Streaming solutions have come a long way since we started sending video over dedicated phone lines and then the internet. Back in the
day, a streaming appliance was a very expensive,
dedicated piece of hardware that compressed
and uploaded video to a specific server. Operating
it required a dedicated technician, as well as
special data lines—typically ISDN or T1 lines—
to accommodate the massive amounts of data to
Businesses saw that they could save tens of
thousands of dollars on travel by installing use-specific systems, such as the one used by Polycom.
Executives could meet “face to face” thousands
of miles apart, and companies could present
interactive seminars to groups around the world.
Distance learning became part of this as well.
But all of these systems were closed, designed
to work only with their own hardware on both ends
of the pipe. And that pipe used either dedicated
high-speed lines made specifically for this purpose,
One element that has become much easier
to acquire, install, and operate is the hardware
needed to produce a quality stream. Standards now
enable you to use that piece of hardware to send
video to different content delivery networks (CDNs)
that are competing to provide that delivery service
for you. Delivery options range from free services
such as You Tube and Facebook to more business-
directed services that let you go “white label”
and completely brand the service as your own.
Worldwide delivery has become the easy part.
The appliance that does the compression no
longer requires advanced compression knowledge
or networking expertise to operate. These days, for
a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, anyone
can get a dedicated streaming appliance that