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Designing Web Audio & CD-ROM by Dylan Thede, Josh Beggs

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Appendix B. Audio Format Comparison

The following tables will help you select the web audio broadcasting format appropriate for your needs.

RealMedia

Capability

Rating

Browser compatibility and percent of browsers with Plug-in

Excellent.

Interactive sound design capabilities

Fair. Format is designed primarily for streaming media.

Simple synchronized media presentations such as slide shows, audio with moving text, captions, and pictures.

Software cost for encoding and streaming

Free to $695 to $21,595+.

Basic Server with 25 simultaneous streams is free. Basic Server Plus (60 streams) costs $695. The full-featured Internet Solutions Server (400 streams) costs $21,595.

Level of documentation and support

Outstanding.

Audio encoding and content generation

Easy.

Audio authoring and delivery

Medium to Easy.

Medium difficulty to set up dedicated RealServer. Easy to post RealAudio files on standard web server for playback without bandwidth negotiation and other dedicated server features, etc.

Audio fidelity and compression

Excellent.

Low-bandwidth performance

Good/Excellent.

RealNetworks’ RealServer provides bandwidth negotiation for all types of bandwidth connections from 14.4 Kbps modems to T1 lines. RealMedia is designed to look at the user connection speed and then serve a stream that is optimized for that user’s connection.

Server performance and quality of software tools for large-scale streaming

Outstanding—RealServer.

RealNetworks has the most sophisticated servers, ...

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