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Secrets to Live Streaming Success

PITFALL #3 – BIT RATE TOO HIGH FOR YOUR VIEWERS

That leads to another possible mistake, though – choosing too high a bit rate relative to your viewers’ connections.If your bit rate exceeds the sustainable bandwidth of a viewer, it’s likely to result in an unwatchable experience (lots of buffering, stuttering, etc.). Be sure to offer a stream with low enough bit rate for the “minimum” connection you expect of your viewers. In fact, it may be best to consider offering streams at multiple bit rates – at least one for those with slow connections, and a high-quality stream for those with fast connections. Some encoders can output multiple streams at various resolutions and bit rates simultaneously from the same source signal, but don’t forget that if you’re offering multiple streams, your Internet connection must be fast enough to send those streams out simultaneously.

 

PITFALL #4 – TOO MANY VIEWERS, NOT ENOUGH BANDWIDTH (THE NEED FOR A CDN)

Whether to use an in-house distribution (streaming) server or CDN depends on the number of viewing locations to be reached, and the available Internet connection upload (sending) bandwidth. When using its own streaming server inside the church, the amount of bandwidth needed by the church to reach multiple viewers is essentially the sum of all of the individual viewing bandwidths. If you’ve chosen a 750Kbps bit rate, and you have 100 viewers, the total bandwidth demand is 75,000Kbps (75Mbps) – far greater than the upload speeds of most Internet connections, so not practical. If instead you’re streaming to just two other sites, an in-house distribution server may be viable.

A CDN service provider lets you scale to a virtually unlimited number of viewers. The church only needs to send a single stream to the CDN over their outgoing Internet connection; the CDN effectively replicates the stream for each viewer, so it’s the CDN who needs the big bandwidth to deliver to all of the viewers.

 

PITFALL #5 – INADEQUATE BANDWIDTH FROM THE ENCODER TO THE CDN OR SERVER

It’s very important to distinguish the upload (outgoing) speed of the church’s Internet connection from the download (incoming) speed.When Internet Service Providers promote the speed of their service, the number they’re citing is generally the download speed – and on all but the highest-end offerings, the upload speed is significantly less (we’ve seen service packages with 12Mbps download speed but only 1Mbps upload). The sustainable upload speed should also allow for overhead beyond the video itself – if your video stream is 1Mbps, a 1Mbps upload link won’t be enough.

PITFALL #6 – SHARING THE OUTGOING INTERNET CONNECTION

Ideally, the Internet connection used for sending the streaming video should be separate from the general Internet connection that the church uses for other tasks such as e-mail, web browsing and other uses. Sharing an Internet connection between The outgoing streaming and other tasks can result in unexpected performance drops as the various tasks contend for bandwidth. A dedicated line ensures that the outgoing stream isn’t affected by any other Internet activity at the church.

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