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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 regularly scheduled radio and over-the-air TV. On demand content may also be requested with services like Netflix, Hulu and cable TV.

Downloading vs. Streaming
Unlike downloading files, which remain in the receiving device until the user deletes them, streaming content is not retained 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, the term streaming has become synonymous with broadcasting. See network TV, stream, streaming audio, streaming video, adaptive streaming and home theater streaming.