Delivering Excellence

Internet Streaming

Virtual Xcellence / Internet Streaming

Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. Its verb form, “to stream”, refers to the process of delivering media in this manner; the term refers to the delivery method of the medium rather than the medium itself.

A client media player can begin playing the data (such as a movie) before the entire file has been transmitted. Distinguishing delivery method from the media distributed applies specifically to telecommunications networks, as most other delivery systems are either inherently streaming (e.g., radio, television) or inherently nonstreaming (e.g., books, video cassettes, audio CDs). For example, in the 1930s, elevator music was among the earliest popularly available streaming media; nowadays Internet television is a common form of streamed media. The term “streaming media” can apply to media other than video and audio such as live closed captioning, ticker tape, and real-time text, which are all considered “streaming text”. The term “streaming” was first used in the early 1990s as a better description for video on demand on IP networks; at the time such video was usually referred to as “store and forward video”, which was misleading nomenclature.

Microsoft developed a media player known as ActiveMovie in 1995 that allowed streaming media and included a proprietary streaming format, which was the precursor to the streaming feature later in Windows Media Player 6.4 in 1999. In June 1999 Apple also introduced a streaming media format in its QuickTime 4 application. It was later also widely adopted on websites along with RealPlayer and Windows Media streaming formats. The competing formats on websites required each user to download the respective applications for streaming and resulted in many users having to have all three applications on their computer for general compatibility.

Around 2002, the interest in a single, unified, streaming format and the widespread adoption of Adobe Flash prompted the development of a video streaming format through Flash, which is the format used in Flash-based players on many popular video hosting sites today such as YouTube. Increasing consumer demand for live streaming has prompted YouTube to implement a new live streaming service to users. Presently the company also offers a (secured) link returning the available connection speed of the user.

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