Windows Media Resource Kit
Authors: Tricia Gill, Bill Birney
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2003
The Windows Media Resource Kit is quite possibly the single most useful book available on working with the WMA, WMV, and ASF formats. Starting with the basics of explaining the difference between streaming and downloading, the book immediately jumps into all the nitty-gritty details related to encoding audio and video files for streaming, the complex considerations for outfitting a streaming server, when to use unicast or multicast, creation of on-the-fly server side playlists, and some of the most comprehensive compression formulas available. While there are obviously competing alternatives to the Windows Media content delivery solutions, the Windows Media Resource Kit provides a compelling argument for why the Windows Media solution may be among the most effective available. Yes, Windows Media Player 10 is coming soon, but the information contained in this guide will be relevant for content delivery at least until the release of Longhorn (in other words, a long time). I hesitate to call this the bible of Windows Media content creation and management, but it comes close.