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Definition: streaming

Transmitting digital audio or video content while users listen or watch. Material can be streamed from a private network or the public Internet, the latter now the streaming capital of the world. To the user, streaming is the same as listening to radio or watching cable, satellite or network TV, except that a connection to the Internet is required. Like network TV, streamed content may be regularly scheduled, or like Netflix and Hulu, content may be streamed on demand.

Downloading vs. Streaming
Unlike downloading files, which remain in the computer until the user deletes them, streaming content is automatically deleted from the receiving device after being played.

Streaming vs. Broadcasting
Broadcasting used to mean free over-the-air network TV channels. However, as local channels are increasingly offered via streaming services or as an option with streaming set-top boxes, the term streaming has absorbed the older broadcasting term. See stream, streaming audio, streaming video, adaptive streaming and home theater streaming.