A one-way video transmission over a data network. It is widely used to transmit video clips and movies from the Web to desktop computers or directly to the TV set (see Internet TV). Companies stream video over their networks to their employees, and in a home network, users stream video from their computers to a digital media hub connected to their home theater.|
Unlike movie files that are played after the entire file has been downloaded and stored, streaming video is played shortly after only a small amount is received. The data are often not stored permanently in the destination computer; however, if a video is purchased, it may be watched as it is streamed and stored for later viewing.
If the streaming video is broadcast live, then it may be called "real-time video." However, technically, real time means no delays, and there is a built-in delay in streaming video (see real-time video).
It's Already in the Buffer
Watching momentary blips in video is annoying, and the only way to compensate for that over an erratic network such as the Internet is to get some of the video data into the computer before you start watching it. In streaming video, both the client and server cooperate for uninterrupted motion. The client side stores a few seconds of video in a buffer before it starts sending it to the screen and speakers. Throughout the session, it continues to receive video data ahead of time.
Videoconferencing Is More Demanding
Videoconferencing is much more taxing on the network and computers than streaming video. It requires sufficient bandwidth and processing power to handle the video coming in and going out in real time without the benefit of buffering. Contrast with progressive download. See home theater streaming, Windows Media, videoconferencing and streaming audio.
Extra packets are buffered in memory in order to compensate for the unpredictable delivery over the Internet.
The message means 70% of a reserved area in memory is filled. When it reaches 100%, the software (Windows Media Player in this example) will start "playing" the video.