Streaming has been part of our lives for more than a decade: it appeared when the Internet became democratized. This service is based on the continuous transmission of an audio or video stream online, without downloading.
What is streaming?
Streaming is used to view or listen to content online. This protocol allows instant playback of videos or music, directly in the web browser. Streaming was widely developed on the Internet in the early 2000s, with the launch of large streaming platforms today very well known such as YouTube, Dailymotion, or Deezer. Streaming makes it easy to watch videos or listen to music on the Internet, without having to download a file. It has become an essential protocol. In 2018, it was estimated that streaming represented almost 58% of the world’s bandwidth.
How does streaming work?
Streaming works between two parties: the client, that is to say, the Internet user, and a server. When launching a streaming video, the user’s computer sends a request to the server: a small part of the file is then placed in what is called a buffer memory, part of the computer’s RAM. When enough data is retrieved from this memory, playback starts. The stream (the rest of the file) is then downloaded progressively to the buffer memory so that reading continues smoothly. There are different types of reading: progressive reading (most used) and continuous reading. Streaming allows you to avoid downloading a file to your computer’s hard drive, but it does require a good internet connection (and above all good bandwidth) to operate smoothly.
What are the main uses of streaming (professional and private)?
Streaming is now widely used in all fields and across the net. It is the basis of the success of web giants such as YouTube, Spotify and of course, Netflix. Video-on-demand platforms all use this protocol. In practice, we use daily streaming: to listen to our favourite songs on Spotify or Deezer or to watch movies and series on Netflix. Free platforms such as YouTube are used worldwide, both for private and professional use. Live video broadcasts, especially on social networks, have now become legion thanks to the streaming protocol.
In the marketing and B2B sectors, streaming is also an interesting source of content. Brands with a site of sufficient size can use streaming to share their content with their customers and prospects.
Note that the success of streaming has accelerated with the arrival of 4G, which allows smartphone users to view content anywhere and anytime. Streaming then became a reflex so many Internet users cannot do without it today.
The main players in streaming
The main current streaming platforms are YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Netflix, OCS, Spotify, Deezer … but there are many others. Many television channels stream their content, paid or not, with or without a personal account.