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Streaming Media streaming media

What is Streaming?

Normally when we download video or audio files on the web, we are used to waiting for a long time for the files to download. The main reason being that these files are heavy and the user has to wait until the entire file is downloaded before viewing it. What would happen if instead of the entire file being downloaded, the user gets to see bits of data that are simultaneously downloaded to her machine as she is viewing it.

Streaming is the transmission of data (multimedia) commonly video, audio and images from the server to the client's desktop, where the client plays or decodes the data as it is received.

How does it work?

Streaming lets the viewer sees the content immediately after a short buffering period of 5-20 seconds. The buffer allows the player to maintain continuous playback in the event of minor network congestion.

When the data received from the server which can be video or audio, the player(a software) at the client starts buffering, there may be loss or interruption occur while receiving the data from the server but it transmits the content to the user with out effecting the display of video or audio since the player stores lot of data in memory.

Why streaming?

There are two ways of presenting the content (multimedia), one is through downloading and another is through streaming. Both ways have their own advantages and disadvantages. The processing and costs involved in streaming are a lot more than downloading files in full. Generally it takes around 15 minutes to download a 20 seconds video file and therefore a user needs to wait for 15 minutes until the file is stored in the user's machine. Whereas in the case of streaming the content can be displayed as it loads, users need not to wait for the content to download and content will never get stored in the clients machine. For both types bandwidth plays a very important role although streaming works much better in low bandwidths than downloading type that tends to eat up large quantities of bandwidth that are hardly available.

What I can do with Streaming media?

With streaming media, you can offer video and audio over the Internet or over a variety of LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network). The streaming video can be a live broadcast of an event or presentation, or an 'on-demand' playback of pre-recorded video.

Where is it used?

Streaming video is increasingly becoming popular in the corporate world. It's become the most popular way to communicate over a company Intranet to employees and over the Internet to customers. The most common uses of streaming content are in -

  • Products demos, launches and updates or Services demos
  • Communication with the branch offices in a company
  • Sales updates
  • Online training programs
  • Company presentations and board meetings
  • Conferences with the clients
  • News and entertainment

When you say Internet, you'll think of bandwidth. And since bandwidth is the only constraint for the streaming it tends to generate better results over an Intranet. Not that it doesn't work on the Internet, especially with broad bandwidths being more easily available these days.

By using this media you can save money by delivering product or service presentations to the sales force online. There is no need in appointing a marketing executive who has to travel around giving presentations and demos, thus avoiding unnecessary expenditure.

Company Presentations and Board Meetings can be broadcasted live (Live Streaming) to the employees wit in the office as well as outside.

Training the sales force or new employees who may primarily work in branch office can be provided online which again reduces expenses. On demand, employees can access the training modules (On demand streaming) themselves directly.

If you own a news or entertainment site, you can broadcast live or on demand streaming songs or news to your customers.

How does it help a business?

In general, the best way of presenting the product or service to a client is by talking to him in person and presenting your product. You can add the same features on your website by offering more interactivity and personalized services to your customers. After all, we do know that a website that makes it's visitors linger on and read and study it more tends to make loyal customers.

Technology and software involved in creating streaming content

Video or Audio producing devices, Media Player, Media Encoder, Streaming Server, Media Broadcast Server.

Major Streaming Media Companies




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