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Definition: streaming video


A one-way video transmission like broadcast TV. Streaming video is widely used to watch video clips and movies from the Internet on TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones. Streaming video is also accomplished locally when users stream a movie from their personal collection over their local network to a media hub connected to a TV (see digital media hub).

Unlike movies that are downloaded, which can be played at any time, a streamed movie is played immediately and not stored in the receiving device.

It's Already in the Buffer
Watching momentary blips in video is annoying, and the only way to compensate for that over the Internet, which does not guarantee perfect service, is to get some of the video data into the receiving device before it starts playing. In streaming video, both the client and server cooperate for uninterrupted motion. The client side stores a few seconds of video in a memory buffer before it starts sending it to the screen and speakers. Throughout the session, it continues to buffer video frames ahead of time. See buffer.

Video Calling/Conferencing Is More Demanding
Video calling and conferencing 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 (see real-time video). Very noticeable with free services such as Skype and FaceTime, there are days when the connection is flawless and other times when the interruptions are numerous. See progressive download, home theater streaming, videoconferencing, smart TV, streaming audio and streaming video games.




The Streaming Concept
Extra packets are buffered in memory in order to compensate for the unpredictable delivery over the Internet.