We have been using online streaming technology for quite some time now, and it has even become for some people their main means of consuming the internet (on Youtube or Netflix for example). But what exactly is streaming, and how does it work?
Streaming: online video little by little
When you want to watch a video or listen to music on your computer, you need to download it first. There is no alternative. Knowing that, you have to think about Youtube or Netflix saying to yourself “No, we don’t always need to download: on these sites we press play and our video / music starts to play instantly.”. And there is the trick: In fact, when you watch a video or listen to music streaming on the internet you download it indeed. However, this download is done piece by piece and not in full before starting playback, this has the effect of saving a lot of time by downloading and playing the video at the same time. Now for the cricket options you can go for the Smartcric option now.
- The word “streaming” itself is pretty telling in English, it means “diffusion” or “dumping”. Information arrives at your computer in a continuous flow of information. If we compared the download to a hydraulic dam, only capable of producing electricity after having gathered a large amount of water, the streaming would be comparable to a water mill, capable of producing electricity while letting through the water.
- When watching a video or listening to music streaming, your computer downloads and decodes tiny pieces of media in real time. If you have a powerful internet connection, it may happen that you have finished downloading the file before you have finished reading it, it is for this reason that during an internet cut your stream may continue for a few seconds / minutes before stopping. That said, no streamed files will end up on your computer permanently. Some streaming services, such as Spotify, however, record small cache files to make future downloading of the same file faster.
Video streaming on the internet is not new, its performance has long been too limited to really benefit from it, today it has changed and we can generally watch videos in 4K streaming without loading problems (with fiber, otherwise you’ll often have to settle for 1080p). To launch a video or a music in streaming a few years ago was often to risk a stuttering of the media which was blocked because of a too slow internet connection.
The operating principle has remained the same. The file downloads gradually while you watch / listen to it. It’s the infrastructure that has changed and sites like Netflix and Youtube have contributed a lot.