Magazine article Online

Webcasting: How to Broadcast to Your Customers over the Net

Magazine article Online

Webcasting: How to Broadcast to Your Customers over the Net

Article excerpt

Recommended Reading on Webcasting

The topic this month is Webcasting, which means using streaming media to deliver data over the Internet. The data can be audio, video, animation, or text, delivered with a variety of technologies, including push, unicasting, multicasting, and hybrid technologies. These books will get you started.

Webcasting: How to Broadcast to Your Customers Over the Net by Jessica Keyes. (ISBN:0-07-034581-3; 1997; softcover; 316pp.; $24.95) Available from McGraw-Hill, 11 West l9th Street, New York, NY 10011; 212/337-7972; http://www.computing. mcgraw-hill.com.

If you want to be inspired by Webcasting success stories, this is the book for you. Numerous examples are each given in their own chapter, plus more are scattered throughout the book. The examples range from traditional broadcasting sites to distance learning to workgroup collaboration. However, these are not case studies. You get a very quick peek at what the author thinks is good or exemplary about a site. Then whoosh, off to another site.

Additional coverage is given to the tools, mainly Microsoft's NetShow and NetMeeting, RealAudio's products, VDOLive, and Netscape's partner products. The attempt is to show you how these tools work and how you can implement them in your own site. However, I found the explanations and sample coding too detailed in some areas, and glossed over in others. Unless you already have a good familiarity with what these tools can do, you will need more than this book to implement them.

There is also no comparison between the different products, although you would probably base your decision on what server software you are running. It would still be nice to have a feature comparison and a summary of the pluses and minuses of each product. And finally, I longed for a chapter that pulls everything together-perhaps a detailed case study that showed why and how different decisions were made and tools were implemented.

In spite of being slightly wordy in areas, this book provides a good overview of the concept of Webcasting and the major tools involved in bringing it to your Web site. And even though the book is slightly old (in Internet time), the technology has not yet advanced enough to make this book out of date, particularly if you are not yet interested in the live broadcast aspects of Webcasting.

Internet World Guide to Webcasting by Peggy Miles. (ISBN:0471-24217-9; 1998; softcover; 422pp.; $29.99) Available from John Wiley & Sons, PRTG, 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158-0012; 212/850-6011; http)/www.wiley.com/compbooks.

This is a book for managers who want to know what Webcasting is all about, not for the techies trying to implement it. The author does an excellent job of cutting through the hype and technobabble to present a clear explanation of what Webcasting is, and is not. It covers push, pull, and streaming media, as well as traditional broadcasting technologies. The first three chapters cover the background information required to decide if Webcasting is for you, including the business opportunities and a short primer on the technologies involved. Then the book goes into what is involved in setting up a Webcasting site, giving examples of small, medium and large scale implementations. I especially liked the fact that the author provides price estimates for various projects. …

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