Streaming video and audio have come a long way over the years. In the early 2000s there were more than 57 million people that listened to Internet radio every week. In 2006, people watched more than a million streaming videos a day on YouTube according to Reuters. The same year, television network ABC started streaming its most popular TV shows over the Web. People who missed an episode of shows like “Lost” or “Grey’s Anatomy” could catch up on the entire season online — legally and for free. In streaming video and audio, the information is a stream of data from a server. The decoder is a stand-alone player or a plugin that works as part of a Web browser. The server, information stream and decoder work together to let people watch live and/or pre-recorded broadcasts.

Streaming Video came about mainly due to the limitations of dialup Internet connections being too slow to show video. Back in the days before cable or broadband access, if you wanted to watch a video, you had to download the entire video before you could watch it – and on a 56k modem that would take forever.

Your picture quality will be determined by your available bandwidth (download speed) and computer processor speed. Users with older processors and slower modem connections will have more dropped frames and pixelization.


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