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

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Chapter 6. Encoding, Serving, and Streaming Sound with RealAudio

RealAudio is the premier platform for streaming audio and video on the Web. While MP3 and QuickTime may have higher quality audio and video compression, neither provides RealAudio’s advanced server functionality, reliability, and administrative tools—features that are needed to carry out large-scale professional broadcasting. RealAudio not only provides a streaming media delivery format and media player, but its server technology optimizes audio playback over multiple modem connection speeds.

The RealMedia System works behind the scenes to deliver the best quality audio stream to both high- and low-bandwidth users. Interactive short-form audio formats such as Flash, Shockwave, and Beatnik are tailored for sound effects and loops and do not offer features for managing and controlling streams over various connection rates. Flash and Beatnik are also more likely to cause audio drop-outs and error messages when streaming long-form audio files.

Professional developers opt for RealAudio for a number of reasons, including:

  • RealAudio provides the most reliable cross-platform server system for broadcasting audio and video to large audiences.

  • The RealEncoder (renamed RealProducer in the G2 version) offers tools that make encoding an effortless task.

  • RealAudio has the largest install base of viewers and listeners, with QuickTime a close second.

In this chapter, we introduce you to the basic components of the RealMedia System and then ...

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