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.
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
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
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