Thanks to a media-friendly internet, webcasts are popular today. With the use of streaming technology, it is possible to watch even live events in the form of audio and/or video online. For the most part, webcasting is a way of distributing a recording of an event over the internet. Most major broadcasting services such as news networks like CNN and BBC offer webcast services. In addition, it enables schools, college, universities, and even businesses to provide streaming videos of speeches, conferences, and a wide variety of events to a global audience. E-learning services use webinar hosting services in order to create and provide course material.
Webcasts are of two types. One is a live webcast where data containing audio and video is sent in real time. The other type is an on-demand webcast where data is stored on a server and users can access the webcast recording at any time. With an increasing number of broadband users worldwide, technology for webinar services has undergone a dramatic change. Video Webcasts have been successfully created since the early 1990s with various tools used to create and watch online events and even a virtual conference.
To be able to watch video webcasts, it is essential to have a high speed internet connection such as an ISDN, cable, or T1 connection. Dial up connections do not work well if you need to watch a webinar. To watch virtual events, you need to download software like Real One player or other webinar software. Softwares like RealPlayer can be downloaded for free. Webcasts can also be viewed in Microsoft's streaming video format with Media Player that is included in the Windows package. Quick Time player from Apple is another platform to watch online seminars along with Flash Player from Adobe.
Streaming technology continues to develop, therefore, it is important to keep up-to-date with newer versions of webcast software. Webcasts on some sites like BBC embed the video in a web page and therefore does not require launching a separate viewer. Many offer webcast solutions and offer webinar support. In terms of hardware, it is important to have a mid-range or high-end video card in order to view clear graphics in webcasts. As technology evolves, open webcasting platforms enable webcast producers to create custom experiences and integrate third-party applications such as social media widgets.