To ensure best experience for viewers who access content at different bitrates, GravityLab Multimedia uses SureStream technology to encode multiple streams at different bandwidths in a single clip.
When a viewer clicks a link to a SureStream clip, GravityLab’s Helix Servers determine which stream to use based on the available bandwidth.
The GravityLab media server and RealPlayers can even adjust this choice to compensate for network conditions. If a fast connection becomes congested because of high network traffic, Helix Servers switch to a lower-bandwidth stream to prevent the presentation from stalling. When the congestion clears, Helix Servers switch back to the higher bandwidth stream. RealPlayers don’t need to rebuffer data during this shifting.
Helix Servers are pre-configured to archive live broadcasts that use the RealMedia or MP3 form to their Archive subdirectory. However, you can also set up different archiving rules. This allows you to archive only some broadcasts, as well as create archive files for different broadcasts in different directories.
An archived broadcast file functions just like an on-demand clip, and you can stream it by writing links to it. You can also use the Simulated Live Transfer Agent (SLTA) to rebroadcast archive files as if they were live events.
Helix Server authentication provides a way to control what or who can access your Helix Server, whether it is an encoder sending a broadcast stream, a colleague perusing Helix Administrator, or a user viewing paid content.
Authentication verifies the identity of the users or software programs that make requests of Helix Server. The following types of authentication are available:
Media Viewer Validation
|Validate viewer access to on-demand clips or broadcasts|
|Helix Server can require a standard user name and password combination that the viewer enters when requesting secure content|
|Viewers can be required to register their players’ globally unique identifiers (GUIDs) which Helix Server then validates access requests automatically, without asking viewers for user names and passwords|
|Accessing Helix Administrator requires a valid user name and password|
User name and password authentication for live or simulated live streams sent to Helix Server is generally required for these encoders
|Helix Producer 9 running in account-based mode|
|RealProducer G2 through 8.5|
|Simulated Live Transfer Agent (SLTA) running in basic mode|
Helix Server includes a Java-based Server Monitor and, for Windows NT users, an NT Performance Monitor that helps make system management easier.
The Server Monitor is a configurable graph that displays real-time information about the number of connected clients, the resources used, and the clips being streamed. It shows who is using Helix Server, when it is most used, and which files are the most requested.
Helix Server custom logging feature allows you to monitor specific types of events and information that occur on Helix Servers. You can thereby create reports about any type of activity you choose.
Custom logging is a highly flexible feature that allows you to gather the exact information you want, reporting it at any time to different outputs such as the screen or a text file. You can use this feature to gather information about current Helix Server client connections, for example.
To get information for reports, custom logging relies on information stored in the Helix Server registry, which is distinct from the main registry on Windows operating systems. The registry contains information about most aspects of Helix Server.
Multicasting can be added to Gravitylab’s dedicated server hosting — Unlimited and the Helix Universal Server — Unlimited for an additional charge.
With multicasting you can increase the audience for a live event by reducing the broadcasting bandwidth. This is because Helix Servers send a single live stream to multiple players. Multicasting requires a specially configured network, and is more suited for intranets than Internet delivery.
With the Helix Universal Server — Unlimited, you can further reduce the cost and complexity of streaming to large audiences by multicasting RealMedia, QuickTime, Windows Media, MP3, MPEG-4, and a number of RTP-based formats to the respective media players.