Streaming services are becoming increasingly popular, with sites such as YouTube, Spotify and Netflix providing hours upon hours of video, music and film to their end users. They allow high quality audio and video to be delivered to many different types of device around the world.

Online video and audio streaming is made possible through a wide range of technologies:

  • HTTP download, which enables playback only once the entire file has been downloaded
  • HTTP progressive download, which allows end users to view a video before the download has completed, with the stream continuing in the background. This is ideal for on-demand viewing
  • Adaptive bitrate. This enables the bitrate of mobile video to be dynamically altered depending on device and the connection speed. This is achieved by separating video files into multiple 2-4 second indexed segments. The quality of each segment is then dynamically altered. The most popular protocols used today are Apple HTTP Live Streaming, Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming for Flash and Microsoft IIS Smooth Streaming
  • Support for the playback of multiple file types, including high definition media, H.264/AAC, MP4, MOV, MKV, WMV and many more
  • P2P delivery, which facilitates the delivery of video files between end users’ computers, preventing server and network bottlenecks whilst further improving download speeds