First of all, let’s look at the claims about HTTP streaming from a web server. Some content delivery network (CDN) vendors use the term “HTTP streaming” to apply to their HTTP video file downloads or HTTP progressive downloads. Do a Google search for HTTP streaming and you’ll come up with numerous instances where HTTP streaming is used for delivery from a web server.
Adding a video file to a web page is fairly simple and good for sites with modest traffic, so potential CDN customers might ask why they should go to the trouble of paying for a CDN service. After all, delivering a progressive download via HTTP is as simple as creating a file such as a Windows Media (wmv or wma); uploading the file to a web server; creating an HTML reference file with an HTTP link to the file; and publishing the link. The file will begin playing as it is downloaded (cached to the client machine) in either a stand-alone player or an embedded player.
For those customers who understand the limitations of HTTP progressive download, and have minimal traffic, a CDN might not be the right answer. Some CDNs, though, offer basic HTTP progressive download delivery services, without calling them HTTP streaming, and charge less for this service than true streaming delivery. This allows potential customers to easily migrate to start simply on a CDN and embrace more sophisticated techniques over time.