Streaming multimedia, a kind of multimedia, which is media that uses
different forms of content. Distinctive types of multimedia
presentation are combinations of text, audio, still images, animation,
video, and interactivity content forms.
The streaming variant is being sent, in a continuous flow, to the user
of the content by the streaming provider. In this context, examples of
the content stream include audio and video.
The streaming refers to the method of delivery of the content flow
rather than to the nature of the content. Apart from telecommunications
networks, most systems for delivering content are either streaming,
such as radio and television, or non-streaming, such as audio CD’s,
video cassettes, and books. The term ‘to stream’ means, quite simply,
to deliver media in this particular manner.
The first attempts were made, in mid-20th century, to display media on
computers. However, due to the high cost and very limited capabilities
of computer hardware at that time, development did not proceed at any
pace for many years.
By the 1990s, personal computers had become sufficiently powerful to
display a variety of media forms. The main technical problems
associated with streaming at that time were:
Having sufficient CPU power, which refers to the central processor,
that can execute computer programmes, and also bus bandwidth, which is
the capacity of the system to transfer data over a connection, in order
to support the required rates of data flow.
Creating low latency, which allows delays too swift for human detection
between an input being processed and the corresponding output providing
real time characteristics, interrupt paths in the OS, or operating
system, to prevent buffer underrun, which occurs when a buffer, which
is a storage device used to compensate for a difference in rate of flow
of data between devices used to communicate between two devices or
processes, is fed with data at a lower speed than the data is being
read from it.
However, computer networks had still not developed fully, and so media
content was normally processed over non-streaming channels, such as CD
Between the late 1990s and into the next century, there were
significant advances in the internet, such as:
An increase in network bandwidth, especially in the last mile, which
referred to the final leg of delivering connectivity from the
communications provider to a customer.
Greater access to networks, especially the internet.
The application of standard protocols and formats, such as TCP/IP,
HTTP, and HTML.
Significantly greater commercialization of the Internet.
With the advent of powerful home computers and advanced operating
systems, these advances in computer networking enabled streaming media
to become a practical and affordable proposition for the nation at
Another advance was the introduction of stand-alone Internet radio
devices, which are hardware devices that receive and play audio from
internet radio stations or the user’s PC or other embedded media
servers. For the first time, this provided listeners with the ability
to listen to audio streams without the requirement of a PC.
In general, multimedia content is large, so media storage and
transmission costs are still significant. In order to compensate for
this, media is generally compressed, such as in a ZIP file format,
which provides compression, and also acts as an archiver, storing many
source files in a single destination output file, for both storage and
A media stream can be either on demand or live. In the case of on
demand streams, the content is stored on a server for long periods of
time, and is available for transmission on request. Live streams, on
the other hand, are only available at one particular time, such as in a
video stream of a live sporting event.