shows that I might not have watched otherwise. However, that has also leads me to watching Ugly Betty. Which is a show that I hate to like. More on that later, maybe.


At Monday, November 16, 2009 12:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Web casting, or broadcasting over the internet, is a media file (audio-video mostly) distributed over the internet using streaming media technology. Streaming implies media played as a continuous stream and received real time by the browser (end user). Streaming technology enables a single content source to be distributed to many simultaneous viewers. Streaming video bandwidth is typically calculated in gigabytes of data transferred. It is important to estimate how many viewers you can reach, for example in a live webcast, given your bandwidth constraints or conversely, if you are expecting a certain audience size, what bandwidth resources you need to deploy.

To estimate how many viewers you can reach during a webcast, consider some parlance:
One viewer: 1 click of a video player button at one location logged on
One viewer hour: 1 viewer connected for 1 hour
100 viewer hours: 100 viewers connected for 1 hour…

Typically webcasts will be offered at different bit rates or quality levels corresponding to different user’s internet connection speeds. Bit rate implies the rate at which bits (basic data units) are transferred. It denotes how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time. (bps / Kbps / Mbps…). Quality improves as more bits are used for each second of the playback. Video of 3000 Kbps will look better than one of say 1000Kbps. This is just like quality of a image is represented in resolution, for video (or audio) it is measured by the bit rate.


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