Streaming video: some practicalities

Jon Haughton, Tony Rest, Tim O'Riordan

Abstract


There are a number of difficulties in using videos and animations in learning and teaching packages, e.g., students lose them, fail to return them on time, and damage VHS tapes, CD-ROMs and DVDs. Additionally, it is not always possible for students to obtain access to such materials when they want them, e.g., laser video discs can only be accessed on site, the download times for video material from the Internet can be very long especially at certain times of the day, and material taken directly from the Internet is often not specific to the student’s needs.

An answer to these difficulties is to deliver, i.e., ‘stream’, the appropriate video and audio material, subject to copyright clearance and licensing, on the institution’s Intranet. A number of sources, e.g., British Universities Film and Video Council (http://www.bufvc.ac.uk/), have described and discussed the
background to this topic in considerable detail and the names of commercial companies, which can provide ‘streaming’ services, are available via the BUFVC web site.

At Southampton we have delivered the videos on ‘Practical Laboratory Chemistry’, produced by the Chemistry Video Consortium (http://www.chemistry.soton.ac.uk/cvc/), over a local 100Mbps network by two routes. In this Technical Note we shall not discuss the theoretical aspects of ‘streaming’ (see above) but rather we shall describe our practical experiences, which we hope will be useful.

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