HTTP Streaming

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This article deals with how to stream media from your website. It does NOT deal with the Media Streaming feature as accessible from the Dreamhost panel.

HTTP Streaming

All of our hosting packages support HTTP streaming media (also known as Progressive Download). You can use our servers to stream audio and video in both Real Media and Windows Media formats as long as they do not violate any Copyright laws.

HTTP streaming is more than adequate for most of our customer needs and If you have a music act or business then streaming media is a far more powerful tool than allowing MP3 downloads from your web sites (which our hosting packages also allow). When you stream an audio or video file the user of that file is able to hear or see that file almost immediately because it plays as it downloads. When you download an MP3 you have to wait until the entire file is loaded before you can use it. A typical visitor would have to wait around 10 seconds for a video or audio stream to start playing, regardless of the length of the track or video.  

To set up HTTP streaming on your account you first need to make your file. Start by compressing your file into a suitable format like WMA, WMV, RM, MP3, etc.

Real Media

To Stream Real Media you should compress your file into a .rm file with a bit rate smaller than a typical modem - eg 32kbits per second (note the distinction between bits and bytes - 1 byte=8 bits).

You should upload this file to the server and then make a .ram file linking to this .rm file. To make a ram file, open notepad in Windows or Text Edit/Simple Text on Mac OS then type:

http://www.yourdomain.com/foldername/mytrack.rm
<<-----blank line----->>

and save as a .ram file. You should then link to the .ram file from your web site.

Windows Media files

To stream for Windows Media Player save as a .wma for audio or a .wmv for video files. and link to them from your web site. The latest versions of Media Player will automatically stream these files.


MP3 files

To stream for MP3 save as a .mp3 and link to them from your web site. MP3 will stream as long as your visitors media client supports it.

On a side note if you would want to have the link launch a separate player instead of play in the browser or if you just want to have it play more than one file in a row, you should use a .M3U or .PLS file. (.PLS MPEG Playlist file as used by WinAmp)