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Setting up Windows Media Services

After you have obtained your content, the next step is to set up a server running Windows Media Services to distribute that content. The basic steps involved in setting up a Windows Media server include adding and configuring publishing points to identify the content you plan to stream, and communicating to users that the content is available.

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, broadcast and on-demand. If you want to stream live content from an encoder, a broadcast publishing point is the best choice. If you plan to stream a file and want to 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.

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, and set up a distribution server.

When selecting the type of publishing point to use, you should consider how you want to deliver the content; for example, whether you want to deliver the content as a unicast or multicast stream. With a unicast stream, clients connect to a Windows Media server to access content. With a multicast stream, the server streams content to a single multicast IP address on the network, and all clients access that 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 unicast stream from either an on-demand or a broadcast publishing point. You can deliver content as a multicast stream only from a broadcast publishing point. For more information about multicast and unicast streaming, see Selecting unicast vs. multicast distribution.

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