Windows Media can play all sorts of files and their URLS can range from simplistic to very complicated.
A URL pointing directly to a live stream hosted on a streaming server usually consists of three parts. The protocol, host and mount-point or file name.
Protocol – this tells the media player how to connect to the server. Windows Media usually uses HTTP or MMS
Host – the address of the server, either in a familiar host.domainname format or an IP address.
Mount Point – this tells the media player where the file is on the server
Stream Alerts can grab information from a properly formatted Windows Media playlist and display the streams found within. If you enter a URL with an extension of .asx, .wax, .wpl or .wvx the system will automatically grab the first URL from your playlist and start monitoring. If you wish to choose a different URL from your playlist, edit your stream and choose one of the URLs listed.
If you would like to pull a URL from the playlist yourself, open the playlist in a text editor and find the lines highlighted in blue below:
The information above appears in a .asx file and amongst all of that information it contains two stream URLs in blue. When someone clicks on the playlist link, their Windows Media Player opens and reads through this file. First it tries to connect to http://server1.beethoven.com/beethoven and if is successful, then it simply plays the stream. However if the first server is down, the player tries to connect to http://server2.beethoven.com/beethoven and will play that stream. So in this case we would want to monitor 2 different streams so that we know if either of the servers fails.
So how do you find out what’s listed in your playlist?
If you don’t have the file saved to your computer already, open the web page with a link that points to your playlist.
Right-click on the link and you should see a menu pop-up.
Select Save Target As… from the menu (Save link as… if you are using Firefox)
You will be asked where to save the file. Save it somewhere you can find it easily.
Then use a simple text editor to open the file. Windows users can use Notepad or even Word. Don’t double click on the file from My Computer or Finder because it will simply load the file and start playing your stream.
Once the file is open, look around for URLs similar to the ones in the example above.
Is it available right now? Was it available 30 minutes ago? Do you know the last time it was not available, for how long, how often etc? As consumers migrate from radio and television to the Internet, it's critical that your streaming media is available when they arrive at your site.
Stream Alerts remotely and independently monitors your streaming video and audio to give you the confidence that your media content is flawless. With our Availability service, as soon as your stream becomes unreachable, we will send you an email or SMS alert and even contact your system to trigger a backup system. Payload monitoring for live streams provides alerts if your audio goes silent or your video freezes as well as quality statistics such as how long it takes to start playing your stream.
If you stream it, we'll monitor it. Catch problems before your customers do and make sure your content delivery service is living up to its promise. Take a look at our packages and monitor your streams today with the Stream Alerts testing, diagnostic and alerting service.
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