Sorenson Broadcaster

Apple’s QuickTime 4.0 is the first QuickTime version to permit streaming of live content, such as radio or television feeds, convention speeches, and conferences. But, while QuickTime Streaming Server can dish out live streams, it can’t encode them. In broadcasting terms, QuickTime Streaming Server is merely a transmitter; it needs an incoming signal to beam out. And that’s where Sorenson Broadcaster 1.0 beams in – it lets you compress live audio and video signals into QuickTime streams. Regardless of your Mac’s configuration, you don’t need additional hardware to encode audio-only content – just plug your audio source into your Mac’s input jack. To encode video, you need a Broadcaster-compatible capture card – a list of them is available on Sorenson’s Web site. Choosing compression settings appropriate to your content, and to your audience’s connection speeds, is key. Broadcaster’s presets make this job a breeze, and a Customize button lets you tweak settings. After choosing compression settings, you specify the name of the broadcast as well as copyright information. Then you enter the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the QuickTime Streaming Server you’ll be using. If your audience is connected to a local-area network, rather than the Internet, Sorenson Broadcaster offers a multicast mode. Multicasting uses network bandwidth efficiently by letting all users on your network “tune in” to one stream. And multicasting doesn’t require QuickTime Streaming Server – all you need is Sorenson Broadcaster. Sorenson Broadcaster can also archive a live stream to disk. This lets you save a live event for subsequent on-demand delivery using QuickTime Streaming Server. You can also archive live content without actually streaming it. Before you can begin streaming, you have to announce the broadcast. This involves exporting, via Sorenson Broadcaster, a QuickTime movie containing URL and compression information, that your audience’s QuickTime Players use to connect to the live stream. If you’re streaming over the Internet, you need to create a reference movie, stored on QuickTime Streaming Server, that points to the live stream. It’s a simple process – or at least it would be if it were accurately documented. Sorenson Broadcaster’s documentation is light on details, and often downright wrong.

OUR VERDICT

Sorenson Broadcaster has a few minor flaws. But, by and large, version 1.0 is a fine effort. If you’re doing QuickTime streaming, it’s the only encoding tool you need.

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