In the early days of the internet, the websites were pretty simple. They usually contain text with one or two images at most. However, thanks to the advancements in technology, the times have changed now. Today, almost everyone has access to a fast internet connection. There are many ISPs that are offering different superinternetdeals that can satisfy your cravings for connection speed. And due to this, people can easily enjoy HD films or make a video call over the internet.
What Is Streaming?
Although the internet has a large role to play when it comes to enjoying video content on the internet, the technology which makes this possible is called streaming. But what is it? Well, streaming is the continuous transmission of video or audio files from a server to a client. When streaming, the media file gets stored on the client’s device remotely. It is then transmitted over the internet a few seconds at a time.
Streaming vs. Downloading: The Difference
Since streaming happens in real-time, it is more efficient than downloading. If you are downloading a media file, then you won’t be able to play it until the process finishes. Plus, the file will use space on your hard drive. However, when you stream the content, the browser will play the video without saving or copying it. Also, the video that you are streaming will keep loading as you watch instead of taking time to load the entire content at once. This saves a lot of time. And you can enjoy the video without any hassles as long as your internet connection stays stable.
To better understand the difference between streaming and downloading, you can think of the difference between a stream and a lake. Both will have water. A stream may contain the same level of water as a lake itself. But the difference between the two is that not all of the water will be at the same place and at the same time in a stream. You can consider downloading to be more like a lake in terms that it will take space on your hard drive. Whereas streaming a video is much like a stream as the data of the video is continuously flowing to the browser.
How Does Streaming Work?
When it comes to streaming, a lot of people wonder how it happens. If you are one of them, then here’s the answer; the data of audio and video content is first broken into data packets. Each of those packets has a piece of the file. Then, the video or the audio player on the client’s browser will take the flow of the data packets before interpreting them as video or audio.
There are also transport protocols, UDP and TCP, that are involved in the streaming process. However, both of them are not used simultaneously. It is always either one or the other. These protocols help move the data across the platforms. They both are operated by the internet protocol or IP. TCP or Transmission Control Protocol makes sure that a dedicated connection is launched in order to make the transmitting process as smooth as possible, allowing the data packets to arrive orderly. On the contrary, UDP or Datagram Protocol is much faster than TCP but has a drawback; the data packs can get lost along the way.
Buffering: A Major Problem with Streaming
Whenever you are streaming a video, the platform loads a few seconds of the content ahead of its time so that users can enjoy the video or audio seamlessly. However, sometimes, the streaming stops, or the contents strutters when playing. This is called buffering. It happens when your internet connection gets disconnected or interrupted. And this will not allow you to stream the content in peace.
There are also other factors that slow down streaming such as, network congestion and network latency. You can also experience some Wi-Fi issues. Also, you may not have enough bandwidth.
The craze of streaming picked up during the early 2000s, around the time when YouTube was introduced. Today, people crave for faster internet speeds so they can stream their favorite shows without any hassles on different platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. These providers are now using Content Delivery Networks or CDN to save content across the world, in locations near to the users. They are doing this so that people can continue to have an excellent experience while streaming on such platforms.