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** Streaming Video/Audio w/o Plugins **

Posted on 1998-07-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-25
I have been on some websites and have noticed that they actually have streaming video and IRC chat.  They neat thing is I didn't have to download any special plugin or such to get the streaming video to work perfectly.  How exactly do I achieve streaming video for my browser without plugins?  I believe Netscape has some kind of PUSH/PULL command, maybe this helps in streaming?  

Now does the server need to be setup in some special way to achieve streaming for the website?  And also, what kind of file does one need to have to make such a streaming file (is it multiple JPG pictures or just one big AVI file or what) ?

Now for IRC, if one wants to have IRC chat in his/her website how would one go about achieving this?  Does the server need to be setup in some special way?

Thank you VERY much for your help. MUCH IS APPRECIATED!!
Question by:ljaques
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Accepted Solution

johnny99 earned 320 total points
ID: 1858498
Sorry to tell you this, but you're wrong -- that is, there's no such thing as streaming video or audio without some kind of plugin.

With chat, there are some CGI-based chat systems, but more likely the ones you're talking about are Java or JavaScript based.

Probably the best thing would be if you could identify the sites you're talking about that you wish to imitate and we can take it from there...


Expert Comment

ID: 1858499
There are multiple ways of making it "appear" as if you are receiving streaming video in your browser without a plugin.

One way is to have a <meta refresh= . . .> or other HTML tag which makes the page reload continuously. I have a "webcam" which contantly FTPs a gif image to my website, thus making it continuously change in the browser. This is NOT streaming video, nor does it even look close.

Another way is take a video clip and convert it from a .avi or .mov format to an animated .gif format (I do this using Adobe Premier and Gif Construction Set). This only works for pre-recorded video, however and also is not streaming video (but looks better than a page that updates every second or so).

Yet another way would be through the use of java applet which might add some capability to your browser that was not there before. I know this is used for IRC chat, but haven't seen it done for video - although I wouldn't put it past someone to have made it work.

I use Vivo Active streaming on my web pages for video which requires a plug-in for Netscape, but because of Active-X, I don't need one for Internet Explorer (or at least it's invisible to the user).

Lastly, newer Web Browsers, such as Netscape 4.x, come with certain multimedia extensions built-in already. It is possible for some sites to take advatnage of these, but I am not familiar with the details.

I hope one of these scenarios is right for you . . .

Author Comment

ID: 1858500

You mentioned you FTP the gifs for your website webcam.  Now if you have thousands of users on your webpage at one time, would it have to log into your FTP thousands of time or does it have to do a seriously delay since there may be too many users in the FTP account?  And since you are calling ftp from the browser does the browser log in get in the file and log out or does it stay in the ftp account waiting for the idle time to get kicked?

Thanks for the VERY informative reply.

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Expert Comment

ID: 1858501
The way the webcam works is like this.
Step 1.
At the top of your HTML code, prior to the <BODY> tag, you have something like the following (for the purposes of this example, let's call it
<META http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url="">
<IMG SRC="images/camera.gif" . . .>
 . .
What this does is forces the users browser to constantly reload the page, thus constantly reloading "camera.gif", which in this example is your video image.

Step 2.
I use Winnov Videum version 2.6 for my Winnov Videum camera. This software has a webcam feature which takes a picture every second and uploads (via. FTP) the image "camera.gif" to the /images subdirectory in the wwwroot folder of my web server, each time overwriting the previous file.

What this creates is a scenario in which the users browser refreshes continously and every second, the image that is being loaded changes.

As I told you before, this is slow and is not the same as streaming video, but considering how slow some sites stream their video, sometimes this is no different.

You concerns about FTP usage are valid. The sofware that I use stays logged in and access my web site via. a local area network, thus eliminating many of these concerns. Additionally, I am using an intranet, which only has about 200 or so people a day hitting the site.

I have seen webcams on many major sites, however and they seem to work okay. A smart web page author will use frames so that the page only needs to refresh the frame with the camera in it, thus allowing for complex navigations bars, etc. to load and stay up independant of the camera refresh. I have seen poorly done sites that reload the whole page, includng navigation bars, etc. every second, which makes for horrible performance.

As I said, this is NOT streaming video and may not be the solution for you. It does get the job done for some people however and, without plug-ins, the only way to accomplish streaming video would be through the use of complex java scripts or active content.

Expert Comment

ID: 1858502
Hi, me again,

I still think what you should do is tell us what you're hoping to do, and/or identify some sites you'd like to imitate, because then we can focus on what you want to achieve...

Author Comment

ID: 1858503
mbreuker and Johnny99, both of you have done a wonderful job in explaining all this to me.  You guyz have answered my questions and I truly thank you.

You have been so helpful that I would love to keep your email addresses on the side in case I have to ask you other various questions.  What's your email address or even better mine is:

Please email me and I'll keep your email on the side.  That's how useful you guys have been to me.

Thanks again!

Expert Comment

ID: 1858504
Thaks for the points, sorry it was a sort of non-answer. Feel free to contact me if you need help...

Expert Comment

ID: 1858505
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