The Price of Quality Streaming

Daniel Mitchell

Jerky movement, poor to nonexistent sound, and fuzzy, buffering images seem to be all that adult sites can manage these days; even with the latest improvements in technologies and streaming. I’ve been a Webmaster for several years and a keen observer as to where streaming video is going now and in the future and often question whether it would be more practical for adult sites to either stream high quality movies or nothing at all, simply because of the poor quality they provide that is eventually just a blur anyway after minutes of buffering.

Traffic and Expectations
I understand that providing high quality streaming movies, especially free ones, is a enormous risk and could even be viewed as a financial nightmare, but I feel it would not only be more practical but also beneficial for sites that provide streaming video to provide high quality and gain a substantial increase in visitors and potential members because they do provide what every other adult site doesn’t: High quality streaming movies, that aren’t jerky, have full rich sound and crystal clear images that don’t buffer right in the middle of the action…

The majority of surfers and webmasters alike believe that the quality of streaming video on the Internet is somewhat diminished, so that in return you can see the video clip almost immediately. However, if your Internet connection is slow (less than 56K), there may be “thinning” of the video during the playback. If you miss a section, you can scroll to the approximate place and replay the stream. You can also try “exiting” your player and reloading it again from the web site, which sometimes plays a missing section. Although this is somewhat true, not all streaming sites that I have viewed have diminished images, and a select few even provided almost equal quality images and sound on 56K in comparison to their broadband selection.

I’ve been a member of various adult sites to evaluate their streaming quality and so far only a handful of elite sites have satisfied the level I believe all streaming sites should be at in regards to quality, size and length. Another question that I also have difficulty answering is why adult sites don’t actually provide a “FREE” movie when they say they do, and why if you’re going to give something away wouldn’t you make it the highest quality so that customers will return and possibly join?

The only elite sites I’ve seen that are anywhere close to what my expectation level is are and Not only do they provide an actual free movie but also the streaming quality is one of the highest I’ve seen on the Internet and satisfies my expectations of where technology on the Internet should be. Even at full screen the videos still streamed crystal clear with no buffering.

Granted, the cost to provide free high quality streaming to millions of surfers would be expensive but imagine the amount of traffic that would return and consequently become members purely because of the high quality of the content they saw on these sites.

Stream For You
For the sites that already have streaming in place and set up I can’t understand why they wouldn’t simply improve on their quality to capture a market that’s relatively untouched by high quality streaming rather than provide the usual garbage produced and streamed by the majority of sites. It’s simple to improve on, and various professionals in the industry can help in this select area. Larger sites could even look at providing real-time streaming.

Unlike progressive streaming, real-time streaming requires a special streaming server. This can be a QuickTime Streaming Server, a Real Networks Server or a Windows Media Server.

Video streamed for real-time plays automatically. You don't need to download the entire video before playing. You can jump to any location in the video clip. And the clip always resides on the server. Video encoded for real-time streaming generally tries to keep pace with the user's connection speed in order to minimize interruptions and stalling. There's nothing you can do about general Net congestion, but the streaming server at least tries to compensate by maintaining a constant connection.

For the sites that don’t have streaming facilities or even download facilities, in my experience and opinion to capture more of the market and even expand your site and become better known it is essential to even just look into these possibilities. There are thousands of articles that can help you implement a streaming section. You could even create a simple Web page, encode your video using a progressive streaming method, and embed the clip into your site. Or, if you're determined to stream the video, you might consider using a third party and their servers.

The optimal goal is to produce the highest quality video that streams with minimal or no interruptions and a quick download. High quality streaming movies I believe will not only be the future of adult entertainment and adult sites but will also be the benchmark and distinguishing factors between the average, good and “Must Join” sites. Remember if you produce a high quality video with a high frame rate, a large viewing window, and a high data rate, you will get a video that looks great but will only be viewable for people with fast connections. If you encode with speed and delivery in mind, the quality suffers. This doesn’t apply to all streams but refers to the majority of sites that are streaming.