Total posts : 45366
Unlimited is probably a a poor choice of terms on my part, as all real world systems do have limits 🙂 Peer to peer internet streaming (streamerp2p, etc.) doesn’t have the connection limits of a central server, as each listener re-serves the stream to the next listener connected – tree and branch rather than hub and spoke. One very real limit there is the willingness of listeners to donate a chunk of their bandwidth to a broadcaster’s stream. Streamer and other P2P streaming applications usually give listeners the ability to opt in, opt out or throttle shared bandwidth.
On the other hand, some streaming broadcasters do use significantly less that 56kbs for a stream. Spoken word/talk radio/news and weather content can be streamed in mono at rates as low as 8 kbps. With audio processing, OGG encoding and VBR music can be streamed at average rates as low as 16 kbps. Not CD quality, but neither is AM radio 😀
Central server solutions are getting less expensive all the time and the server managers often offer other services like rights clearance/DMCA fee management, down-time protection, tech support and storage space. In my experience central server streams start faster, buffer less and drop off less than P2P. Also, as much as most of us would love to have the problem of too many listeners, that hasn’t really come up for me yet 🙁 I was serving SCWIS using a 166 PC as my central server with WinMedia encoder 7.0 @ 20kbps mono. I never had more than three simultaneous connections according to the server logs.
Peer to peer streaming is much less expensive financially, but much more difficult technically to set up and manage. ALL your listeners have to install your client (yeesh). The buffering can be awful as the listeners add and drop, the stream can stop suddenly for no reason. The author might release a new version that forces you and all your listeners to upgrade (yeesh & yeesh).
With all its warts, I still get a kick out of P2P streaming, it just seems more “independent,” but that’s me – I also play midi music on my radio station 😉