Please begin by reading THIS article.

That article will serve as an introduction to the high-stakes world of online streaming. Vudu (Walmart), Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney, CBS All Access and soon to be services from Warner Brothers, NBC and who-knows-who-else.



Vudu is a bit different from the other 'streaming services' in that they offer ONLY high def movies for rent or for sale. Also, Vudu makes their money on a per-item sale or rent rather than a monthly subscription.

They also REQUIRE that users/purchasers obtain a certain minimum bandwidth for each of their 3 types of HD files (SD, HD and UD).

VUDU does offer limited Free content that is supported by minimal advertising.

Additionally, VUDU is just barely starting to dip their toes into original content (Mr Mom, really?)


Rubric is HERE



According to THIS article (from last year so it is a *bit* dated), Netflix had 60 million US household subscribers in 2019 each paying about $9.00 per month. Basic math says "WHOA, that's $54 million dollars PER MONTH" just in the US (and this is as of 2019)

Not to mention the OTHER 100 million international subscribers. YIKES! That's a bucket load of cash!

Netflix offers award winning original content (think "Stranger Things") along with some very odd "what-were-they-thinking-when-they-made-that" shows such as the currently running "In the Shadow of the Moon").

They also offer movies from major and minor studios (MR W says take a gander at "Radius" sometime... check with your folks first tho) as well as a large number of foreign language and foreign-language-dubbed-into-English movies.


Rubric is HERE



Amazon is a Free/Subscription/Purchase/Rent hybrid. Anyone who has purchased Amazon Prime (Something like 100 million Americans) has access to the Amazon Prime Streaming Service.

Amazon has a large and always changing library of movies to watch for free, or to rent or to buy. It can be pretty much hit or miss to find the movie you want. Sometimes you have to pay, sometimes you don't.

Additionally, Amazon has a number of original content programs.

Oddly enough, Amazon also offers subscribers the opportunity to subscribe to their competitors programming from within Amazon PRIME.

HUH? Subscribers can add additional subscriptions to HBO, ShowTime, CBS All Access etc... for an additional monthly fee of course.

By the by, did you know that Netflix is actually hosted on Amazons ever-growing Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform?

Side Note: I worked with our Tech manager to get us educational (free) access to education tools/servers on AWS for next semester! It is an amazing opportunity to get hip deep into web work.

They also don't seem to care too much about the video experience. My best guess is they leave it up to the subscribers to try and get the best bandwidth they can.

If you've ever tried to watch an Amazon movie on a TV with crappy internet bandwidth you know what I'm sayin'....


Disney has made it's entire Disney Catalog (think Snow White, Sound of Music, Lion King), Marvel Catalog (they have ALMOST all Marvel movies, 'cept Fantastic Four and X-men <I think>), Star Wars, Pixar etc ad nauseum. They've have nearly 100 years worth of movies in just the Disney Catalog



HULU has been around for a fairly long time as such things go; and I believe started out as a great place to watch reruns like "The Rockford Files" (a favorite show of mine from the 1970's and Hill Stree Blues (another favorite from the '80's).

Over the last several years they have branched out and now provide original content such as the Emmy Award winning series "The Handmaid's Tale". They have several different pricing models (I think!) based on whether you want to watch a bunch of commercials a few commercials or no commercials.


Rubric is HERE



Hopefully you can see the importance of quality streaming service.

Our goal is to more fully understand two main concepts to streaming:


Which, I hope you agree, are closely related.

You're job is to gain a technical understanding of the compression/buffering techniques used by two of the main video streaming services: Vudu, Amazon, Hulu or Disney to help you address one of the two following investigative prompts:


1) Why is VUDU (they ONLY offer HD) streaming video quality SO MUCH BETTER than the video streaming quality offered by Amazon, Netflix, Disney or Hulu?

Now provide clear and convincing evidence to back up your claim.


It's entirely possible that you disagree with that premise. If you do disagree with that premise then address THIS prompt instead:

2) Which of the following video streaming services consistently presents the highest quality of video streaming: Amazon; Netflix, Disney or Hulu? Now provide clear and convincing evidence to back up your claim.


Rubric is HERE


Since we can't have an actual face-to-face Socratic Seminar experience, here's what I'm proposing

Part I: (50 points)

Prepare a 5 - 6 slide presentation using Power Point or Google Slides (or similar). Your goal will be to show a thoughtful yet technical understanding of file compression and buffering as it relates to one of investigative questions outlined above.

Your presentation should be no more than 5 minutes total.

You will PRESENT those slides using ScreenCastify (the school district has a license for that, log on using your school id.... I'm happy to provide tutorials for you during office hours. It is *VERY* intuitive and easy to learn. Screencastify will automatically save your presentation to your Google Drive and prompt you to get a copy able link. You MUST log on with your School ID. Submit that copy able link in Schoology.

You must make a clear and convincing argument supporting the position you adopted in answer to one of the investigative prompts shown above.

You MUST demonstrate your understanding of technical details of buffering and streaming.

Each slide can have a maximum of 3 bullet points

Each bullet point can have a maximum of 10 words

Do NOT simply read technical specifications off the screen but instead use your bullet points as prompts for your discussion.

I recommend:

1 slide introduction

1 slide TECHNCIAL discussion of the service offering superior buffering technology

1 slide TECHNCIAL discussion of the service offering inferior buffering

1 slide TECHNCIAL discussion of the service offering superior file compression and/or transmission

1 slide TECHNCIAL discussion of the service offering inferior file compression and/or transmission

1 slide to make a clear and convincing argument as to why one service provides consistently higher video quality then the other service offering inferior video quality

Sources should come from quality sites and you WILL be graded on the quality of your sources. Once again this is a college level course so you should know what that means. If you don't, please visit me during office hours.

Cut & Paste the URL of each source or sources used on a slide at the bottom of the slide in smaller font (so that it isn't distracting). The link should be live. It should also be the ONLY part of your slide that is cut-and-paste. Do NOT cite using MLA or APA or any other sorts of citation protocols. Just cut and paste the live link (please)


Rubric is HERE


Part II (25 points)

I'll post links to everyone's work (unless the school has paperwork that says you and your folks have declined the ability for you to share video) the Monday following the due date.

Find ONE (and only) one video of one of your colleague's presentation to critique.

Make a two slide presentation, presented using ScreenCastify as before that does the following:

1) Summarize the main point made by your colleague in support of one of the two investigation questions. Please do NOT critique, characterize or review the quality of the presentation at all. Summarize ONLY the technical argument made by your colleague.

2) Critique the technical aspects of that point. Either provide clear and convincing evidence in support of their point, or clear and convincing evidence to refute that point. Do NOT comment on the presentation itself... in other words do NOT critique the quality of the presentation itself, only the technical merits of that presentation.

Part II Rubric is HERE

Oh and by the way, if you are still reading, which I very much hope you are, the project is now due Wednesday next (10/21/2020) at midnight.



IN-CLASS SOCRATIC SEMINAR (we will NOT do this in the 2020-2021 school year since we can't have a practical conversation owing to audio/video differences & difficulties)


Be prepared to come to class with a well informed understanding of video streaming, especially in regards to data compression.

We'll work to setup our classroom rules/expectations for the Socratic Seminar.


I'll simply observe and will take no part in the conversation whatsoever. I'll have a preprinted matrix of everyone in the class with room for my comments and moving assessments:

You will be assessed based on your input using the following scale for EACH contribution:

+,  √+,  ,  √- or  -

If your comments significantly help to advance the conversation I'll note a "+" on the matrix for that comment.

If your comments are significantly inaccurate or otherwise detract (this isn't the time or place to be be clever) from the conversation I'll note a '-' on the matrix.

Everything in-between gets marked in-between those two.

Therefore if the conversation is fast moving I can make checks and such and then add comments when time permits.


Be prepared to make significant contributions to our discussion.

You should apply the GOLDILOCKS standard:

  • Don't talk too much
  • Don't talk too little
  • Don't talk too loud
  • Don't talk too soft
  • Don't be vague
  • Don't be ultra-technical


NOW pease work with your group to come up with the conditions under which we'll engage in the Socratic Seminar.