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Streaming & Recording Videoconferences

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1 Streaming & Recording Videoconferences
Kenneth Tanner LSU Health Sciences Center – Shreveport Doug Pearson Indiana University March 25, 2003

2 Streaming a videoconference
Streaming a videoconference makes it possible for any number of people to view a conference – either live or recorded for on-demand access. View on desktop computers using standard media players such as Real, Windows Media or QuickTime.

3 What kinds of things can you do?
Classes or lectures available live and on-demand Save the proceedings of a meeting. Permit key individuals of a conference participate interactively, while a large audience views the live stream. Doesn’t have to be a multiparty VC – can use the VC endpoint as a streaming source.

4 Four technologies for VC streaming
All-in-one: a server that has the VC and streaming functions all in a single system Combo: a system built of separate VC terminal and standard streaming encoder Built-in: VC terminals with built-in multicast or unicast streaming ASP: Application service providers

5 All-In-One Comes in two flavors – as a streaming gateway only, or in conjunction with an MCU Works by taking H.26x/G.7xx video/audio out of the H.323 envelope and stuffs into an envelope of a common streaming format such as Real, Windows Media or QuickTime Can do unicast or multicast streaming Can store the stream for VOD

6 All-In-One Chat and slide presenter features Examples: STARBAK Torrent
FVC Conference Server with Streaming Support Virtual Rooms Videoconference Service (VRVS)

7 Combo Two standard devices – a VC terminal and a streaming encoder, are interconnected. A/V out of the VC terminal into the encoder Encoder can be just about anything, e.g. Real, WM, QT, or MPEG-1,-2,-4; unicast or multicast Can store the stream for VOD

8 Built-In Some high-end terminals have built-in streaming, e.g. Polycom FX and Tandberg 880. Utilizes IP multicast. Takes the H.26x/G.7xx video/audio out of the H.323 envelope and stuffs into RTP. No ability to record for VOD

9 ASP Many videoconference bridging service providers also provide streaming option.

10 Video/Audio Comparison
Both the All-In-One and Built-In methods strip the H.26x/G.7xx video/audio out of the H.323 envelope and stuff that into the envelope of Real, WM, QT or RTP. The Combo method takes baseband video and audio output of a VC terminal and encodes to a made for streaming format. Tradeoffs

11 Management and operation moderate Network transmission
All-In-One Combo Built-In Initial set up moderate to complex complex simple Management and operation moderate Network transmission unicast or multicast requires multicast Transmission speed fixed to speed of conference flexible modem to broadband Perf under net congestion fair to poor good Record for VOD yes only w/ extra special tech

12 Cost for a small number of concurrent conferences high moderate low
All-In-One Combo Built-In Cost for a small number of concurrent conferences high moderate low Cost for a large number of concurrent conferences moderate-to-low

13 LSUHSC-S Background LSU Health Sciences Center – Shreveport network consist of ~20 H.323 & 15 H.320 Endpoints, Accord MCU, and a Radvision ECS-100 Gatekeeper Accord MCU bridges H.320 & H.323 systems Neighbored with LICRN & ViDeNet’s GDS Manages Louisiana’s Interactive & Collaborative Research Network (LICRN) – A statewide H.323 videoconferencing network.

14 LICRN Background Managed by LSUHSC-S Created in part by NSF Grant
12 Higher Educational Research Institutions within Louisiana Deployed 72 H.323 endpoints amongst the 12 institutions Radvision ECS-100 GK deployed at each institution (all neighbored together and with ViDeNet’s GDS) Established MCU hub using an LSUHSC-S Accord MCU in Baton Rouge Initially supported H.323 only connections Presently supports both H.323 & H.320 (bridging networks)

15 LSUHSC-S & LICRN Network Diagram
IP Network (H.323) H.323 Endpoints H.320 H.323 Gatekeepers Missing piece to the puzzle: streaming and archiving of conferences.

16 Initial Streaming & Archiving Solution
Connect codec to streaming device (PC or server). Advantage: Supports various streaming/archiving technologies. Disadvantage: Cost of codec/server bank & one conference stream and/or archive per bank – Success means more banks. H.323 Codec Streaming/Archiving Server Analog A/V

17 Features of Streaming & Archiving Unit Desired
Utilizes the All-In-One approach (single standalone unit) Capable of both Streaming and Archiving conferences Support multiple streaming/archiving sessions on same unit Support major media players (QuickTime, Windows Media Player, RealOne)

18 Starbak’s Torrent VCG
Streams and archives H.323 connections Supports up to 10 H.323 connections on one unit (cost varies depending on # of H.323 connections supported). Supported formats Windows Media Player Apple’s QuickTime RealNetworks’ RealOne Player Call Formats: Video Only, Video & Chat, Video & Slides, Video, Chat, Slides.

19 Starbak’s Torrent VCG Continues
H.323 Version 3 Compliant Supported data rates: 128Kb, 256Kb, 384Kb, 512, 768Kb, 1.5Mb Supports registration with gatekeeper Can dial using E.164, H.323 aliasing, IP addresses, etc. Gigabit Ethernet connection 700 Mbps sustained throughput 100 GB internal hard drive; fiber channel or SCSI interface for external hard drive addition. Note: Streams and archives are performed at H.323 data rate (384kbps H.323 = 384kbps stream)

20 Videoconferencing Network
IP Network (H.323) H.320 H.323 Endpoints

21 LSUHSC-S & LICRN Capabilities
Support multipoint H.323, H.320 and combination of both using Accord MCU Stream and/archive multipoint conferences by adding a VCG port to a conference just like any other H.323 endpoint. Stream and/or archive sessions from an individual H.323 endpoint – Point to Point connection between H.323 endpoint & VCG. Support 10 H.323/Streaming/Archiving concurrent sessions

22 LSUHSC-S & LICRN Capability





27 Call Catalogs are in the form of http://[domain or IP address]/<user>/


29 Demo Internet 2 Cable TV Presentation PC H.323 Codec H.323 Stream
H.323 & Streaming Analog A/V Internet 2 VCR H.323 Cable TV H.323 Endpoint


31 Demo

32 References
Special thanks to Ric Simmons and Serge Razafindrakoto from LSU Baton Rouge campus for their support.

33 Indiana University Background
8 campuses + extension centers, ~110k students Virtual Indiana Classroom ~145 H.323 group systems, ~200 desktop 2 Accord MGC-100, H.323 with H.320 gateway Radvision ECS GK; central Polycom GMS

34 IStream IU’s VC-to-streaming service
Currently supports eight concurrent sessions; can scale to demand Been in full service 2 semesters Currently recording 29 classes; plus events and meetings

35 IStream Streams live and records for on-demand access
Video and live stream in Real format Option for audio-only MP3; can stream on-demand or download to desktop or personal MP3 appliances; can’t stream MP3 live

36 IStream Utilizes the combo approach
Chose combo approach for flexibility Transmission speeds from modem to broadband Robust delivery over congested commercial Internet Custom interface, management and operations, and features Custom scheduling, control, management and operations, and user access system developed







43 IStream – Planned Enhancements
Version 2 of scheduling system; based on database Automated monitoring tools; listen for audio and raise flag if no audio present for a scheduled event Incorporate with data collaboration tool for multimedia Batched downloads of MP3s to desktop or personal audio appliance

44 References IStream Credits to James McGookey and Chris Golden for IStream development.

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