Abstract. A multicast Video-on-Demand (VoD) system allows clients to share a server stream by batching their requests, and hence, improves channel utilization. However, it is very difficult to equip such a VoD system with full support for interactive VCR functions which are important to a growing number of Internet applications. In order to eliminate service (admission) latency, patching was proposed to enable an existing multicast session to dynamically add new clients, and requests can be served without delay if patching channels are available. A true VoD (TVoD) service should support not only zero-delay client admission but also continuous VCR-like interactivity. However, the conventional patching is only suitable for admission control. We propose a new patching scheme, called Best-Effort Patching (BEP), that offers a TVoD service in terms of both request admission and VCR interactivity. Moreover, by using a novel dynamic merging algorithm, BEP significantly improves the efficiency of TVoD interactivity, especially for popular videos. We also model and evaluate the efficiency of the dynamic merging algorithm. It is shown that BEP outperforms the conventional TVoD interaction protocols. Keywords: QoS, VCR interaction, Best-Effort Patching (BEP), Video-on-Demand (VoD), multicas
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