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Live Streaming, Image Pull or FTP?

There are three main methods used to display a live webcam on a website so that the pictures can be viewed on computers and mobile devices like phones and tablets without any special software or browser plugins. They are live Streaming Video, Image Pull and FTP.

Live Streaming Video gives the best results with a smooth real time display in a resizeable player on your web page. Image pull shows images quickly one after the other in rapid succession so the images are live but start and stop between shots like a time lapse video recording. FTP is the slowest and updates a still image or snapshot at intervals of seconds, minutes or even hours, (so not really live).

Here are demonstrations for each of these along with a full description, to help you choose what is best for you and your website. You can find out all about our live streaming and webcam hosting service here!

Live Streaming Camera

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Live Streaming Video (shown above)

Live streaming video produces the best results. You see a real time smooth streaming live picture pretty much as its happening, with only a few seconds delay between the actual event and seeing it on your screen.

This system runs through our real time streaming service. This service takes a feed from your camera and routes it through our media servers. Here the feed is converted so it can be viewed on desktop and laptop computers plus Apple, Android and Windows mobile phones and tablets. Then it is rebroadcast to all your viewers over super fast data connections.

There is no increase in the load on your broadband connection or the bandwidth used as more people connect to your camera because this is all handled by our media servers. So no matter how many people connect at the same time, they will all see the same high quality smooth video at up to 25FPS, and with no extra load on your broadband.

There is a choice of player styles to match in with your web site design and even an HTML5 player so the display looks the same on mobile devices, tablets and computers. The live streaming service will stream sound too so if your camera supports audio you can have a real time audio video experience on your website for your visitors to enjoy.

By moving the mouse over the live display any available controls will show up like volume control and the Full Screen option too. Prices for live streaming start at just £1.99 per month and includes standard definintion or HD streams plus audio if available.

Time Lapse Image Pull

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Image Pull - Time Lapse View (shown above)

Image Pull is also a good way to see live pictures on your own website. With the Image Pull method, static pictures or "snapshots" are pulled from the camera and then displayed quickly, one after the other in a window on your web page.

The resolution of the pictures can be high depending on the camera and the speed can be up to 2FPS. We provide the code you need with all our image pull camera's so you just need to open a port in your router and add your own details into the code. The images are pulled directly from the camera into your web page on the viewers browser. As this method does not run through our systems there is no on going charge for image pull once you have set it up.

Image pull can produce good results and is fine for low traffic sites where you are not likely to get many people trying to watch at the same time, but performance is directly linked to a number of factors which are, the upload speed of you broadband, the picture size being used and the number of simultaneous viewers. Once you get 5 or more people trying to view a camera using image pull at the same time, the picture update will become noticeably slower and as even more connect it can freeeze and become unavailable to fresh viewers until the number of viewers decreases. If the camera gets a huge amount of hits it can even lock up the router. For this reason image pull is only recommended for low traffic sites. For high traffic and and excellent reliabilty feeds, live Streaming is the best option.

FTP Image Upload

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FTP - Image File Upload (shown above)

FTP (File Transport Protocol) is a simple method for getting static snapshots on to your website. The camera or software periodically uploads a snapshot image and overwrites the old exisitng image. This means that all you need to do in order to show the latest image is refresh the page or refresh the section of the page with the image on it. As the new image has the same name as the old one it overwrites the first one and so on.

This is a really slow method but can be adequate for some circumstances. Its also compatible with mobile devices. Its biggest drawback is its speed.

Its not always easy to get an IP camera to work correctly with FTP for websites as they usually store all the files with time and date stamp for security purposes on your server rather than renaming the file. However we have a couple of models (marked with the time lapse logo) which have both time stamp and image overwrite FTP modes which is ideal for FTP upload to web sites.

Of course for a dynamic real time live display you just cant beat the Camsecure low cost webcam hosting and streaming service.

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