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VideoTracer - Performance of Commercial Streaming Video on the Internet

Mark Claypool and Robert Kinicki

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609, USA
{claypool|rek}@cs.wpi.edu

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Overview

The tremendous increase in computer power and bandwidth connectivity has fueled the growth of streaming video over the Internet to the desktop. While there have been large scale empirical studies of Internet, Web and multimedia traffic, the performance of popular Internet streaming video technologies and the impact of streaming video on the Internet is still largely unknown.

Research in the VideoTracer project seeks to better understand performance of commercial video players on the Internet. Results from this project seek to provide results useful to network practitioners that want insight into the impact from the growing volume of video traffic, and to video practitioners that want insight into expected performance of video they provide or intend to provide. Network researchers may be able to use the results to produce more realistic video traffic for popular network simulators such as NS-2, and streaming video developers may be able to use the results to target specific bottlenecks to performance.

The lack of empirical work that measures streaming video traffic may largely stem from the lack of effective measurement tools. While commercial media players typically provide means of observing performance statistics, such as average bandwidth and encoding rate, the same players do not provide a means to record performance data or control playout in an automated fashion.

The VideoTracer project also seeks to provide open souce tools for measuring the performance of commercial video players. Software from this project can be used by researchers and practioners alike to analyze video performance locally from their own computers; or to support analysis of video performance in a wide-area study.

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RealTracer

MediaTracker

RealTracer

The RealTracer tools are designed to measure the performance of RealVideo. RealTracer includes RealTracker, a customized video player that plays RealVideo from a pre-selected playlist. For each video played, RealTracker records user-centric video performance information, including frame rate, jitter and user ratings, and can either send the performance information by email or FTP to a server or save it locally to disk. RealTracer also includes RealData, a data analysis tool that helps manage, parse and analyze data captured by RealTracker.

RealTracer currently runs only on Microsoft Windows (98, NT, XP, 2000) operating systems. In order to run RealTracker, you need a RealNetworks player (either the free version or a subscribed version), RealTracker support files and the RealTracker executable. In order to run RealData, you only need the RealData executable. You can use the pre-compiled executables below or download and compile the source yourself.

RealTracer all
(executables, support files, source, documentation)
RealTracer.zip
RealTracker executable RealTracker.exe
RealData executable RealData.exe
RealTracker support files Aux98.dll (Win 9X)
AuxNT.dll (Win XP/NT/2k)
RealTracker sample playlist p1.pls
RealTracer user manuals RealTracerUserManual.doc
RealTracerUserManual.pdf
RealTracer source code RealTracer_src.zip
RealOne player http://www.real.com/player/index.html

MediaTracker

MediaTracker is a customized video player that plays Microsoft Media Player from a pre-selected playlist. For each video played, RealTracker records video performance information.

Latest version is v2.2 (released December 13, 2006).

MediaTracker all
(executables, source, screen shots, playlist samples, documentation)
MediaTracker.zip
MediaTracker source code MediaTracker-src.zip
MediaTracker executable MediaTracker.exe
MediaTracker manual readme.txt
Screen shots Interface
Data

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Faculty Advisors:

Major Contributors:

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The SIGMM Home Page, the Special Interest Group for Multimedia from the ACM.

mmdump - A Tool for Monitoring Multimedia Usage on the Internet

MPEG Tools from the University of California, Berkeley.

The MPEG home page.

Yahoo! Broadcast, audio and video trailers.

Microsoft Windows Media player
RealNetworks RealOne player
Apple Quicktime player

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