Streaming is a method of delivering audio or video content over the internet in real time, rather than downloading the entire content and storing it on a device for playback. When you stream content, you are able to start watching or listening to it almost immediately, because the content is being delivered to your device as it is played.
There are several different technologies and protocols that are used for streaming, but the basic process works as follows:
- The content provider (such as a TV network or music streaming service) encodes the audio or video file into a streaming format and stores it on a server.
- When you want to watch or listen to the content, you use a device (such as a computer, smartphone, or smart TV) to send a request to the server.
- The server responds by sending the content to your device in small chunks, called “packets.” These packets are reassembled by your device into a continuous stream of audio or video.
- As the content is played, your device continually receives new packets of data to keep the stream going.
Streaming allows you to access a wide range of audio and video content over the internet without having to download and store large files on your device. It also allows you to start watching or listening to the content almost immediately, rather than having to wait for it to download first.