The VDOLive client is similar in many ways to Xing’s StreamWorks client. Both offer real-time audio and video playback over the ‘net with only a minimal amount of deterioration in quality, but only VDOLive offers seamless integration with your Netscape or Internet Explorer browser for inline support of real-time audio and video. Platforms currently supported include Windows 3.x, 95, and NT with a standalone player, Netscape plug-in, and Internet Explorer ActiveX Control included in each download. A free starter version of the VDOLive Server (for Windows NT or Unix platforms) is also available for download and can be used to offer streamed multimedia content both on the Internet and on private Intranets. The starter server is limited to 25 concurrent streams and a maximum bandwidth of 56 Kbps per stream.
VDOlive also produces a standard commercial server that features on-demand and broadcast capabilities, support for an unlimited number of streams, and scalable video up to 512 Kbps per stream. The VDOLive Server costs $7,500 and includes technical support and unlimited copies of the VDOLive Tools for encoding on-demand streaming content. While the standard server can serve live video streams, it requires an additional solution for encoding of these streams. The VDOLive Broadcast Station ($5,000) encodes a live video feed in real time and passes it to a standard server where it is then streamed to end users. The Broadcast Station is currently available only for Windows 95 and can encode and pass through a maximum of three concurrent streams. Enhanced Support can be purchased on an annual basis and includes both standard technical support as well as VDOLive Server software fixes and upgrades. Enhanced support ($2,500 per machine) is required for the first year when purchasing either the VDOLive Standard Server or the VDOLive Broadcast Station.
Both offer real-time audio and video playback over the ‘net with only a minimal amount of deterioration in quality, but only VDOLive offers seamless integration with your Netscape or Internet Explorer browser for inline support of real-time audio and video.
The VDOLive player itself performs admirably even over 14.4 Kbps connections with only an occasionally dropped frame. Given the impressive playback at low speeds as well as superb audio quality, ISDN users and direct ‘net connectors will be even more impressed with the performance of VDOLive. Although VDOLive is still emerging as a viable client, VDO content on the ‘net has already gained quite a following. VDOnet’s VDOLive Gallery offers an extensive listing of VDO content sites, but the technology still has a way to go before it can catch up to the popularity of competitors like RealPlayer. The widespread availability of VDOLive servers has just begun and will hopefully give the technology a better chance of competing with RealPlayer in the near future. Like StreamWorks, this is an app on the cutting edge of technology and will only get better in the future, but it faces an uphill battle against well-entrenched forces from the likes of RealMedia, VivoActive, and Microsoft NetShow.
Pros: Real-time audio and video on demand, solid performance even with slow ‘net
Cons: Lacks the quality/performance found in some competing technologies like RealPlayer G2
New in v3.0.2: MMX and DirectDraw support, automatic upgrade capabilities, VCR controls, improved interface; numerous bug fixes and feature enhancements;
Upgrade Meter: 4
Version Reviewed: 3.02
Operating Systems / Latest Versions:
Windows NT: Intel, Alpha, 2000 UNIX: Sun Solaris (all v3.02)
Windows 95/NT – v3.02. Windows 3.x – v2.1. Macintosh: Power Mac – v3.0