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About Windows Media servers

A Windows Media server uses publishing points to translate a client request for content into a physical path on the server hosting the content. You can add two types of publishing points to a Windows Media server. If you want to stream a file and allow users to control playback of the content (for example, to pause, rewind, or fast-forward it), an on-demand publishing point is the best choice. If you want to stream live content from an encoder, a broadcast publishing point is the best choice.

From your publishing point, you must select the streaming media distribution method, either unicast or multicast. Each method has unique strengths and weaknesses based on the nature of your audience and the type of content.

  • Unicast. With a unicast stream, clients connect to a Windows Media server to access content. You can deliver content as a unicast stream from either an on-demand or a broadcast publishing point.

  • Multicast. With a multicast stream, the server streams content to a multicast IP address on the network, and all clients access the IP address to receive the stream instead of connecting to the server. This reduces the amount of bandwidth required on the network as the single stream is able to fulfill multiple client requests. You can deliver content as a multicast stream only from a broadcast publishing point.

After you have added a publishing point and identified the content you want to stream from it, you need to communicate that the content is available. An easy method for accomplishing this is to create an announcement for the content.

You may also want to implement some of the more advanced features available through Windows Media Services. For example, you can modify settings to limit the number of client connections, set up security measures to protect your content, log data about client activity, or set up a distribution server.

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