Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Audio and video streaming is a distribution technique for multimedia content. Streaming, as opposed to downloading, allows users to watch or listen to the content immediately without having to wait until the whole file is downloaded. Streaming has become a commonplace technique for media organizations to reach their audiences. Likewise, citizens are gaining the capacity to stream their own content as the costs continue to drop. Advances in bandwidth availability, computer processing power and digital compression techniques allowed streaming to take off in the mid-1990s, making it a practical reality for those with broadband connections. Increases in band-width—that is, the capacity of a given channel to carry data—allowed for the streaming of multimedia content (such as music or video) with large file sizes, as opposed to text that demands far less bandwidth. Continuing increases in computer processing power and advances in compression techniques have enabled a significant decrease in the ...