Internet video

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Internet video (online video / cloud-based video) is the general field that deals with the transmission of digital video over the internet. Internet video exists in several formats, the most notable being MPEG-4 AVC, AVCHD, FLV, and MP4.


There are several online video hosting services, including YouTube, as well as Vimeo, Twitch, and Youku. In recent years, the platform of internet video has been used to stream live events. As a result of the popularity of online video, notable events like the 2012 U.S. presidential debates have been streamed live on the internet. Additionally, internet video has played an important role in the music industry as a medium to watch music videos and gain popularity for songs.

Video file formats

Practical online video streaming was only made possible with advances in data compression, due to the impractically high bandwidth requirements of uncompressed video. Raw digital video requires a bandwidth of 168 Mbit/s for SD video, and over 1  Gbit/s for FHD video. [1]

The most important compression technique that enabled practical video streaming is the discrete cosine transform (DCT), [2] a form of lossy compression first proposed in 1972 by Nasir Ahmed, who then developed the algorithm with T. Natarajan and K. R. Rao at the University of Texas in 1973. [3] The DCT algorithm is the basis for the first practical video coding format, H.261, in 1988, [4] and all the MPEG video formats from 1991 onwards. [2]

MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding)

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is the most widely used video coding format on the Internet. It was developed in 2003 by a number of organizations, with patents primarily from Panasonic, Godo Kaisha IP Bridge and LG Electronics. [5] It uses a discrete cosine transform (DCT) algorithm with higher compression ratio than the preceding MPEG-2 Video format. It is the format used by video streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, and iTunes Store.

AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition)

AVCHD, or Advanced Video Coding High Definition, uses one of the more efficient video coding formats. It was announced in May 2006 and since then has grown into a high-quality video format that can compete with other professional forms of media. The AVCHD is geared towards consumer shooters; this is largely because the AVCHD format capitalizes on the H.264/MPEG-4 video that is able to compress video to smaller sizes in order to allow more video to be stored in the same storage capacity. [6]

FLV (Flash Video)

Flash Video (FLV) is encoded video by Adobe Flash software in order to play within the Adobe Flash Player. It is the most common sharing format on the internet today. It is estimated that 99% of users have flash installed on their browser. The majority of video-sharing websites stream videos in Flash, most notably YouTube.

MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4)

MPEG-4 is known as a sharing format for the internet. In recent years an increasing number of camcorder and cameras began employ it. Moreover, YouTube recommends using the MP4 Format (Although it accepts multiple formats, YouTube either converts them to .flv or .mp4 files). Apple is another company that has backed MP4 by using it in its QuickTime player. [7]


YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The first video on the platform was "Me at the zoo" uploaded by Karim on the first YouTube channel, jawed, in April 2005.

In October 2005, Nike became the first major company to embrace YouTube as a promotional platform. They were the first company to do this and since then YouTube has provided a means of displaying internet video in order to help companies promote their products. Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in October 2006 and since then it has developed it even further. [8] Since then, it has become the most popular website for watching internet video. For example, the hours of video watched per month on YouTube totaled 6 billion. [9] As of 2014, there were one billion unique users to YouTube each month. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 years old than any cable network. [10]

Other video platforms

Aside from YouTube, there are several other internet video platforms, which despite being less popular, are still used by many. Vimeo is a key example of this. Vimeo has over thirty million registered members and has a global reach of over 170 million each month. Their mission statement is to “empower and inspire people around the world to create, share, and discover videos”. [11] Another online internet video platform which was founded in June 2012 is Vine. It involves a short video on a six-second loop. Once the "Vine" is uploaded, it can be published on social media. Social media played a large role in making this a more popular internet video service.

Live streaming

Live streaming is another important aspect of internet video. This is when particular events are streamed using a live form of internet video. A key example of this is that in 2008 and 2012, during the Presidential election, the debates between the two candidates were live-streamed on YouTube.

Live streaming has also been used as a means of promoting exposure for a particular product or business. This is largely because platforms such as YouTube provide a cheap, and usually free, means to access millions of users. Whether that be potential customers on laptops, smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. A study conducted by SocialMediaExaminer supports this hypothesis using YouTube as a particular example. [12]

A sign of the growth of importance of internet video live streaming refers to the change in business model of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). [13] Previously the WWE’s business model involved receiving huge numbers of pay-per-view buys for special events hosted once per month and charging approx. $44.95 (Dependent on retailer) for each. [14] However, in February 2014 they launched a 24/7 streaming network charging $9.99 per month in order to get access to every "special event". This shows that one of the largest entertainment companies was willing to adopt to a live streaming/internet video model in order to support their business. Many other companies such as BBC (with iPlayer), ITV (with ITV Player) and Channel 4 (with 4oD) have made use of internet video to allow users to livestream content, or watch on demand later.


Both live streaming and internet videos have faced controversy in recent years, largely because it is extremely difficult to access all the live-streams which show particular events. This infringes on the issue of copyright. Rights-holders face the challenge of content, which includes audio, TV shows and sporting events, being streamed live to the public. [15] As a result, streaming website Justin.TV partnered with content matching service Vobile in order to filter out infringing material. [16] Another example of a copyright issue which occurred to online streaming was when uStream were sued by a boxing promoter in August 2009 for allowing 2,337 users to view a broadcast of the fight Roy Jones Jr. vs Omar Sheika. [17]

YouTube has also faced issues surrounding copyright. For example, in December 2013, [18] many YouTubers who published footage of video games for either review or tutorial purposes were punished and crippled by copyright claims. In the past, YouTube has also faced issues with the music industry over users publishing videos without the permission of the music industry. The issues can be seen by the fact that since 2007, YouTube has paid out one billion dollars to copyright holders. [19] Saying that, the formation of Vevo has aided YouTube in terms of issues with the music industry by allowing artists/labels to get a share of revenue.

The importance of video in the music industry

The growth of internet video has provided a platform to help elevate the music industry. This has most particularly been seen through the platform of YouTube. Chris Maxcy, YouTube’s partner development director stated that “YouTube is the ideal place for labels to promote music and for fans to discover new artists and old favourites”. Moreover, Rio Caraeff, who heads up Universal’s digital group described YouTube as a “revenue stream, a commercial business. It's growing tremendously. It's up almost 80 percent for us year-over-year in the U.S. in terms of our revenue from this category”. [20] In addition, an article published in 2011, [21] believes that YouTube has changed the music industry citing three ways; YouTube allows people to listen to the native music of India, for example, and other regions which would otherwise be difficult to discover. Brittany Wong also believes that YouTube helps to allow people get discovered. This is largely because it allows anybody to post an online video for the world to see. Finally it mentions that the convenience of the platform allows many people to listen to the music, which has increased potential audiences.

Mike Masnik, the CEO and founder of Techdirt, recognized the importance of YouTube in the music industry. [22] In this article he recognizes the potential ability of YouTube in order to allow musicians to increase exposure, and record labels to make money. However, they were naive and did not fully embrace it.

See also

Related Research Articles

In signal processing, data compression, source coding, or bit-rate reduction is the process of encoding information using fewer bits than the original representation. Any particular compression is either lossy or lossless. Lossless compression reduces bits by identifying and eliminating statistical redundancy. No information is lost in lossless compression. Lossy compression reduces bits by removing unnecessary or less important information. Typically, a device that performs data compression is referred to as an encoder, and one that performs the reversal of the process (decompression) as a decoder.

Digital television Transmission of audio and video by digitally processed and multiplexed signal

Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of television audiovisual signals using digital encoding, in contrast to the earlier analog television technology which used analog signals. At the time of its development it was considered an innovative advancement and represented the first significant evolution in television technology since color television in the 1950s. Modern digital television is transmitted in high definition (HDTV) with greater resolution than analog TV. It typically uses a widescreen aspect ratio in contrast to the narrower format of analog TV. It makes more economical use of scarce radio spectrum space; it can transmit up to seven channels in the same bandwidth as a single analog channel, and provides many new features that analog television cannot. A transition from analog to digital broadcasting began around 2000. Different digital television broadcasting standards have been adopted in different parts of the world; below are the more widely used standards:

Digital video is an electronic representation of moving visual images (video) in the form of encoded digital data. This is in contrast to analog video, which represents moving visual images with analog signals. Digital video comprises a series of digital images displayed in rapid succession.

Lossy compression data compression approach that reduces data size while discarding or changing some of it

In information technology, lossy compression or irreversible compression is the class of data encoding methods that uses inexact approximations and partial data discarding to represent the content. These techniques are used to reduce data size for storing, handling, and transmitting content. The different versions of the photo of the cat to the right show how higher degrees of approximation create coarser images as more details are removed. This is opposed to lossless data compression which does not degrade the data. The amount of data reduction possible using lossy compression is much higher than through lossless techniques.

Streaming media Continuous multimedia operated & presented to users by a provider other than conventional broadcast media channels

Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. The verb to stream refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in this manner. Streaming refers to the delivery method of the medium, rather than the medium itself. Distinguishing delivery method from the media distributed applies specifically to telecommunications networks, as most of the delivery systems are either inherently streaming or inherently non-streaming. There are challenges with streaming content on the Internet. For example, users whose Internet connection lacks sufficient bandwidth may experience stops, lags, or slow buffering of the content. And users lacking compatible hardware or software systems may be unable to stream certain content.

Digital media Any media that are encoded in machine-readable formats

Digital media is any media that are encoded in machine-readable formats. Digital media can be created, viewed, distributed, modified and preserved on digital electronics devices. Digital can be defined as any data represented with a series of digits, and Media refers to a method of broadcasting or communicating information together digital media refers to any information that is broadcast to us through a screen. This includes text, audio, video, and graphics that is transmitted over the internet, for viewing on the internet.

A video codec is software or hardware that compresses and decompresses digital video. In the context of video compression, codec is a portmanteau of encoder and decoder, while a device that only compresses is typically called an encoder, and one that only decompresses is a decoder.

Video on demand Systems which allow users to select and watch video or listen to audio content on demand

Video on demand (VOD) is a media distribution system that allows users to access videos without a traditional video playback device and the constraints of a typical static broadcasting schedule. In the 20th century, broadcasting in the form of over-the-air programming was the most common form of media distribution. As Internet and IPTV technologies continued to develop in the 1990s, consumers began to gravitate towards non-traditional modes of content consumption, which culminated in the arrival of VOD on televisions and personal computers.

Advanced Video Coding (AVC), also referred to as H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding, is a video compression standard based on block-oriented, motion-compensated integer-DCT coding. It is by far the most commonly used format for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content, used by 91% of video industry developers as of September 2019. It supports resolutions up to and including 8K UHD.

VLC media player Free and open-source media player and streaming media server

VLC media player is a free and open-source, portable, cross-platform media player software and streaming media server developed by the VideoLAN project. VLC is available for desktop operating systems and mobile platforms, such as Android, iOS, iPadOS, Tizen, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone. VLC is also available on digital distribution platforms such as Apple's App Store, Google Play and Microsoft Store.

Streaming television Distribution of television content via the public internet

Streaming television is the digital distribution of television content, such as TV shows, as streaming video delivered over the Internet. Streaming TV stands in contrast to dedicated terrestrial television delivered by over-the-air aerial systems, cable television, and/or satellite television systems. The use of streaming online video and web television by consumers has seen a dramatic increase ever since the launch of online video platforms such as YouTube and Netflix.

Internet Protocol television Television transmitted over a computer network

Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is the delivery of television content over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. This is in contrast to delivery through traditional terrestrial, satellite, and cable television formats. Unlike downloaded media, IPTV offers the ability to stream the source media continuously. As a result, a client media player can begin playing the content almost immediately. This is known as streaming media.

Google Video Free video hosting service from Google

Google Video was a free video hosting service from Google, similar to YouTube, that allowed video clips to be hosted on Google servers and embedded on to other websites. This allowed websites to host much video remotely without running into bandwidth or storage-capacity issues.

High-definition video is video of higher resolution and quality than standard-definition. While there is no standardized meaning for high-definition, generally any video image with considerably more than 480 vertical scan lines or 576 vertical lines (Europe) is considered high-definition. 480 scan lines is generally the minimum even though the majority of systems greatly exceed that. Images of standard resolution captured at rates faster than normal, by a high-speed camera may be considered high-definition in some contexts. Some television series shot on high-definition video are made to look as if they have been shot on film, a technique which is often known as filmizing.

Flash Video is a container file format used to deliver digital video content over the Internet using Adobe Flash Player version 6 and newer. Flash Video content may also be embedded within SWF files. There are two different Flash Video file formats: FLV and F4V. The audio and video data within FLV files are encoded in the same way as SWF files. The F4V file format is based on the ISO base media file format, starting with Flash Player 9 update 3. Both formats are supported in Adobe Flash Player and developed by Adobe Systems. FLV was originally developed by Macromedia. In the early 2000s, Flash Video was the de facto standard for web-based streaming video. Users include Hulu, VEVO, Yahoo! Video, metacafe,, and many other news providers.

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of current, notable video hosting services. Please see the individual products' articles for further information.

Web television is original episodic online video content produced for broadcast on the Internet via the World Wide Web. The phrase "web television" is also sometimes used to refer to Internet television in general, which includes Internet-transmission of programs produced for both online and traditional terrestrial, cable, or satellite broadcast.

The Apple Intermediate Codec is a high-quality 8-bit 4:2:0 video codec used mainly as a less processor-intensive way of working with long-GOP MPEG-2 footage such as HDV. It is recommended for use with all HD workflows in Final Cut Express, iMovie, and until Final Cut Pro version 5. The Apple Intermediate Codec abbreviated AIC is designed by Apple Inc. to be an intermediate format in an HDV and AVCHD workflow. It features high performance and quality, being less processor intensive to work with than other editing formats. Unlike native MPEG-2 based HDV - and similar to the standard-definition DV codec - the Apple Intermediate Codec does not use temporal compression, enabling every frame to be decoded immediately without decoding other frames. As a result of this, the Apple Intermediate Codec takes three to four times more space than HDV.

A video coding format is a content representation format for storage or transmission of digital video content. It typically uses a standardized video compression algorithm, most commonly based on discrete cosine transform (DCT) coding and motion compensation. Examples of video coding formats include H.262, MPEG-4 Part 2, H.264, HEVC (H.265), Theora, RealVideo RV40, VP9, and AV1. A specific software or hardware implementation capable of compression or decompression to/from a specific video coding format is called a video codec; an example of a video codec is Xvid, which is one of several different codecs which implements encoding and decoding videos in the MPEG-4 Part 2 video coding format in software.

An online video platform (OVP), provided by a video hosting service, enables users to upload, convert, store and play back video content on the Internet, often via a structured, large-scale system that may generate revenue. Users generally will upload video content via the hosting service's website, mobile or desktop application, or other interface (API). The type of video content uploaded might be anything from shorts to full-length TV shows and movies. The video host stores the video on its server and offers users the ability to enable different types of embed codes or links that allow others to view the video content. The website, mainly used as the video hosting website, is usually called the video sharing website.


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