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what is the full life-cycle of a video file that is sitting on [any server] and ends up being viewed by the consumer.

e.g this company show its architecture:http://www.pandastream.com/arch

it seems to me all they are doing is running ffmpeg and charging 99 a month for it. ( like a zillion others are now)

what do I have to do (on the back-end) to set up this for my own site so that i can do multi protocol encoding and (ultimately) playback on any device using a video tag on frontend

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There's a lot more to streaming video than running ffmpeg: there's a somewhat important thing called "network infrastructure" which includes notables like bandwidth, latency, and redundancy that go into any successful streaming service. The last time I checked, that wasn't free.

If you truly want to do this yourself, I'd start by looking into Amazon Web Services (AWS) or the like, but I think you'll find that a dedicated streaming provider will be comparable in price if not less expensive due to economies of scale.

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From their architecture they offload the created files to your Amazon S3 Bucket - they don't handle any of the streaming. However they get rid of a lot of the pain in dealing with ffmpeg. –  Chealion Aug 24 '10 at 15:07
    
AFAICT S3/Coudfront does let provide a 'streamer". cost aside, even if i want to pay for certain convenience...why is it so hard to get info about DIY ? pretty darn obscure –  user51817 Aug 25 '10 at 13:26
    
"dedicated streaming provider" like who? –  user51817 Aug 25 '10 at 13:34
    
S3 is storage, EC2 is the machine instance: you can do whatever you want on EC2, it's your own "server", whether that be running ffmpeg or LAMP or whatever. What you're paying for is uptime, bandwidth, and storage. However a dedicated video streaming provider (like cirtexhosting.com) will offer you streaming services may be cheaper, depending on how much bandwidth and storage you use. –  gravyface Aug 25 '10 at 14:53
    
i spoke w/ cirtex and they only offer scripts but you cant do custom. I want to do stuff like this erlyvideo.org/files (multi protocol streaming to any device) and so far none of the scripts/clones do that. plus i dont need a script I just want to encode locally and on the server and then stream (or progressive or mixed) using legacy embed and/or in HTML5 video tag. vexxhost seems to offer more custom ffmpeg but i have not spoken with them yet vexxhost.com/blog/2007/03/03/… –  user51817 Aug 25 '10 at 15:56
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