Windows Media Encoder

Windows Media™ Encoder

 

 

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The Microsoft Windows Media Encoder is a powerful yet easy to use broadcasting tool; its clean interface and its step by step session wizard will help you to setup your internet radio station or your TV channel in not time. Windows Media Encoder includes many options that will help you to reach your audience, so don't worry about your station getting out there... it will.

This time, we are setting up a radio station using CD Quality speed at 70kbps (more or less), we are going to use the Windows Media Encoder Wizard all the way in order to prove if it is able to help novice users without losing the power required by advanced users.

Remember that we use many default values when setup our radio stations, feel free to test several combinations, mixing them until you get the perfect blend for your requirements.

In order to use this guide your computer must have Windows Media Encoder installed. To do so now click on the link: Download Microsoft Windows Media Encoder

It's Showtime...

1. New SessionFirst screen broadcasting selection

When the software is loaded the wizard's tab is selected by default, it contains several options: Custom session (it is more suitable for advanced users); Broadcast a live event, used when the sound and/or video are taked from installed devices such as sound card, TV tuner, DVD player, etc; Capture audio or video, used to save audio and / or video files that will be broadcasted after the session is finished; Convert a file, useful tool that convert audio and video files to Windows Media format; Capture Screen, used to capture video and sound directly from your screen the file is saved in Windows Media Format. As we are going to broadcast our radio station from our sound card directly, Broadcast a live event is our option.

2. Selecting Devices Second step, selecting devices

The second step is to select the device that we will use to broadcast our channel, the selection boxes are dinamically generated depending on computer's installed hardware. You can, for instance, select a different sound device if more than one are installed in your computer, video box is activated only if a video device is installed and properly configured (webcam, TV tuner, etc). In this example we are going to broadcast audio only, so we will check current configuration by click on configure button in front of audio selection box.

3. Device configurationAudio device properties

Depending on installed hardware, this window will show available input and output devices, balance treble and bass are also configurable at this point, since we are using the sound card output to broadcast our station, we will select Wave out mix as Pin Line, at this point you can select CD player, microphone or aux according to your preferences and the sound source you plan to broadcast.

4. Broadcast method

Windows Media Encoder offers two methods for broadcasting your content:

Broadcast method selectionPush to a Windows Media Server: In this case, connection is initiated by the encoder itself. When pushing a stream from the encoder, you must specify the Windows Media server to which you want to stream and the broadcast publishing point you want to stream. On the Windows Media server, you have a number of options for configuring a publishing point: setting limits on the number of players that can view the stream at the same time, access control to content via IPs or password protected, etc. Push distribution is only available with Windows Media Services 9 Series in Windows .NET Server 2003, in other words you can use this option only if you have access to a web server configured with Windows Media Server 2003 or up, you must have both, file creation and file modification permissions on the server, you should also know how to use Windows Media services on the server side. This method is out of the scope of this guide so we recommend to follow Windows Media Encoder instructions carefully before you start using this method.

Pull from the Encoder: in this case connections are initiated by clients (media players or media servers), content is available but it doesn't use net resources until a connection is established. The encoder supports up to five direct connections during a broadcast by default. You can increase this number to 50 by editing a key in the registry. We are using max 5 (default) to broadcast our test station. NOTE: If you plan to modify the registry to allow more simultaneous connections remember that you should make a registry copy before you change values, remember that improper editing of the registry can severely damage your system, this and other registry changes are only recommended for advanced users.

5. Broadcast Connection Broadcast conection parameters

Here, Windows Media Encoder shows the URLs and port used to broadcast the stream, these values are generated based on your computer's URL and available ports, you can change the port by default by click on Find Free Port button.

6. Encoding Options:

Use the drop down box to select CBR (Constant Bit Rate) there are several speeds available, from voice quality audio (as low as 7kbps) up to multichannel audio (as high as 400kbps), in our example we used CD quality audio (70kbps), select the speed that better fits your requirements.

7. Display information: Display information dialog window

There are several fields available, this information is optional, it is shown during stream playback, in most cases is good idea to include author name (worldtvradio in this example) and copyright info, you can also add a description of the content been broadcasted

 

 

 

8. Start Encoding Display information dialog window

After all options are configured the wizard is closed and the main window is shown, at this point nothing is been broadcasted yet, user must click on Start Encoding button to begin.

Your stream is available to everybody without restrictions, if you plan to broadcast private content, is good idea to define allow and deny URLs lists. On menu select Tools - Broadcast security - Add (remember, by default only five conections are allowed at a time).

The monitor panel is shown when encoding process starts or it is available in Menu - View - Monitor Panel, it contains information about the stream: statistics, connections, server status, etc.

To know the URL address used by your stream click on Connections tab on Monitor Panel under Direct Connection URLs you will see both Internet and LAN addresses, in order to tune in to your stream user must type the appropriate URL into the Open URL dialog box in Windows Media Player or any compatible media player.

Congratulations, if you followed the 8 steps correctly you have your brand new radio station up and public, ready to be tuned in by friends and visitors.

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