What is Streaming?
Streaming is the process of sending compressed media files or live streams from computer to computer across a network without downloading the stream. Playback clients display the stream as it is received or from a small client-side buffer. The stream is not saved to disk client-side, as is the case with progressive download. Streaming provides several key advantages compared to progressive download:
- Live streaming enabled – A media server such as one running Wowza Streaming Engine™ software is required to handle live stream ingress, replication, and packetization for different client types.
- Content security – Media Server software provides many options for enhancing security because content is not downloaded to clients.
- Random Seek in video on demand – In streaming, a file does not have to download to seek forward to a keyframe.
- Streaming of large on-demand files – In progressive download, very large media files are impractical because they need to download sequentially. A user can only see what has downloaded.
- Bandwidth savings – In streaming, only the parts of a media file that are played back are sent to the client.
With the exception of the benefits offered by live streaming, the advantages provided by streaming are all aspects of the fact that content is not downloaded in the client.
Wowza Streaming Engine™ software supports a variety of encoders and playback clients for live streaming. Live encoders with built-in H.264 video and AAC or MP3 audio are supported directly. Other encoding formats are supported for transcoding by using the Wowza Transcoder.
A number of technologies are used to provide a continuous, uninterrupted stream, such as RTMP streaming, HTTP Streaming, H.264 encoding, and Adaptive bitrate (ABR) techniques.