We all have been downloading and playing back high quality audio and video files from the Internet. Though this process is very easy and you can store the data file for later use, it can be exasperating experience at times because the time taken to download a file can be unusually long. Nowadays, streaming video over the network is gaining popularity as an alternate to downloading. Be it an informational, educational or entertainment program, streaming video is becoming a popular mode of transmitting the data. As broadband connectivity has grown, websites have increased their use of video clips.
The term Streaming video refers to the method of one-way transmission of a video in the compressed format through the Internet. Its advantage is that the video is transmitted as a continuous stream, enabling the viewer to play it within a few seconds of requesting it. The data is not saved permanently on the computer and hence does not utilize the precious hard disk space. The viewer would require a player that can uncompress the data and play it through the monitor and the speakers. Some of the well-known players available in the market are MacroMedia's Streaming Shockwave, Progressive Network's RealVideo, Xing Technology's StreamWorks, VDONet's VDOLive, Vosaic, Vxtreme, Vivoactive and Microsoft's NetShow. Streaming video is normally sent from prerecorded video files.
However, it can also be distributed as part of a live broadcast "feed." In the case of a live broadcast, the video signal is converted into a compressed digital signal and transmitted from a server that has a capability of multicasting i.e. sending the same file to multiple users at the same time. If the streaming video is broadcast live, then it is termed as "real-time video.
" However, there is a built-in delay in streaming video due to buffering of the feed. With the advancement in technology, it is nowadays possible to capture streaming video and store it in the hard disk. One can save live streaming video, streaming news video, streaming movies, streaming music videos etc with the help of a software Stream Recorder. Use of streaming video for videoconferencing is the latest application that is gaining ground. Videoconferencing is more challenging on the network than streaming video. This is because it requires real-time, two-way transmission with enough bandwidth for video coming in and going out at the same time without buffering.
The biggest hurdle that still needs to be overcome is to provide broadband access to all the users. Many users still do not have enough bandwidth to receive streaming video in an acceptable quality.
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