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The basics of online streaming
A brief article about online streaming and what it means during these times

If this year has taught us anything, it is just that some form of entertainment is crucial to our lives. Speaking of the fact, we do have entertainment in the form of house cleaning sessions or maybe the work from home meets. The only saviour during these troubled times has come in the form of ‘online entertainment’, more specifically online streaming.

What is online streaming?

In layman’s word, streaming is just an alternative to file downloads. Instead of downloading the file into your local and watching it later, you can just watch it in real-time. So, streaming is what happens when we watch videos or listen to audio on internet-connected devices.

How does streaming works?

Similar to the data which are transferred over the internet, videos and audio data are broken into small packets. Each packet contains a small piece of the file which is then transferred from the server to the clients, in this case, clients are the people who want access to the media to watch or listen to. Audio or the video player in the browser on the client system will be responsible to receive the flow of packets sequentially and interpret them as audio or video.

Do you know the advantages of online streaming?

  • Clear sound and visuals: Unlike pirated and corrupted files, online streaming provides high-quality content. According to one’s preference, the quality of the streaming content can be modified. It’s like your own personalized player.
  • No download time: Since you are enjoying the content over the internet, there is no need for downloading files. 
  • No need for memory space: And when you don’t have to download files then you won’t be requiring disk space, hence saving the memory.
  • Instant playback: In the early stage of the internet, there was a need for developers or webmasters to tag a link on their websites if they want to share the video with the visitors. Then the users had to download the videos and watch them accordingly later on. However, now online streaming has changed all of this as one can get instant playback.
  • Instant viewing: One can get immediate access to the content even if they are travelling or eating in a restaurant.
  • Many options: With great demand, one can see a lot of online streaming platforms available.
  • Updating recommendations: With developing technology, we can see the change in online streaming services as well. One can see the integration of technologies like AI and ML which is improving the user’s experience. With the user’s every streaming content, the services extract their categories of preferences.

How can streaming be made faster?

Streaming can be a subject of delay because of stream content storage. Hosting location plays an important role in the case of any kind of content which is accessed over the internet. For example, if a user in location A is trying to stream a video from Xcine’s (an online streaming platform) server which is at location B, then the video content has to travel across these locations in order to reach the user’s player. This can lead to buffering if the distance is much apart. As a solution to this, streaming services makes use of CDN or content delivery networks, which stored the content in locations around the world that are much closer to the users hence helping the users view the high-quality content without slow loading time.

This state of quarantine is no fun. But in the context of entertainment, the lockdown is a period where we see the future overrule the past with ease. Movie theatres are already dying slowly in many regions of the world. Keeping the safety measures on, movies are releasing on online streaming platforms. All in all, this year people had to stick with streaming services. What happens once the dreaded pandemic is finally over for good? It can be said that the preference of the masses is evolving. They want comfort and convenience over silver screen entertainment. Apart from that, when you have an option to pay around Rs.300 for a monthly subscription to an online streaming service and enjoy tons of films and shows comfortably anywhere is a great add-on to their choices.

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