Streaming Quickstart

Getting Access

UNF faculty and staff members can contact Information Technology Services (ITS) via the Information Technology Request System (ITSR) or several other means of contacting ITS to request access to the UNF streaming media server ("stream")Faculty members can also contact the Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT) for assistance with requesting access to stream.

 

In the request for access, the requester is encouraged to specify:

  • Whether access to stream is for the requester's own use or for that of a UNF organization such as a department, and if so which organization
  • Any other persons (and their UNF ID's aka N numbers)  who would be assisting the requester with uploading and/or modifying the requester's content on stream
  • Any content types not indicated in the Supported Content Types for Streaming and Supported Content Types for HTTP Delivery sections (see below) 

Content Storage

All stream users receive a minimum 500MB of storage.  Should they run out of space or anticipate running out of space, users can request that their quota be increased via the Information Technology Request System (ITSR) or several other means of contacting ITS.  Users should be mindful of storing only content that is being actively viewed, and to find alternate means for long term archiving of old content off of stream.  Users should also be aware that restrictions are in place to permit the uploading of only media files (e.g. audio, video).  Storage of other types of content (e.g. Office documents) should be done in more appropriate locations on the UNF network.

 

Stream users gain access to upload and manage their content files via a network share assigned to them.  The share is typically named using the user's UNF ID (aka N number).  However, if the user had indicated in their access request  (see Getting Access) that the content is for a University organization, then the specific share name assigned is based on the organization's name.  Stream users are free to create subfolders in their share as they want.  It is recommended that folder names have only alphanumeric characters and no spaces.

 

How users access the share depends on their computer's operating system:

Windows PC users: click on the "Start" button, choose "Run...", type the share name "\\stream\media\<UNF ID or organization name>" (without quotes) into the field and press the <Enter> key.

For example, for a user with UNF ID n12345678, the following would be entered:  \\stream\media\n12345678

 

If the user was managing content for the Examples department, the share name would be  \\stream\media\examples 

Mac users: Open the "Connect to Server" dialog (key combination Command-K), type in the network pathname "smb://stream/media/username" (without quotes), then click "Connect". (Off campus access to your content folder is currently not supported.)

For example, for a user with UNF ID n12345678, the following would be entered: smb://stream/media/n12345678

 

If the user was managing content for the Examples department, the share name would be smb://stream/media/Examples

Content Security

File security on stream works similarly to that of the UNF network drives (O:, I:, N:) in that folders and files can be secured such that only authorized users can add, modify or delete files on stream.  However, the ability to view the content on stream via the web is not and cannot be restricted in any way.  The implication is that if someone knows the URL (see the Linking to Content from a Web Page section below) to a particular piece of content on stream, they can view the content and/or share the URL with anyone they want, regardless of the intentions of the original content provider.  Further, all but Real Media files that are streamed (see below) are at risk of users copying the content.  Stream users are cautioned to consider these limitations to security prior to putting any content on stream.

Supported Content Types for Streaming

The UNF Streaming Media Server, which runs RealNetworks' Helix Mobile Server by RealNetworks, supports several audio and video content types for streaming.  The following content types (and associated file name extensions) can be streamed as is without any modification.  Users are encouraged to use these types:

  • RealMedia (.rm, .ra, .rv)
  • Windows Media (.wmv, .wma)
  • MP3 (.mp3)

Additionally, the following content types can be streamed after certain addtional steps are taken (e.g. "hinting").  However, users are encouraged to consider converting these types into the above types for better streaming results, or to consider using the HTTP download option (discussed in the next section):

  • QuickTime (.mov)
  • MPEG-4 (.mp4)

Supported Content Types for HTTP Delivery

The Streaming Media Server can serve any content type for HTTP delivery (i.e. downloading over the the web) provided a) it is a recognized media type by the server and b) the folder in which the file is located has been enabled for HTTP delivery.  For instance, the popular Flash video (.flv) is recognized by stream, and certain folders on stream have been configured to allow web download.  So requests for Flash videos from those folders will be served correctly.

 

Users are encouraged to contact ITS via the Information Technology Request System (ITSR) or several other means of contacting ITS if they plan to use a content type not mentioned on this page and indicate the content type and location of the content on stream.  ITS can then ensure that users will be able to upload it to stream successfully and ensure that the content can be accessed and viewed with the appropriate media player when it is served over the web. 

Creating Content

Content can be created using many different tools, and ready-made content can be acquired from a vast array of publishers.  As a result, creation and/or acquisition of content is beyond the scope of this Quickstart guide.  So long as the content produced or acquired is one of the content types that is supported for streaming, and that the nature of content security on stream (as explained in the section Content Security above) does not violate the licensing agreement of any copyrighted content that is to be served, the content can be streamed.  Any content can be made available for HTTP Delivery as explained in the Supported Content Types for HTTP Delivery section (above), with the same content security caveats applying. 

Linking to Content from a Web Page

Stream users can make their content available over the web by putting correctly formatted universal resource locators (URLs) into their UNF public web page, Blackboard site, or other web site.  Here are some examples, all of which require that the appropriate media player already be installed to play correctly.  (See the Playing Content section below.)  The filepath indicates the last part of the stream user's network share (see the Content Storage section above) plus any subfolder(s) under which the content is located.

 

To link to a RealMedia file (.rm, .ra, .rv) or MP3 (.mp3) file for delivery using Real streaming:

Use the following URL syntax:  http://stream.unf.edu:8080/ramgen/<filepath>/<filename>

 For example, to link to the RealMedia file realvideo10.rm located directly in the Example department's share:https://unf.sharestream.net/ssdcms/i.do?u=fd7acb13167e41f  

 

 To link to the mp3 file realmp3.mp3 located in the subfolder named mp3 in the Example department's sharehttps://unf.sharestream.net/ssdcms/i.do?u=64da9f6e07154e4

To link a Windows Media file (.wmv, .wma) for delivery using Windows Media streaming:

Use the following URL syntax:  http://stream.unf.edu:8080/asxgen/<filepath>/<filename>

 For example, to link to the Windows Media file Desertrace.wmv in the Example department's sharehttps://unf.sharestream.net/ssdcms/i.do?u=2149f9f1e488427

To link to any content for delivery using HTTP delivery (download), first contact ITS and request enablement of this (specifying content type and location on stream), and then:

Use the following URL syntax:  http://stream.unf.edu:8080/<filepath>/<filename>

 For example, to link to the mp3 file realmp3.mp3 located in the subfolder named mp3 in the Example department's sharehttps://unf.sharestream.net/ssdcms/i.do?u=64da9f6e07154e4  

Playing Content

When a content item is requested by a user’s web browser, stream returns the necessary information for the browser to launch the appropriate media player and start playing the content, provided that the media player is installed on the user's computer.  In addition, which installed media player that launches is determined on each computer and not by stream.  (Please refer to each media player's documentation for more information on making it the preferred player for a particular content type.)

 

Commonly installed players (and file types that each can be configured to play) include:

Helix is indifferent to the compression/decompress (i.e. codec) method used to create the audio or video file, and simply streams or downloads as-is the content types it recognizes.  However, the media player on the user’s computer must have the necessary codec(s) for playback and may generate an error (e.g. missing codec) even when Helix is successfully serving the content.  Please refer to the documentation on the media player(s) and (if applicable) the content creation tool(s) for more information.