If you thought it was frustrating enough trying to download the Starr report, you may be in for bigger traffic jams when Clinton?s videotaped grand jury testimony hits the Net today.
As soon as Congress decided to release the uncut, uncensored videotape, new media companies were making plans to run the four-hour recording on their sites. The Internet is the only place you will find a full version of the video, unless you want to splash out on a recorded tape, and this is expected to be the most watched Webcast ever.
As users race to click on URLs such as president, the world saw the greatest argument to date that the Internet is overtaking television as the medium of up to the minute news.
If the system holds up, that is ... The Clinton Webcast will draw on video streaming technology, which is used to broadcast video and audio over the Internet. Video streaming is a vast improvement over the traditional method of distributing media over the Internet, which involved downloading large files.
The Clinton Webcast, however, will not be the same as watching it on television. Even across high speed connections Internet video tends to be jerky and hazy with audio that can jump out of sync.
Most people logging on for the Clinton Webcast can expect three to five video frames per second, 10 times worse than television quality. If there is a Net traffic jam you can also expect to get annoying picture freezes when you least expect them.
Consumers logging onto a site for the Webcast will also have to be patient. Streaming continuous video is more likely to cause Net traffic jams than downloading text.
New media companies like Broadcast.com, which will be hosting the Webcast for a number of news agencies, are seeing it as a challenge.
?It looks like being the biggest Webcast on the Net yet and it gives us a chance to show off our technologies,? commented a spokesperson for the company.
It was estimated that six million people on the Internet read the Starr report in the first two days after its release.
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