Streaming Video Online for Health Care Gets Better, Faster and Cheaper
Streaming Video
Blog: Using the free or nearly free services can get your video up and showing quickly and with good quality.
By Robin Miller

For quick and small projects, the free and low-cost Web video services are surprisingly flexible and robust for your health care video needs.

Ten years ago, streaming video was low-quality, hard to produce, and expensive to deliver. Today it’s easy to produce with inexpensive equipment and can be delivered to your online viewers by free or low-cost Web video distribution services. Or you can deliver broadcast-quality, high-definition live productions if you have a substantial budget. And even a “substantial” live production budget is a lot less today than it was in 2002.

Live Streaming vs. Progressive Downloading

Live streaming is real time, and needs one connection from the streaming server to the Internet for each viewer. Progressive delivery shoots data packets out over the Internet that are reassembled by the client — or viewing — computer back into a coherent video. Hardly anyone does true “live streaming” any more. If you have a webcam and two computers, you can set up a chat between your two computers using Skype, Yahoo Messenger or Google Hangout and see for yourself that there’s a noticeable lag between your “live” self and your “chat” self. The lag is caused by your image and voice getting broken down into data packets, sent through the various wires and fiber optic lines and routers and other equipment between the send and receiving ends, and getting assembled back into a viewable video. In real life, though, this lag is no problem because hardly anybody looks at the live event and watches the streaming video rendition of it at the same time.

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There’s one last question about video chat: “Will it scale?” The answer is, “President Obama did a Google Hangout chat without any technical problems even though 228,100 people submitted 133,158 questions and cast 1,630,112 votes for which questions he should answer, and over 540,000 people watched the video after the fact.

 

Google Hangout isn’t only for Presidents. You can easily set up your own Google+ Brand Page and host your own Google Hangouts. In fact, here are five hangout ideas meant for retailers, that are also useful for everyone from kindergarten teachers to college instructors to choir leaders. 

Chat as Streaming Video

Skype is also great for bringing people together for meetings or training — it will even let you share a view of your monitor — and is passable for sharing music, although Skype sound quality is not spectacular. Even better, if you add a $99 program called VodBurner or $60 Debut (which is often available for as low as $29.99) you can record your chat conversation



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