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Web Design in a Nutshell by Jennifer Niederst

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Streaming Audio

Since RealAudio came on the scene in 1994, there has been a stampede of competitors. As of this writing, RealNetworks continues to dominate the market due to the ubiquitous distribution of its player and its proven track record. However, some competitors offer niche products that may better suit your particular need.

There are many other streaming audio formats, some of which are targeted at optimizing voice-only sound samples. This area of technology is developing quickly, and companies come and go quickly. For a current list of contenders, you can check the plug-in list on Netscape’s web site (http://www.netscape.com/comprod/products/navigator/version_2.0/plugins/audio-video.html ).

Available Technologies

The following list represents just a few of the options for adding streaming audio to your Web site. The web sites listed with each technology provide complete information on how the system works, pricing structures, and the required software components.

RealAudio (RealNetworks)

Progressive Networks (now RealNetworks) was a pioneer in producing a viable technology for bringing streaming audio to the Web. Despite heavy competition, it leads the pack in terms of widespread use and popularity, and has grown to be the standard for putting audio online.

RealAudio is a server-based streaming audio solution with a special emphasis on optimizing audio for 14.4 and 28.8 connections. To listen to RealAudio files, users must download and install RealPlayer, which is available ...

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