About streaming media systems

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

A streaming media system typically consists of an encoding computer, a server running Windows Media Services, and a number of client computers running a player such as Windows Media Player or Microsoft Silverlight. The encoder converts both live and prerecorded audio and video content to Windows Media Format. The Windows Media server distributes the content over a network or the Internet. Players then receive the content.

In the typical user scenario, the user clicks a link on a Web page to request content. The Web server then redirects the request to the Windows Media server and starts a player on the user's computer. At this point, the Web server no longer plays a role in the streaming media process, since the Windows Media server establishes a direct connection with the player and begins streaming the content directly to the user.

The Windows Media server can receive content from several different sources. Prerecorded content can be stored locally on the server or retrieved from a networked file server. Live events can be captured using a digital recording device and processed through the encoder before being sent to the Windows Media server for broadcast. Windows Media Services can also rebroadcast content streamed from a publishing point on a remote Windows Media server.