InterStream, as an Industry Association, defines the ISTP and ISML standards necessary to implement a high quality hyperlinked video transmission system, by ISPs, content providers, network equipment vendors, and others who wish to deliver a high quality streaming experience over existing network infrastructure. InterStream's approach and architecture uses existing network infrastructure with a minimal investment and changeover required by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or others to adopt its system. Two primary technologies comprise the system:
The Media Grid represents a new approach to hosting information on the Internet. Under the current paradigm, a business or individual as a customer may choose web hosting services from a number of providers. With the nature of the HTTP protocol, and best-effort nature of the Internet, a customer chooses a provider who may use a single server with its own IP address. More sophisticated Web Hosting services may use technologies such as Dynamic DNS to create resilient higher performance multi-server hosting systems. Similarly, CDN operators use proprietary mechanisms to distribute content closer "to the edge" of the network improving resiliency, performance and reducing bandwidth costs. Single server locations cannot possilbly offer the required service levels for a video on demand services. Therefore, InterStream has created a "Media Grid" to span the backend Internet and offer higher performance streaming services.
However, because HTTP and the previous DNS systems have evolved to support great resiliency and performance, customers tend to face a lock-in effect with those hosting providers. Once they use one of these systems they have great difficulty in switching suppliers and therefore these proprietary systems poorly support new multimedia services. A new paradigm is required to support services such as video streaming with a protocol that can accomodate the business critical nature of the current and future Internet. The Media Grid offers the opportunity to evolve from the existing paradigm into one that can support the diverse and challenging nature of new multimedia services.
In essence, the Media Grid creates an economic model whereby ISPs and others who want to offer "Video Web" hosting may do so. A unique toll system enables these service providers to offer premium services to their customers while also allowing those customers to purchase Media Grid services from different hosting providers. It creates a business model which allows customers and ISPs alike to benefit from a neutral tiered Internet implementation.
ISTP presumes that a "Media Grid" is available with sufficient points of presence such that a reliable high quality of experience is available to the end-user. ISTP is designed to stream and combine rich media objects which are present in the grid. These objects may be independent from one another such as audio and video which can be concurrently streamed to a customer for a unique rich media experience. Objects may also be transferred via ordinary URLs into the grid so that high quality streaming services may be offered by Internet Service Provider who deploy the Media Grid on their networks.
Rich media objects that are "off grid" or present within the grid, may be streamed via the ISTP protocol from the grid over existing broadband infrastructure. By implementing a new stateless distance vector routing protocol based on the distribution of Hamming Distance labels, ISTP has been designed to allow streaming from multiple locations through the grid concurrently based on optimization criteria, as specified by the ISPs hosting the grid on their networks. Content may be originated, served, cached, proxied, and forwarded through the grid using this approach. As such, the Media Grid is designed to allow ISPs to easily adopt and deploy the technology on their networks while ensuring the customer receives the highest quality of experience possible.
ISTP enables hyperlinked video by allowing Media Grid Objects to conditionally specify how additional streams may be initiated to the client. Through a standardized XML or JSON definition specified in the ISML.