Real-time streaming audio/video client and server software
Based on the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 compression formats, Vosaic MediaServer is a unique product in that it separates audio and video content into separate streams (which is beneficial for maintaining audio and video synchronization in high-traffic situations) while providing a Java-based client that can be run on any Web server.
Vosaic MediaServer works in conjunction with any Web server on any platform, supporting a high frame rate (15fps to 30fps) in high-bandwidth situations. The Vosaic MediaServer isn't difficult to install and configure: all you do is unzip or untar the distribution file, run an installation program via a Web browser, and make sure that the Vosaic MediaServer files are installed in the proper locations. You'll also want to make sure that the MediaServer knows where the movie and audio files are installed (as created by Vosaic Studio, which ships as part of MediaServer). Based on the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 compression formats, Vosaic MediaServer is a unique product in that it separates audio and video content into separate streams while providing a Java-based client that can be run on any Web server.
Performance is decidedly mixed with Vosaic MediaServer, although most of the movies we transmitted were more than acceptable. Although we didn't test Vosaic MediaServer in a firewall situation, we had concerns about whether both streams would make it through most firewall situations. When running, MediaServer displays a real-time log window, providing basic information about the server activity.
The client is functional, but not especially noteworthy - the four on-screen buttons support play/pause, fast forward, rewind and stop, but they don't provide additional feedback information such as the length of the movie or how much time has elapsed. The most notable aspect of the client is its availability across a number of operating systems - Windows 95, Windows NT, Irix, and Solaris. In addition, the client offers support as a Netscape Navigator plug-in or as a Microsoft Internet Explorer ActiveX control.
In a mixed-OS environment, Vosaic MediaServer makes a lot of sense and is worthy of considerable attention. When running as a purely Internet application, however, Vosaic MediaServer's relatively high price tag diminishes its value when compared to other streaming audio and video products.
Pros: Available on a wide variety of operating systems, easy to install, freeware client
Cons: Subpar performance relative to competing products, expensive