Online Teaching Tools

Streaming Media

What is Streaming Media?

Audio and video files can be transmitted over the web in two ways:

  1. If it is an audio clip with one of the following file extensions (.wav or .aif) or a video clip with one of the following file extensions (.avi or .qt) the file must be completely downloaded before it can be played or viewed.
  2. If it is an audio clip with one of the following file extensions (.ram, .mp3, .wma ) or a video clip with one of the following file extensions (.rm, .swf, .wmv, .mov, .mp4) the file plays as it downloads.

Streaming media is streaming video with sound. Streaming media is most beneficial to students on a dial up connection. With streaming video or streaming media, a Web user does not have to wait to download a large file before seeing the video or hearing the sound. Instead, the media is sent in a continuous stream and is played as it arrives. As the file is being downloaded initially or as it is downloading additional materials, the player may say "buffering". This means that it is downloading a small section of the video. With regular videos the files are quite large and on a dial up connection could take days to download. In order to view streaming media the user needs a player, which is a special program that uncompresses and sends video data to the display and audio data to speakers.

Media Players

Quicktime by Apple

Quicktime will allow you to play, view, or interact with video, audio, VR, and graphics files. In addition to playing Quicktime format files, it also supports numerous international standard formats such as AVI and MPEG files. Advanced features are accessed through Quicktime Pro, a purchased software download.

RealPlayer by RealNetworks

RealPlayer is a universal player that allows the user to view RealMedia clips, numerous international standard formats such as AVI and MPEG files as well as Quicktime and Windows Media formats. Advanced features are accessed through RealPlayer Plus, a purchased software download.

Windows Media Player by Microsoft

Windows Media Player allows for fast, flexible playing of Windows Media Audio and Video files both locally and streaming as well as numerous international standard formats such as AVI and MPEG files.

What tools can I use to Create Streaming Media?

Listed below, are some of the more popular tools used for editing or encoding media for streaming over the internet. Please note that some of these items are available free for download while others may have to be purchased.

Flash Video by Adobe

Macromedia Flash Video lets you easily put video on a web page in a format that almost anyone can view. This guide provides an introduction to Flash Video, including information on how to create and publish Flash Video.

Real Producer by RealNetworks

Real Producer allows the user to capture or stream live, from a video source (with appropriate hardware), or to convert a file into Real format from another media format. This product also comes packaged with Real Editor, which allows the user to make basic edits to your clip (change clip information, shorten or append files). Real Producer Plus allows for greater flexibility.

Windows Media Encoder by Microsoft

Windows Media Encoder allows the user to capture or stream live, from a video source (with appropriate hardware), or to convert a file into Windows Media from another media format.

Producer for PowerPoint 2003 by Microsoft

Producer for PowerPoint 2003 plug-in creates self-contained multimedia presentations using a PowerPoint slides, recorded audio and/or video, HTML elements, indexing, and navigation while preserving timings. The end product can be hosted from a streaming and web server or burned to a disc.

Quicktime Pro by Apple

Quicktime Pro is the upgrade to Quicktime’s free media player. This product allows the user to import and export files, create slideshows, edit media, and prepare media for streaming. This is a useful, user-friendly tool.

Camtasia Studio by TechSmith

Camtasia is a solution for recording, editing, and publishing your screen videos. You can easily create software tutorials and demonstrations in Flash and streaming video formats for your global audience. Camtasia records all activity, including narration from a Windows PC screen, edits clips, and then outputs files to RealMedia, Windows Media, Flash, Quicktime, or other formats. Captions, text boxes, and graphics can be added after the video is produced.

GarageBand by Apple

GarageBand is a multitrack recording application that contains plenty of audio tools for experienced recording veterans and novices alike. You can record real audio pieces, play with software instruments, create parts using Apple Loops, add effects, mix your music and play it all back with iTunes or include in your iMovies.

Audacity by GNU General Public License

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

To save your recordings in MP3 format for audio podcasts, you will also need to download the LAME plug-in.

What tools can I use to make Media Accessible

MAGpie by National Center for Accessible Media

An authoring tool for making web and CDROM-based rich media materials accessible to persons with disabilities by creating closed captions, subtitles, and audio descriptions to QuickTime, Real, or Windows Media Player files. Developed from funding by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Hi-Caption by HiSoftware

Hi-Caption allows you to easily create the formatted captioning file for Quicktime, Real Media, Windows Media, and Flash without having to learn the code behind it while still making the code accessible. Supports SAMI, RealText, and SMIL.

IBM Via Voice for Mac by Nuance

Users can dictate, correct, edit, and format text with their natural voice in the IBM ViaVoice speech-enabled word processor, SpeakPad. They can also take advantage of the new DSR technology, which enables direct dictation into text-fields of Mac applications, with correction and editing in SpeakPad.

Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance

Users can dictate, correct, edit, and format text with their natural voice in Dragon Naturally Speaking speech-enabled software such as the Microsoft® Office® Suite, plus Microsoft Internet Explorer, Corel® WordPerfect®, Lotus® Notes®, and virtually all other Windows®-based applications. It will also transcribe audio recordings.