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Can you provide a little more detail about what the issue is here? Streaming issues are usually related to insufficient bandwidth, so I'm puzzled by the "or" in your question.
If you're talking about a typical Captivate SWF around 1024x768 with some text, graphics, Flash animations and voiceover audio, this will usually require download of between 500kb-1meg of filesize per minute of content. Most internet connections are more than capable of delivering this amount of bandwidth. 128 kbps would get you there without buffering (though it's probably wise to have at least a 25% preloader setting).
However, if you're talking about FMV capture or actual video footage, then your required bandwidth could be as much as 10 times what I just quoted, and THEN you would struggle to guarantee this much bandwidth on many systems. What many developers fail to factor in is that what they THINK they have in terms of bandwidth is really shared across however many users are currently accessing the same content from that LMS or server.
Thank you. I am looking to deploy Captivates that will have embedded video footage clips to a wide array of users across a state. The clips may be between 1 to 5 minutes in length total for the Captivate. These users would likely be attempting to access these Captivates at around the same time of day, mid to late afternoon. The users would also have a variety of machines and internet connection speeds. Would I need to invest in a streaming solution/server to avoid users having a poor experience?
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This is an impossible question to answer. There are too many variables. How large are your video files? At what bitrate where they recorded? What bandwidth do your users have? What is the likelihood of server latency at their ISP?
I suggest before you outlay any money for streaming servers that you create a test module with some typical videos and then try streaming that to a dozen or so "guinea pig" users that are all accessing it at the same time. That should give you some idea of whether you need extra technology. You also need to factor in the LMS. How will you get the two to work together, since most SCORM-compliant LMSs want to serve the content themselves so that they can detect and track the SCORM interactions.
Thanks for your suggestion. We did consider some of the variables, bandwidth and file size. Iin lieu of firm data we estimated low bandwidth and large file size. We are talking thousands of potential users and several different ISPs. Since we did not have firm data, we were thinking that testing the scenario would be useful. Its good that this discussion ended up in the same place. We did talk to some vendors and they did not seem to have a problem with us using a streaminig solution that integrated with their platforms.