NSV, or Nullsoft Streaming Video, is a media container file designed for streaming video content over the internet. It was created by Justin Frankel in 2003 while working for Nullsoft, the makers of Winamp, who especially designed it to be easily streamed and be used on any platform. Although it was also designed to support any audio or video codec together, it currently supports only MP3 for audio and VP3 for video.
NSV is the first media container file to break the restrictive internet video broadcast barrier. It has allowed anyone to produce and distribute live or recorded video content over the internet, which was not possible before its introduction. Its special features include – supports any combination of audio and video formats; is most suitable for streaming because of its ability synchronize accurately at any point of the stream; is a bitstream format, which means it does not require a whole file or the beginning of a file to begin playing; and supports auxiliary data chunks for sending multiple audio tracks, subtitles, or other data.
The NSV file has a simple structure. It consists of a header (containing information such as file length, a table of contents, and other general metadata), and the bitstream (consisting of a sequence of NSV frames).
Although NSV was released in 2003 and began to be used almost immediately with Nullsoft’s Winamp, its real popularity began only after the release of Winamp version 5. This is because Winamp v.5 came with a Media Library which offered integrated listings of all audio and video streams. The earlier versions only had a Library.
The media players that support NSV video clips are Winamp, MPlayer, Xine, VLC, RealPlayer, and KMPlayer. NSV is also the accepted format for AOL, which uses it to stream its media files.
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