What Is Streaming and How Does It Work?


Streaming has become the primary way many of us our media because of its ease of use and flexible capabilities. However, a lot of people don’t think about how it’s able to produce movies and shows and display them directly to our TVs and computers without any issues.

So, what is streaming? How does it work? Let’s take a look and then identify the main pros and cons.

What Does Streaming Mean?

Data being visually transferred

Streaming is a way to transfer video and audio data without having to store any of the files on your personal computer. Instead, the data is temporarily stored. Whenever you close the stream, you end the data transfer.

Streaming media is usually stored on an external server; the user can access this from any device that has internet. The faster your internet speed is, the better the streaming service will work.

The reason streaming has become so popular is because you don’t have to wait for the files to download to your computer before you’re able to start enjoying them. When you download files to your computer, you have to wait until the entire file is done downloading before accessing it.

With streaming, as soon as you click on the file you want to enjoy, it will immediately start playing. If your connection is weak then you might experience buffering issues. There are a number of both paid and free streaming platforms that use this technology as their business model.

How Does Streaming Work?

Ethernet cables streaming internet

Files that are used for streaming are encoded and highly compressed in order to use as little bandwidth as possible. This helps the files process faster so that you can enjoy them in real-time.

When your connection to the internet is interrupted or experiencing low bandwidth issues, you will experience a loss in audio or video quality. Your entire file can stop streaming altogether if the connection is too bad.

To help provide a continuous stream of data, your PC will buffer a specific amount of data that it receives. This means that it collects and stores the data from the stream, and if there is a break in the connection, you can still enjoy your media without interruption.

Usually, a broadband connection is enough for streaming to work efficiently but the faster your connection, the faster the stream will be.

What Are the Pros of Streaming?

Streaming is the primary way that many people consume entertainment in these modern times. Popular streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO Max are both examples of companies that use the technology.

So, why is streaming so popular? Below are its three biggest benefits.

1. You Don’t Have to Wait for Streaming

Man looking at his watch

Unlike downloading your files and waiting seconds, minutes, or even hours for them to finish, you can stream a file in no time. As soon as you click on the file, it will start playing.

This immediate satisfaction fits in perfectly with how low our tolerance levels are for enjoying media. People don’t even stay on a website if it takes more than a few seconds to load. Having the ability to watch your streams exactly when you want is why so many are using it.

2. Streaming Doesn’t Take Up Computer Space

Streaming doesn’t even use up any of your personal computer space. When you download files, you have to make sure you aren’t using up too much of your computer’s storage space or you will have to start deleting files.

With streaming, there is no data that is stored on your computer. Instead, the data is stored remotely on a different server and you’re just pulling that data without needing to save it on your computer. This gives you more space for important files and media that you actually need.

3. There Are No Schedules With Streaming

Unlike traditional forms of entertainment, where you needed to wait for a specific time in order for your show to come on, streaming lets you play it at a time that is convenient for you.

There are no schedules with streaming and you don’t have to wait for a specific time to enjoy your media. You can browse through an entire library of media content and enjoy it after work, at the gym, or even on your lunch break.

What Are the Cons of Streaming?

When discussing the pros and cons of streaming, it’s also important to look at the negative related aspects. Despite the benefits related to services of this kind, the below two cons are areas worth keeping in mind.

1. You Need A Good Internet Connection

Internet tower

If you don’t have a modern internet connection, it will be hard to try and stream entertainment on your computer. The required bandwidth is too high for a low-performing internet connection to work.

Broadband is the minimum requirement to have a steady stream but the faster your connection, the more you can stream without any delays. If you are using cellular data, streaming takes up a large amount of data and could max out your plan.

2. You Can Only Stream in Real-Time

Streaming isn’t like downloading a file where you can have access to it at any time you want, regardless if you have internet or not. With streaming, you need an internet connection and you need to be able to access the source of the stream.

If you want to watch the same stream again, you’ll need to know where you watched it from and you’ll need to make sure you have an active and fast connection. Otherwise, you won’t be able to open the file from your personal computer and play it.

Tips for Better Streaming

You can change your resolution to 1080p on higher-quality, wired internet connections. It can also improve your stream if you get one of the faster processors for streaming such as a high-powered laptop.

If you’re looking for the best experience and willing to spend some money, don’t use wireless internet as it typically offers less quality than wired connections. Wired computers are still better than wireless laptops for streaming.

Both allow for decent streams. But just remember that a wired connection is going to be more consistent with reliability when streaming, and does not have any limited range like some Wi-Fi might.

Start Streaming Your Next Show Now

The power of streaming allows people to watch their favorite shows or movies in real-time without having to download a file and waiting for it to finish. You want to have a good and fast internet connection so you can watch what you want anytime you’re available.

If you want to try a free stream, you can use one of the sites that host a collection of movies.


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