[uf-discuss] hMedia microformat proposal

Chris Newell chris.newell at rd.bbc.co.uk
Thu Feb 8 07:31:27 PST 2007


I would like to propose a microformat to describe media files and media streams. In particular, groups of files or streams which represent the same content but with different encoding formats.

A suitable starting point for this could be Media RSS (http://search.yahoo.com/mrss).

I've drafted a problem statement below and would welcome comments, particularly from anyone involved in the publication of A/V media.



Problem statement:

When a media file or a media stream is published it is often made available in different encoding formats and at different bit-rates. In the case of live content there may also be a choice between unicast and multicast streams.

A web page listing a single item of content may therefore present a large choice of links to the user, each of which is typically described by a set of human readable parameters. Currently none of these parameters is machine readable.

There is also no machine readable information to indicate that the set of files or streams carry the same content.


Browsers and media players have a knowledge of what encoding formats they can accept and may have a knowledge of the bandwidth available to the user. If they are provided with a set of file or stream parameters they could select the most appropriate choice for the user.

Robotic agents which catalogue A/V content would be able to recognise that a set of links represent the same content but with different encodings etc.

Chris Newell
Lead Technologist
BBC Research

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