In the last part of our series on the industry's building plans, we focus on streaming technology. Certainly this was the hottest issue a year ago. Since that time, reality has taken hold and the hot Internet stocks, companies and issues have taken a decidedly downturn. Even so, what we're seeing in the broadcast industry is a continuing interest in this arena.
Does your station stream audio/video?
Surprisingly, TV stations were the lowest of the three response categories in streaming. Only one-third of all TV stations are streaming audio/video to the Web. That doesn't mean they don't have a Web presence, just that they may not provide real-time or stored content for playout. Many TV stations have static Web sites, those without streaming capability. About the same higher percentage of both teleproduction/cable and post-production facilities and cable facilities use their Web sites to highlight the content they develop. Hence, they have content they want to show off. Broadcasters are behind the curve.
Is your stream live or recorded?
Not surprisingly, TV stations have the highest percentage of live streaming content. Only about one-third of production facilities and cable provide live material. Overall, just under two-thirds of the facilities that responded to the survey provide recorded or locally-produced content.
The battle over formats
It's a three-way race when it comes to media players. Real Networks is on top with almost 80 percent penetration. Windows Mediaplayer is second. Third is Apple QuickTime. Note that for the cable and production sites, three times as many use QuickTime as do broadcasters. That may have to do with the use of Macs as content generation devices at these facilities.
Who's responsible for fixing it?
Overall, half of the installations rely on the in-house engineering team to maintain the Internet technology. A surprising 62 percent of the production facilities rely on in-house engineers. Only a third of the cable and teleproduction facilities rely on in-house engineering staff. Overall, about one-fifth of the facilities use an outside vendor for Internet maintenance.