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true video-on-demand (VoD) system provides the ultimate flexibility in video services by allowing users to select any video programs, at any time, and to perform any VCR-like user interactions. To allow true VoD, one approach is to have a dedicated video stream for each customer. This is expensive, especially when multiple identical video streams are sent to multiple customers accessing the same video. To be commercially viable, VoD service must be priced competitively with existing video rental services. Batching may be used to reduce this cost. It allows multiple users accessing the same video to share the same video stream. Existing batching schemes only allow near VoD services. This paper describes a new protocol, called Split and Merge (SAM), which offers true VoD services while allowing multiple users to share the same video stream. Our approach splits interactive users from the batch and serves them with a dedicated video stream. We developed an innovative way to merge these individuals back to the batching streams when they resume normal play mode.
video-on-demand, user interaction, multicasting, batching, Split and Merge (SAM).

W. Liao and V. O. Li, "The Split and Merge Protocol for Interactive Video-on-Demand," in IEEE MultiMedia, vol. 4, no. , pp. 51-62, 1997.
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