How Does Streaming Work?

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Let’s learn the basics of the streaming world and all its workings

Streaming can be defined as something which allows a consumer to consume media online without the struggle to have to wait for the download to complete. The history of streaming can be traced back to the ’90s but it was during the 2000s when it started achieving recognition. These streaming services enable its customers to enjoy television shows, music, videos, shows, and even games on their devices. With technology enhancing and upgrading itself each day, mobile phones and tablets are now the most viable computing options, and thus, the users have more options on when and how they opt to view the streaming media. This sort of handy consumption creates a useful scenario for the businesses, also all the multimedia can be shared and accessed at the ease of a single touch.

Streaming provides us with the ultimate convenience in the consumption of media: Just a click and all sorts of media are right before you to enjoy. 

But how does streaming exactly work?

Streaming is a means to transfer data in a continuous flow over a network. The data that is being transferred i.e., the audio and video data is broken down into smaller portions called data packets. Each of these data packets contains some piece of information that is being sent from the server-side. A transfer protocol called UDP is used for sending packets of data across networks. UDP is used with the Internet Protocol (IP), and together they are called UDP/IP. On the client-side, some audio and video player in the browser takes the incoming flow of packets and interprets them as videos and audios. For instance, as soon as your laptop or phone receives the start of a media, you’re able to start looking at it. As the media continues playing on your device, the remainder of the information gets transmitted.

As long as there is a stable and reliable internet connection, the transmission of data can take place smoothly, and thus the device can play the entire media without any interruption. So, if you’ve used services like Xcine , then you’ve used streaming in action. 

Nowadays, we are used to seamless streaming of the media, all thanks to the internet and technology adopted by the streaming vendors wherein the streaming media players load a few seconds of the media ahead of time and store it in the buffer so that the media can continue to play non-stop. However, if the internet connection is slow, the user may encounter frequent pauses in the stream, which implies that the device is going low on the media stored in the buffer as well.   

Are streaming and downloading the same?

Streaming enables the user to view the audio and video in real-time with much efficiency. Also, it is to be noted that a constant internet connection is required to smoothly stream the content. When the user downloads content, he/she needs to wait for the entire time until the file gets downloaded before being to play it. Downloading media also consumes a good amount of disk space on your device, which is not the case while you stream it. Downloaded media is restricted to the device on which it was saved or to other devices to which it was copied, unlike streaming online, which is hassle-free.

Streaming is ultra-convenient and all the rage these days. It has revolutionized our traditional movie or shows watching experiences over the years, now users not only stream music and videos from across the world but can also enjoy international and national sports, online games, podcasts, and much more. With advancements being made every day to make the internet faster and reachable to everyone and portable devices popping up in almost everyone’s hands, online streaming has a very promising future. 

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