Here's an overview of the three video delivery methods (switchable via your Default Settings > Delivery Options we offer.
- Progressive (HTML5 and Flash players) - This is the traditional way video is served over the Internet. The video is loaded/buffered and the playhead typically plays behind it. The upside is: once the video is loaded, then the viewer can watch it over and over without using more bandwidth. The downside is: if a viewer loads the whole video, but only watches a portion, then all that additional bandwidth was essentially wasted.
- Streaming (HTML5 Player only, Deprecated for Flash) - This serves the video to the viewer in real-time. If the viewer pauses the video, then no more bandwidth is used. This is a good method to use for long-form videos because it's only going to use as much bandwidth as the length of video that's played. The only real downside to this is that it requires the viewer have a faster and more robust Internet connection (4+Mbps download speed should be a sufficient minimum).
- Adaptive bit rate (HTML5 Player only, Deprecated for Flash) - This uses the same delivery protocols as Streaming. However, it also detects the viewer's Internet connection speed and device hardware speed, then serves the appropriate video quality. It also features a video quality button on the player where the viewer can change the quality if they choose to.
Getting more technical, Progressive uses HTTP to deliver content while Streaming and Adaptive use Adobe's RTMP Protocol. Due to the different protocols and ports in use, it's possible that some networks may have more trouble playing one over the other. RTMP currently only operates through Flash Player. Any devices which don't support Flash will fallback to Progressive. This will be the case until the standards for RTMP via HTML5 mature.
How can I save bandwidth?
Bandwidth is a commodity which is becoming faster and cheaper on a regular basis. Video content is one of the highest uses of bandwidth in the world. That's no easy feat! Our Solutions Team will aim to get at much included bandwidth allotted to your account as your needs desire. As your needs grow, you may be looking for ways to save bandwidth and/or increase the bandwidth allotment on your account. Here, we will assist with the former. The most important part to saving bandwidth is to understand your viewers habits and needs. Consider the following:
Why Streaming or Adaptive is better - If you have videos longer than 5-10 minutes and your viewers have a short attention span, then it might be best to use Streaming or Adaptive to deliver your videos. This way, no bandwidth will be wasted if they don't watch the whole video.
Why Progressive is better - If you have very short (1-3 minutes) videos or very long (1 hour+) videos and your viewers will tend to re-watch portions within the same sitting, then Progressive will likely be the best option to deliver your videos. Educational content is one use case where this can be considered. In addition, poor Internet connection speeds (under 1Mbps) will typically have a faster loading time and smoother playback than Streaming/Adaptive.
Note: We will never restrict bandwidth speeds nor allowance for your videos. If you exceed your account's bandwidth allotment, then you will see overages on your future invoice(s). If overages become common, then we recommend submitting a support ticket and we will get you in touch with our Solutions Team to customise a plan which is better for your increased needs.