RA logo  RealAudio Information Page

[All projects using RealAudio and needing access to the MIT RealAudio Server should get in touch directly with Jesse Gilbert ASAP.]

There are several key issues related to using RealAudio for your PORT projects. My first recommendation would be that you thoroughly read Progressive Networks' Content Creation Guide (CCG). I will be glad to provide support for projects, but ONLY if you have read this guide.

The CCG will run you through the basics of how a RA server works, and what you need to think about when creating RA files. You will need to use the RealAudio encoder to compress files to the ra format. You can use the free encoder to create pre-recorded files that will be stored on the RA server at MIT.

Those of you attempting to broadcast live streams will need to see the section below for instructions on how to download the live encoder.

Using the RA Server's Built-In Bandwidth Negotiation

The RealAudio Server has the ability to selectively serve RA files at different levels of compression that correspond to the best quality that the end-user can handle. In other words, someone connecting at 28.8Kbps will get a more highly compressed (and therefore lower quality) sound file than someone connecting with an ISDN line. For more information on how to use this feature, see the Content Creation Guide.

This is an importnant issue in that projects will be broadcasting to a range of clients at very different bandwidth levels. The four computers at MIT are connected to the RA Server on a high-speed LAN, and therefore can handle very high quality files. Users at home will typically be connecting at 28.8Kbps, and your files should always include an option at this level of compression.

Other questions have been raised as to the distribution of the newest version of the RA Player, version 3.0. Many feel that the vast majority of users are still at version 2.0, which supports only two compression codecs, one for 14.4 and 28.8Kbps respectively. RealAudio 3.0 supports stereo broadcasting, as well as higher quality for ISDN and Dual ISDN.

The important point here is that you must think ahead and plan this out if you are going to use this feature. If you want to provide two (or more) levels of compression for the same audio source file you will have to encode that source two (or more times).

Live Streaming

Many projects are incorporating live streaming, and this requires a great deal of coordination. In order to do live broadcast you will need:

The first two items are your concern - I strongly suggest that you make sure your computer is working properly (i.e. can record sound) before you try live streaming.

The RealAudio Live Encoder is located on the MIT server, and will be distributed to all projects that are using RealAudio streaming. I will e-mail download directions to all projects that contact me (with Remo's approval). You will be need to download some of the following items:

Access to these files is limited to projects that are using RealAudio. E-mail me for further information.

All projects will have their own directory on the RA server, and will be able to store files that they archive from live broadcasts. There will be a memory limit for each project - more details later as I have them.

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE! This is not a simple process. Test the encoder before using it for your performance.

Jesse Gilbert, Audio Coordinator