So, what is video streaming? It’s simply a counterpoint to downloading video onto a device. With video streaming, you watch the video on your computer, tablet, smart phone, or on a television hooked up to the Internet through a device like Amazon Fire TV. The really big benefit is that it doesn’t take up storage space since it’s not physically transferred to your device. Two of the best examples of streaming video services are YouTube and Vimeo (see our separate entry on those).
For now, let’s assume you want to have the video on your own website rather than directing people to another site. There are two options: video streaming on your own, or embedding.
Embedding basically means that you have the video on a host site, like YouTube, and you include a link (embedding) to that site in the HTML code for your website. When viewers click on the link, they watch the video on your site. They aren’t redirected to the host site from yours, so they don’t leave your page.
Embedding is a fairly simple process if you know how to use HTML code. Actually, in many cases you just have to be able to find the code for a video on the host site and then transfer it to your site. Website building services often give you the option of inserting the code is multiple places, so the video player can pop up wherever you like when people view your page.
Overall, the biggest benefit of embedding is that you if you have data storage and bandwidth limits, you aren’t depleting them.
But you may choose to self-host the video on your own. The concept is fairly simple. It’s the same as uploading a picture, except you’re uploading video. That’s where simple ends.
Get ready for a lot of jargon as you research how to host your own streaming video: AAC, VP8, IMSA, RTP, RTSP, HLS.
It’s not all bad. There are tools that help you set up the streaming. You can even find plugins that let you do it from basic site building engines like WordPress. But there are many other things to consider.
Host Server Bandwidth Limitations
If so, how will you arrange your streaming so that several people can see your video at the same time? Video files are large. Very large. If too many people try to access your video(s) at the same time, they’re likely to have playback issues. It will take more time for your video to play than it did for the solar system to form. A bad user experience translates into a bad public image for you and your site.
Not only that, the format of your video will determine how many people can see it. (see the transcoding page for more on that). Different browsers and different devices support different formats. To reach your full potential audience, you may have to have several different versions of your video. The viewer will have to choose the one that’s right, but how do you convey that information? Most visitors to your site aren’t there to play multiple-choice.
More Than One Video
And what happens when one video becomes more than one video? (Trust us, videos are like Reese’s Pieces. You don’t want to stop at just one.) Yes, there are apps for converting formats, but not all of them convert equally well. So you may need several conversion apps to ensure each version of your video is top quality. Of course when you work with Hencar, we take care of tasks like that for you as part of your overall video production package. But we need to mention this aspect so that you have a clear idea of what to expect from the process.
To be sure, there are advantages to having your own streaming service, especially if you have a larger company. You’re not dependent on outside venues to ensure your videos are seen. You don’t have to worry about following the constantly updating terms of service from an outside host, since you set your own rules. But unless you have considerable resources in terms of time and money, hosting your own video streaming can be a big headache with small returns.
We urge you to read the next section on YouTube & Vimeo to understand why those options have a lot of advantages over self-hosting. Whichever way you go, Hencar will be there to help you with every step to ensure your experience is as smooth as possible.
View our other video delivery services: