When you have to choose a streaming method, you are basically faced with two choices. The simplest choice would be for you to use Shoutcast streaming. Basically, Shoutcast is a technology of Winamp which allows you to compress audio files such as MP3 and also allows you to stream them in this compressed format. Shoutcast is specially suited for audio transmission such as the transmission of MP3 files. Technically streaming in Shoutcast format is very easy as you will just have to use Winamp and the Shoutcast plugin. Whatever is playing in your Winamp would be playing in your stream as well. you can also listen to the stream with software such as Winamp, VLC and even Real Player. This is really a great choice if you are thinking of using it for making your internet radio. You can easily create your playlist in Winamp and the same list will be broadcast in your Shoutcast stream. There are many companies which provide Shoutcast service, but its also important that you get good support so that you can have the help that you need with your Shoutcast stream.
However, if you are thinking of streaming video, then Shoutcast will be woefully insufficient. You will need to use Flash streaming to get the best results. With Flash streaming basically your video is encoded using a special H264 encoder and then the encoded data is streamed to a Flash server. Then the stream is given back out to the internet and anyone with the link can watch your stream real time. Unlike Shoutcast, you can use a web player to play back your video with your Flash stream. There are many video players which has been made for Flash streaming and you can easily embed these players into your website. This way, you can give the option to your visitors to watch any video stream online in your website. In order to encode your video, you just need to have a live video source and you will need to have an encoder software such as Adobe Flash Media Encoder to encode it using the H264 protocol. You will also need to have a destination server which runs Flash server. Then you can use the link to distribute your content.
Hence, you are faced with two choices of Shoutcast or Flash streaming when you want to stream your content. Naturally, you will have to factor in the type of content that you have as well as the budget that you have set aside for this. You can get help from the internet to help you decide and you will need to make sure that your stream server service provider is able to provide you with 24 hour support and assistance to help you to achieve your objective. Once you get to hang of it, streaming your content can really be fun and you will become a content provider for the internet as well.