Some bandwidth data points on video streaming live events: iOSDevCamp Seattle 2010

Posted by bryanzug - 2010/09/04

Great question from Saul Kaplan came my way this AM via my pal Josh Mauldin. Looks like Saul is preparing a live stream for a Mini Maker Faire in Rhode Island on September 16th.

Saul asks:

Anyone have benchmark data on live streaming events? Estimating peak # for how many might simultaneously watch live stream of

As they say Saul, ask and ye shall receive.

First to note, the upload bandwidth (1) has nothing to do with the (2) download bandwidth people need to watch it on most services like UStream.

As a producer, you upload to UStream via your (1) connection to the web and UStream streams it out to everyone via (2) the connection from their server farm(s) to the individual computers people are watching the stream on.

This is mostly limited by the viewers connection to the internet – so people with lower bandwidth connections just see a lower quality version of the video (e.g. lower frames per second, lower resolution).

On to the data…

Here’s some data from our recent streaming of iOSDevCamp Seattle that we did at PinchZoom‘s meetup space (which we loving call The Watercooler at the Center of the Universe).

Here’s the details of the setup:

  • We used UStream Producer Pro to mix a live multicam stream for the event.

  • For this event we used the Standard HD Quality 16:9 – 960×540 @ 30fps, 650kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo setting in UStream Producer Pro. I’ve listed all the options Producer Pro offers below, so you can get an idea about alternate bandwidths.

  • Whatever setup you use, a good rule of thumb is to have enough upload bandwith to handle twice the amount of the average data rate.

  • Also, the only way to monitor when the stream is up is to have someone watch and listen to it. So you are gonna need bandwidth for that. Usually this will adjust itself to the bandwidth available and you can use a very low bandwidth viewing stream to make sure everything is working OK.

Here are three session examples. I’ve included a few data points for each that give a good idea of the real world requirements. They are:

  • Flash Video FLV File Size:

    • UStream allows you to download a Flash Video FLV file of anything you session you record to the server when you are logged into your account. This size is what exactly was required to upload this video to UStream.

    • You can view FLV’s like these via VLC player pretty easily if you wanna see the quality outside of the browser of what UStream captured to their server.

  • Length of each session

  • Data rates of bandwidth required to broadcast each video in kbps (kilobits per second), KBps (kilobytes per second), MBps (megabytes per second), mbps (megabits per second) of bandwidth

    • I’m not a network guy, so I always get confused by MBps vs. mbps conversions.

    • I “think” I know enough to say they are different and that I’ve calculated these correctly.

    • If anyone sees any errors in these data conversions, please ping me via twitter (@bryanzug) let me know.

    • I used this utility to help with the conversion and terminology here.

So here are the examples:

  • Joe Marini: Windows Mobile Product Manager

    • View on UStream
    • Link to FLV Flash Video File
    • FLV Flash Video File Size: 358 MB
    • Length: 1 hr 5 min (65 min or 3900 seconds)
    • Bandwidth required to broadcast this video:
      • kbps: 728
      • KBps: 91
      • mbps: 0.728
      • MBps: 0.091
  • Brian Fling: Making Money in Mobile

    • View on UStream
    • Link to FLV Flash Video File
    • FLV Flash Video File Size: 400 MB
    • Length: 1 hr 7 min (67 min or 4020 seconds)
    • Bandwidth required to broadcast this video:
      • kbps: 792
      • KBps: 99
      • mbps: 0.792
      • MBps: 0.099
  • Lauren Isaacson: the State of the iOS Market

    • View on UStream
    • Link to FLV Flash Video File
    • FLV Flash Video File Size: 303 MB
    • Length: 0 hr 50 min (50 min or 3000 seconds)
    • Bandwidth required to broadcast this video:
      • kbps: 808
      • KBps: 101
      • mbps: 0.808
      • MBps: 0.101

Conclusion

So it takes roughly a continuous 0.81 mbps connection to broadcast video of this quality via UStream. Doubling that to account for bursts means you should have a connection of roughly 1.5-1.6 mbps for an HD stream.

Doubling back through the UStream producer pro settings below, you should be able to calculate rough rates for whaterver quality of stream you want to produce.

UStream Producer Pro Settings

There are several settings you can select in UStream Producer Pro. They are:

  • Lowest SD Quality 4:3
    • 320×240 @ 20fps, 200kbps, AAC 32k Mono
  • Lowest SD Quality 16:9
    • 352×198 @ 20fps, 200kbps, AAC 32k Mono
  • Basic SD Quality 4:3
    • 320×240 @ 20fps, 350kbps, AAC 32k Mono
  • Basic SD Quality 16:9
    • 352×198 @ 20fps, 350kbps, AAC 32k Mono
  • Standard SD Quality 4:3
    • 320×240 @ 30fps, 350kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo
  • Standard SD Quality 16:9
    • 352×198 @ 30fps, 350kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo
  • High SD Quality 4:3
    • 640×480 @ 30fps, 500kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo
  • High SD Quality 16:9
    • 720×405 @ 30fps, 500kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo
  • Best SD Quality 4:3
    • 640×480 @ 30fps, 600kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo
  • Best SD Quality 16:9
    • 720×405 @ 30fps, 600kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo
  • Standard HD Quality 16:9
    • 960×540 @ 30fps, 650kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo
  • High HD Quality 16:9
    • 960×540 @ 30fps, 800kbps, AAC 44.1k Stereo


Rives at TED: It is not a question of if you can, it’s do ya?

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/03/21

The TED conference videos are some of the most amazing pieces of free learning I have ever seen. While working out last week I was going through the que of them on my iPod when I came across this 4 minute piece by spoken word artist Rives — a riff on “If I Ran the Internet”.

Amazing — I watched it over and over again for 40 minutes on the eliptical.

As some of you know, I aspire to geek spoken word, and this, I think is the pinnacle of that admittedly narrow genre. Choice quotes —

  • “It is not a question of if you can, it’s do ya?”
  • “We can make ‘you’ve got hallelujah’ the national anthem of the cyberspace every lucky time you log on.”

Here it is from YouTube —



Screencasts on Camtasia 4 Flash and Quiz Features

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/11/07

Brooks Andrus has blogged some very nice screencasts on new Flash and Quiz features in Camtasia Studio 4. Brooks works for TechSmith, the company that makes Camtasia.

I am just getting up to speed on the full feature set of this release, but it looks like they’ve got some nice variable output options for ipod and flash video — definitely steps in the right direction — being able to repurpose your screencasts to multiple environments is becoming a standard requirement these days — Camtasia’s pan-and-zoom feature is indefensible indespensible on that front.



Cerner 2006: Blogs & Screencasts in the Quest for Training Attention

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/10/09

I am in Orlando today presenting a session called “Blogs & Screencasts in the Quest for Training Attention” at the 2006 Cerner Health Conference. From the session description:

In the quest for user attention, blogs and screencasts are more that buzzwords. Join us as we examine how these technologies help organizations capture valuable elements of “watercooler conversations” and leverage them toward system and process training. Session will include: An introduction to blogs, screencasts, and RSS; An examination of why content produced and distributed with these methodologies is naturally interesting to users; A short tour of WordPress and Camtasia — two popular blog and screencasting tools.
Here’s the links to the files from the session —
  • PDF of Keynote Slides (PDF – 7 MB)
  • Installing WordPress via DreamHost320×240 (YouTube Flash Video)
  • Installing WordPress via DreamHost1024×768 (Quicktime – 370 MB)
  • Installing WordPress via DreamHost320×240 (Quicktime – 73 MB)
  • Intro to RSS Readers via Newgator1024×768 (Quicktime – 268 MB)
  • Intro to Camtasia1024×768 (Quicktime – 63 MB)



FooBar Sessions as Literature

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/29

Berkun has a great writeup of his FooCamp experience from last weekend. Sounds like a great time.

Found myself nodding with this lowlight observation ––

I’m guessing fewer sessions were recorded or taped this year. I don’t know why, but the vibe was much less about blogging, posting and publishing in real-time than last year. Maybe this is not a lowlight – not sure.

Seems to me that this is both a highlight and a lowlight. In one sense, people are more focused on engaging with the stuff around them –– the facilitator, the content, the people, the space.

That’s a big win in my book as the ‘must blog’ buzz is subsiding in favor of more human lids down engagement  (laptops, not eyes).

On the other hand, having just done a full weekend of session video capture at BarCamp Vancouver, it’s a lowlight to me that so many great conversations that could have been captured and passed on just won’t.

In a sense, our ‘now’ orientation keeps us from seeing the connections that are waiting to happen outside of the room/people/time of a particular setting like this.

And yet, when things get captured decently, they have great potential to take on a kind of life of their own — making connections and sparking fires that we can’t see in the moment — kind of like good literature does over the ages.

Even capturing a session that is not hit-it-out-of-the-park-fantastic is fun for me because the presenter is always really grateful and will usually go back and see the things they did well and learn things they could do better next time.

All the stuff, those rhetoric classes were supposed to teach you, but, because you never saw the relevance, never did.

Anyway — the weekend was really useful to help me think through this participate/capture dichotomy — lots of ideas percolating on how to bridge the gap.

Can’t wait for Mind Camp 3.0 to try ‘em out.



Interviewed on blogs and podcasting in the corporate environment

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/06/14

Caught up with Stuart Maxwell of the Seattle Podcasting Network (SPN) a few weeks ago at the Seattle TechCrunch party.

We talked about the challenges of using blogs, podcasting and new media tools in the corporate environment — great chat.

I cover some of the ins and outs of spreading the vision for these types of projects in healthcare (and other non-tech-industry) organizations (like the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford where I currently work).

Stuart recorded our conversation and has posted it to the as ‘SPN Podcast – TechCrunch Party Interviews: Part Two’.

Part 1 is also available from the SPN site.



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