Progressive Layered Media: “It Gets Better Every Time”

J. Gemmell and R. Lueder (USA)


Layered media, progressive playback, caching, video


Web-based viewing of short audio or video clips presents a dilemma: either the clip is streamed at low quality, or a high quality version is downloaded, forcing the user to wait. It is difficult to convince users to wait for clips that they may discover to be uninteresting to them. Progressive Layered Media (PLM) solves this dilemma by streaming layered media. The first playback uses the base layer, which is cached as it is played back. Each subsequent playback streams the next layer, caches it, and plays it back in conjunction with the already cached layers. Thus, each playback has improved quality. PLM avoids the delays of downloading, allowing the user to preview a low quality of the clip (the base layer). If the clip is interesting, the high quality version can be obtained by repeated playback, in less time than a download would take, as the base layer has already been played.

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