Building a website when the internet used to be a new kid on the block was pretty easy as the websites of that era comprised only a few texts and images. A couple of decades ago, people were limited to only texts and pictures because of slow internet connection and a low internet penetration rate.
But the proliferation of the internet and its increasing speed has made it possible for anyone to stream high-quality videos or make video calls. Well, this has been made possible with the power of a technology known as dash player.
Without streaming, we would have been stuck to those simple image and text-based websites, and concepts like YouTube would have only been confined to movie scripts. Streaming has changed how we use the internet, and it has made the digital platform a more informative and entertaining place.
What is streaming?
Streaming is the continuous transmission of video or audio files from the server to a specific client. In layman language, streaming happens when a person watches TV with the help of an internet connection. All the media files being played by the user are stored remotely during streaming, and then the files are transmitted a few seconds at a time over the internet.
Streaming might not sound like rocket science or something revolutionary. Still, you can thank this technology for making it possible to watch your favorite video song on Youtube without storing it on your device or watching your friend sitting in another corner of the world in real-time with the help of video calling. Video streaming technology is the most revolutionary technology of the human era.
Difference between streaming and downloading
Streaming always happens in real-time, and in most cases, it is a much better option than downloading. When you download anything, the entire file is first saved on the device, and you can never play that file or open the file until you have finished downloading it completely. But that is not the case with streaming, as in this case, the browser plays the video by simply copying and saving.
During streaming, the video always loads the files in chunks instead of loading the entire file at once, and none of the information loaded by the browser is saved locally. The increasing speed of the internet has made streaming possible. Otherwise, we would have been still stuck to the traditional method of downloading.
You can think of streaming and downloading as a stream and a lake. Both contain water, and in some cases, the stream may have as much water as a lake, but in the case of a stream, all the water is never at the same place at the same time. So, a downloaded video is more like a lake, and it takes a lot of space on your hard drive. And streaming video is more like a stream where the video data is continuously flowing.
The working of video streaming technology
In streaming, both the audio and video packages are broken into chunks, also known as data packets over the internet. Each of these data packets contains a part of the file. The browser being used by the user then receives these data packets and interprets them as audio or video.
Does streaming rely on UDP or TCP?
Many streaming methods rely entirely on User Datagram Protocol or UDP, and then there are those streaming methods based on Transmission Control Protocol or TCP. Bot these protocols are only used for packets of data that keep on moving across the entire network.
A dedicated connection is opened in TCP before the data is transmitted, making sure every data packet arrives in the correct order. In the case of UDP, none of these features are used, so TCP is considered more reliable. But the time taken to transmit files in the case of UDP is much shorter than TCP.
If TCP is like a delivery system where you need to sign the papers before receiving the package, then UDP is more like a delivery system where the package is left at your door; There is no need for any signature type.
In many streaming cases, speed is more important than reliability, and therefore, many people stick with UDP without any second thoughts.
Video streaming technology has completely changed how we consume content online since it has helped us move from text and images to high-quality videos. With time, the consumption of video-based content is only increasing, and more people are flocking to video calls rather than being confined to audio calls.