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How do I Choose the Best Streaming Media Software?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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Streaming media software is a relatively new development, and is used to provide access to video and sound files over the Internet in real-time. The process of streaming requires the signal to be continually transmitting huge data sets over the Internet to computers that are able to quickly and accurately accept and process this signal. This process is possible due to the increased speed of Internet connections now available.

The streaming media software is required to view and transmit media signals and selecting the best package usually involves a combination of factors. Typically, the software must include editing tools, traffic logs, buffering, and user-access management features. This type of software is widely available, both as open-source and commercial software. Open-source software typically is available for free and provides access to the program code. Commercial software is sold for a fee and may be based on usage.

Editing tools found in the best streaming media software include splicing, audio and video editing, deleting sections of the file, and converting to different formats. The features included in this software range in sophistication and usually should be tested before a purchase is made. All the software packages will claim to provide the same features, but the degree of quality provided can widely vary.

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Traffic logs are very important when providing or accessing streaming media files. If you are transmitting the file, it is important to know the user load, locations, and the file types that users prefer. This log also can help to track any malicious attempts to access files or hardware directly without authorization. If you are receiving the file, a log provides a trace to the original source of the file which can be very useful if there are any issues with it.

Buffering is a setting used by the computer processor to manage the data. When a large set of complex data is received in a short period of time, the processing unit needs a few moments to translate the data and then display the results. This period is known as buffering and the time elapsed typically can be adjusted in the master settings.

An increasing number of streaming media software programs offers user-management tools. These features provide the ability to issue unique usernames and passwords to everyone who is accessing the media. This process is a great way to keep the user community small and may even be used as a business model.

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Logicfest
Post 2

@Vincenzo -- that is doubly true when you are talking about streaming software built into a router built with streaming media in mind. For example, there is a very popular router out there that features a stripped down version of a commercial media streaming software product.

It works very well, but there is a limit of 5,000 files that can be indexed through the software. That could be a problem if you stream a bunch of music or photos. The real problem there is that you can't exactly change the software that's built into the router, so you are stuck with that limitation.

The router manufacturer doesn't exactly brag about that limit, so a lot of people can overlook it if they don't do their research.

Vincenzo
Post 1

It is also important to know the restrictions built into the software. Does the software limit the number of users who can stream through it? Is the number of files capped at a certain number?

For some reason, a lot of those limits aren't discussed or known about until a purchasing decision is made and the user is greeted with a nasty surprise at some point.

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