What is Streaming and How it’s Impacting the Internet Population

What is Streaming

Streaming otherwise called media streaming is a way to transfer data as a continuous and steady stream. Streaming technology is quite popular these days due to the surge in Internet availability and usage, making it possible to stream content online without having to download them. It is now possible to watch an entire movie online without downloading the large file to one’s system, saving space. Depending on the configuration of the system used, users might need a plug-in to stream online content.

For streaming data online, the user should be able to receive and send data in a steady stream, irrespective of whether the data is audio or video. Also, if the user gets more data than needed, there should be a provision for buffering and if the received data is lesser, it could affect smooth streaming. Data streaming can be defined as a delivery method for data where there’s transmission of audio or video in a continuous flow. Streamed data isn’t stored in one’s system, at least not the entire content all at once. On the other hand, when data is streamed on one’s system, the system displays data that was received earlier while receiving subsequent data. The displayed parts are discarded and replaced with subsequent data. In other words, streaming is the opposite of downloading.

Streaming in action!

Let’s understand this with an example. You head to a theater to watch a movie. Alternatively, you download it to your system and watch it. While you need Internet for downloading probably, you don’t need Internet for watching once the downloading is complete. You can watch several times, once it is downloaded and stored to your system. Streaming however is a different ball game. Here, you visit the source of the movie and then stream it. For this you need Internet and the file isn’t stored to your drive and you can’t watch it without Internet. Netflix is an example of a streaming service.

You can stream videos or audios, live or real-time on your system. Most webcasts are streamed to prevent download and redistribution. Streaming wasn’t popular few years back, as most did not have access to fast Internet. But now, Internet facilities have improved and most have access to broadband. Besides, files are encoded to make it possible to stream data with less bandwidth. However, when there’s a disruption of Internet, the video or audio stops playing. That’s why systems store “buffer” data that plays previously downloaded data while subsequent data is being downloaded. So, when there’s no data in buffer, there’s a message “buffering” on the screen while buffering is done.

Depending on one’s Internet speed and service used, one can choose low, medium or high quality for streaming data. They can also choose resolution to manage bandwidth requirements. These features are available in YouTube and few other streaming solutions. We all know downloading data uses bandwidth, but what happens with streaming? If you are streaming music it is about  5 – 1 megabytes for a minute and low quality videos use up about 4 – 5 megabytes for a minute. These numbers can vary based on the quality chosen. So, don’t download and go streaming. With best iptv service Canada, you can stream your favorite content endlessly.

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