Webcasting takes a standard media signal (i.e. audio from a phone line or video from camera) and converts it in a process called “encoding”. This is completed in a language your computer understands such as Windows Media, QuickTime or Flash. Once it is encoded, the message is sent to a real-time server using a protocol like rtmp & distributed on a worldwide server infrastructure which allows you to view the event videocast when you go to the webcast page using any ordinary browser.
What is the difference between webcasting and streaming?
The terms are often used interchangeably though there may be a small difference:
Streaming is the technology behind webcasting that allows us to send audio or video signals online, in the form of a ‘stream’ of ‘packets of digital information’ for broadcasting live event media or even on demand (archived) media..
Webcasting incorporates interactive features added to the streaming media content, which takes the raw media (video and/or audio and/or digital presentations from the desktop) and turns it into a corporate presentation.
What is the difference between Webcasting & Webconferencing?
Web Conferencing is a complete, software based application that is intended for “many-to-many” communications or collaboration, exactly like a telephone conference call. Web Conferencing can be used on demand and is completely self serve – you control all facets of the communication from your desktop via a service that you must sign on to.
Webcasting is a “one-to-many” communication tool with presenters broadcasting a message out to remote viewers, watching on the Internet. Although it is also software-based, a webcast differs somewhat from web conferencing applications in that it does not allow the remote audience members to communicate directly with the host. However, Webcasts can be customized to include Live Chat Technology into the same display screen, which facilitates live, audience to host communication.
When to use Video rather than an Audio webcast?
The YouTube generation has exerted a huge influence on corporate communications strategies, with audiences expecting nothing less than full-featured audio-visual technologies being utilized as a matter of course. Webcasting allows you to leverage full motion audio-video content but it is vital that this method of communication be used intelligently, selecting the best media format for your needs.
Video is generally recommended when for example…
CEO’s are addressing the company as a whole;
When a company or any organization is looking to reach out to remote areas they cannot normally communicate with;
To address prospects, customers or buyers directly.
For communicating with home-based consumers or shareholders.
Though these days Streaming Video is the only tool of choice for the most effective communication.
What’s the difference between “bandwidth” and “bit-rate”?
The terms are used interchangeably. However, “bandwidth” technically means the size and capacity of your internet connection (dial-up, high-speed, or cable).
“Bit-rate” refers to the speed with which data (bits) can pass through the connection (bandwidth).
The choices for webcasting used to be as low as 56 to 150 kbps (ie. kilobytes per second) for old dial-up systems. However, in today’s broadband-based world stream rates of 500 to 800 kbps are common, with rates for some events going even higher to transmit high definition video streams.
Should my Webcast be High Definition (HD) or Standard Definition (SD)?
Most consumer Internet connections, while technically being broadband, may not have the bandwidth to stream a high definition signal smoothly. It is therefore more useful to broadcast your video in standard definition, which requires less bandwidth then HD and will provide a smoother stream, which your viewers will appreciate. Read an article on this topic on our blog…
When should I start planning for my Event Webcast?
The more notice and planning you can invest the event generally will result in the best end result. As a general rule, webcast pages should be built and email invitations should be sent out no later than 2 weeks before the event.
What are the major variables affecting cost?
Streaming media (audio or video)
Streaming Format – Flash (flv), H.264, QuickTime, Windows Media Video (wmv)
Duration of the webcast – longer webcasts use more bandwidth.
Size of the remote audience – more viewers use more bandwidth
Signal acquisition i.e. ADSL, Cable, Cellular Modem, T1 line, Satellite (in increasing order of cost)
Extra features selected – e.g. Live Online Chat, archiving, multi-camera productions, etc.
Customization of the web interface to match your corporate look
Other professional services required – e.g. extra operators, more cameras, AV services, PowerPoint direct capture, etc.
How do I calculate the Bandwidth I will use?
Bandwidth required for an event webcast =
Stream-rate (kbps) X Audience Size X Webcast Duration (hours)
How do I estimate how many people will watch my webcast?
This can either be done by ‘guesstimation’ (which can lead to an unnecessarily high cost) or it can be estimated much more accurately by using an online registration process.
Most event managers grossly overestimate viewership if they make even an educated guess, as attrition rates are pretty high.
Online registration (free or via a pey-per-view system) will give a much more accurate viewer number.
How do we measure the success of a webcast?
Attendance is the first item generally measured to determine the success of an event This is easily done through webcast stats that will give you ‘up to the minute’ reporting the number of viewers in real-time plus stats available on request after the event, showing where your viewers were located.
What do I need on my computer to experience a webcast?
Every computer these days comes fully equipped with everything you need to view a webcast: a Mac or a PC with a Pentium processor, a sound card with computer speakers (or headphones) and a regular Web Browser like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Safari. You do not need anything more than you already have.
Can I ask a question during a Live Streaming Webcast?
Yes you can, if you have opted for the Live Interactive Chat feature. This puts a live chat screen next to the webcast video, where viewers can ask questions in real-time and a moderator can relay them to the presenters for answering them at once. Click here to see what a very basic chat screen looks like.
Will viewers see third-party ads on my videos?
No, we don’t run any pre-roll or in-player display ads during our live streams, but can integrate your branding or sponsors branding in the form of ad placements if you’d like. Optionally, we can also run video ads of your sponsors between presentations or during breaks if you like.