Streaming Video

What is streaming video?

Continuous transmission of video files from a server to a client is known as video streaming. Thanks to video streaming, users can watch videos online without downloading them.

Movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, and live-streamed content are all examples of streaming video content. Video streaming to subscribers has been a massive success for services like Netflix and Hulu.

The continuous transfer of audio and video files from a server to a client is called “streaming.” In video streams, information is transmitted over the internet in a compressed form and is instantly displayed by the viewer. A constant stream of data is used to send the media, played as it comes in. The user needs a player, a specialized program that decompresses and transmits audio and video data to speakers and the display. Windows Media Player 12 for Windows 10 and QuickTime Player for macOS are examples of media players.

How does streaming video operate?

Usually, a remote server’s hosted prerecorded media file is where video streams start. The data in the video file is compressed and sent in pieces to the requesting device once the server receives a client request. A small amount of data is contained in each packet of an audio or video file, which is divided into smaller containers. To exchange data over a network, a transmission protocol is often either a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). A video player on the user end will decompress the data after the requesting client receives the data packets and interpret the video and audio. Once played, the video files are automatically removed.

The more reliable protocol is usually TCP, but UDP has a quicker transmission time. UDP is used when speed is more important than reliability, whereas TCP is used when reliability is more important. For instance, many consumer streaming services use TCP, whereas video conferencing works best with UDP.

Video streams can be distributed as part of a live broadcast feed, but they are typically sent from prerecorded video files. When broadcasting lives, the video signal is compressed and sent as a digital signal from a specialized web server that multicasts or sends the same file to many users simultaneously.

Users can stream content from their laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets, and smart TVs, as well as from other gadgets like Chromecast or Apple TV. Video can be streamed using various programs, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Twitch. While user subscriptions support Netflix, services like YouTube stream videos for free and are ad-supported.