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What is it and how does it work?



  Smart TV Displays Streaming Service Apps
Manuel Esteban / Shutterstock

We have been streaming content from the Internet for a long time, and it has come to the point that Netflix and the Internet are serving the same services Youtube. But what exactly is streaming and how does it work?

Streaming happens bit by bit

If you want to watch a video or play a song on your computer, you need to download it first. There's no way around it. If you know this, you can look at Netflix or Spotify and ask, "How did we figure out how to download videos and music instantly?" Well, that's just right. When you stream media, they are not immediately downloaded to your computer. it is downloaded piece by piece in real time.

The word "streaming" is self-descriptive. Information will flow into your computer in a continuous flow of information. If downloading movies is similar to buying bottled water, streaming movies is like using a faucet to fill an empty bottle.

You can compare streaming a movie to watching a VHS tape. When you play a VHS tape, every second of video and audio is scanned piece by piece. This happens when you watch in real time, which means that interruptions suddenly interrupt or end your movie experience.

When you stream a movie or song, your computer downloads itty-bitty songs and decodes it in real-time. If you have an unusually fast Internet connection, the file may be completely downloaded before you fully view or listen to it. Because of this, sometimes a stream will continue to run even if the Internet goes down. That is, anything you stream is not copied to your computer's persistent storage (although some services, such as Spotify, store some small cache files on your device to speed future renderings.)

Businesses Work Hard For Streaming Fast

Streaming video and audio from the Internet is not new. it just feels new because it's finally comfortable. Watching a video or playing a song from a website was an annoying and time-consuming affair. The stream was paused and started all the time, and you could wait minutes for media to be buffered (and sometimes not buffered at all).

However, the way streaming works has largely remained the same. Files are gradually downloaded as you view or listen to them. The infrastructure has changed and companies like Youtube and Netflix have worked hard (and spent a lot of money) to build this infrastructure.

 Abstract File Cabinets Full of Files
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Youtube and Netflix previously used only one or two servers to host their content, and it did not work. Users who were away from the servers experienced a long delay, and on days of heavy traffic (eg, Saturday night), server streaming was slowed down to thinned. Businesses have solved this problem by building content delivery networks (CDNs) for storing and sending content. A CDN is a dense, global network of servers, all containing the same content. This reduces delays and prevents servers from being overburdened in densely populated areas.

Of course, a powerful CDN is useless if all users have bad Internet connections. In a sense, this problem over time is resolved. ISPs are increasingly competing for faster, more powerful Internet connections, and advances such as Google Fiber and 5G Home Internet connections are on the horizon.

Some streaming services and ISPs have detected this despite faster home Internet connections and dense CDNs High global Internet traffic can cause streaming delays. In addition, services like Netflix use more than 15% of the world's Internet bandwidth. When many people stream into the new season of strangers, the entire Internet can slow down.

Streaming services provide the ability to deploy Open Connect Appliances (OCAs) for ISPs. These OCAs are essentially hard drives filled with popular movies, songs, and other streaming content. You reduce the need for your ISP to redirect your Internet traffic to a Netflix or Hulu server. This not only speeds up streaming, but also prevents the Internet from slowing down on Netflix.

Live streaming presents new problems

With live video streaming on platforms like Facebook Live or Twitch, the information is displayed Receiving on your computer happens in real time (or as close as possible). As you can imagine, a live streamer needs to be able to upload content as fast as you can download content.

 Evening sun on a small white house
Dariusz Jarzabek / Shutterstock

As A livestreamreamer records his video. Every millisecond of this video (and its associated sound) is broken up into small files. These tiny files are compressed and organized by an encoder, they fly over the Internet, and your computer downloads them piece by piece. Because the files are encrypted, your computer can put them together in a sound video, and there should be no major delay between you and the streaming source.

Popular live streaming services like Twitch and Youtube use a global server network to reduce lag and improve video streaming quality. However, all live streaming videos are subject to the internet connection of a livestreamreamer. As you can imagine, live streamers can not use OCAs. Fortunately, the development of faster Internet connections such as Google Fiber has enabled live streaming, and the implementation of 5G Internet connections will further enhance the quality of livestreams.

The future of streaming is video games [19659006] The idea of ​​playing video games in your browser is not very new. A lot of the internet is dedicated to small games, and there are many people who go to Facebook specifically for Farmville and Candy Crush. However, some companies are trying to take the browser game a step further by developing streaming services for resource-hungry console games.

To be very clear, we're not talking about the live stream from Farm Simulator to Twitch, we're talking about remotely playing video games without a dedicated console or a computer worth $ 1000. When streaming games, a server that is far from home takes care of all the numbers needed to run resource-hungry games. Services like Google's Project Stream and Nvidia's GEFORCE NOW promise that your crappy $ 100 laptop can play even the biggest and most beautiful games. This saves people a lot of money and overcomes the hurdles that have imposed video game hardware limitations.

Of course, streaming a video game to another computer's computer is much more difficult than streaming a movie. You are not downloading a static file step by step. You edit and interact with a file in real time. If there is a delay between the inputs of the controller and the activities on the screen, the game is not playable. You can consider services like Skype and Facetime as a forerunner of streaming games because they require fast bidirectional connections. Streaming games, however, needs to be much more seamless.

Resource-intensive game streaming services are not yet mainstream or extremely reliable, so companies are outwitted with their trade secrets. However, we know that they are essentially following in the footsteps of Netflix. Companies like Nvidia are building CDNs full of super-power graphics cards, and Google is trying to figure out how full-featured Open Connect appliances can connect to Google Fiber Home's high-speed Internet services. In any case, streaming games is the next step in the history of media streaming.

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