WWW FAQ: How can I distribute audio through the Web?


How can I distribute audio through the Web?

Not all web browsers have audio support built-in, but nearly all can launch external "viewers" to handle audio. These player programs are widely available as freeware or shareware for most architectures (or standard with your operating system).

Audio is a particularly thorny case owing to the need to download the entire audio program before it can be heard. Fortunately, there are now systems available which avoid this problem by playing the audio as it is downloaded.

RealAudio
By Progressive Networks (URL is <URL:http://www.realaudio.com> ). The RealAudio player can communicate with a specialized RealAudio server in order to play back audio as it is downloaded, eliminating download delays even over long distances and slow modems. RealAudio now supports a variety of quality levels and non-audio features such as HTML pages displayed in synchronization with the audio. RealAudio players are available for Microsoft Windows, the Macintosh, and several Unix platforms.
StreamWorks
By Xing Technology (URL is <URL:http://www.xingtech.com/>). StreamWorks also provides streaming audio playback, again in conjunction with a special StreamWorks server. Video is also available and can be played back over modems at reduced frame rates. StreamWorks players are available for Microsoft Windows, the Macintosh and several Unix platforms.
Winplay
Winplay <URL:http://www.iis.fhg.de/departs/amm/layer3/winplay3> is unusual in that it offers very high-quality audio using MPEG Level 3 compression, which is currently not available in other products. For Windows only at the time of this writing. Winplay does not currently offer a specialized streaming server.
VocalTec
VocalTec <URL:http://www.vocaltec.com/> also offers streaming audio technology for the web. VocalTec's Internet Wave product is available for the Microsoft Windows platform only.

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