The Internet provides many ways for users to access video files online. The traditional method involves downloading a video file just as a user would with a regular document or picture file. The user has to wait for the download to finish, then open the video and watch it. However, streaming videos allow users to watch a video while downloading it from the Internet.
Streaming video technology is useful for real-time and on-demand requests. Commonly used to stream videos to broadcast news on the Internet. Some major news networks even provide live news video streaming on their websites. Another common use for streaming videos is to watch movie clips. Many movie studios provide previews or trailers of their upcoming movie features by streaming video clips. Also from the entertainment business, music labels use this technology to stream music videos to the public.
With the sudden emergence of portable webcams, one of the growing uses for streaming video is video conferencing. Computer chat programs often come with video conferencing functions that allow the conversations of the person they are chatting with to see. This feature not only allows Internet users to hear the voices of their friends or loved ones, but also allows them to see each other in real time. Similarly, entrepreneurs use this function to run business meetings, conferences, or even corporate training on the Internet.
Streaming videos are also used in the field of education. Live or pre-recorded lectures are available from many university and education websites. This allows students to see and listen to lectures over and over again.
There are many other uses for streaming videos. Some websites provide real-time views of major roads. This service is very helpful for drivers who want to avoid vehicle traffic.
There are also limitations and disadvantages to all the benefits of streaming videos. For videos to be delivered quickly to a user’s desktop for viewing, two things need to be considered: the size of the video and the Internet bandwidth available to the user. Compressed videos can usually sacrifice their quality, while small bandwidth usually results in chopped video playback. Another disadvantage of the availability of streaming video is the increase in network or Internet traffic.