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Video Server Appliances

Two Out of Three

When sending video to the desktop, you want to deliver high quality in real time using minimal bandwidth. And while you can satisfy two of these criteria, meeting the third is virtually impossible. Often when you have high quality and low bandwidth, you sacrifice real-time delivery. With good quality and real-time delivery at either end, bandwidth slides between them, growing toward real-time delivery and shrinking toward good quality.

Although products are getting better at delivering high quality using low bandwidth, longer processing times are the trade-off. The Holy Grail of networked video is a full-screen, 56-Kbps signal using almost no bandwidth. Compression rates like this aren't really achievable, but it's nice to dream.

The Best Codec

Microsoft and RealNetworks have proprietary codecs for video and audio transmission. In contrast, Apple provides a framework that supports many codec standards, including MPEG-4, Pixlet and Sorenson. Cisco Systems also uses a framework-delivery method, but only for its IP/TV products.

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