Community College of Rhode Island

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What is Streaming?

Streaming media is a technology that enables you to include audio, video and other multimedia elements into your websites in a more seamless and efficient way than was possible in the past. Visitors to your website will be able to listen to or view media files as they are downloaded in real time.

Streaming video is a sequence of "moving images" that are sent in compressed form over the Internet and displayed by the viewer as they arrive. Streaming media is streaming video with sound. With streaming video or streaming media, a Web user does not have to wait to download a large file before seeing the video or hearing the sound. Instead, the media is sent in a continuous stream and is played as it arrives. The user needs a player (CCRI users will be using Windows Media Player for playing all video/audio files), which is a special program that uncompresses and sends video data to the display and audio data to speakers. A player can be either an integral part of a browser or downloaded from the software maker's website.

How does it work?

Audio, video and other media files are specially formatted and placed on a streaming server. Web pages can call these media files as hyperlinks. When users click a media link on a web page, the contents of the media file begin to flow across the Internet in a gradual and continuous stream from the streaming server to the user’s browser. After about a 5- to 10-second delay, audio and video files begin to play either in a popup window or embedded into the web page. Users can pause, rewind and fast-forward media clips using a VCR-type control panel.

With streaming, learners can access lengthy pre-recorded audio and video clips to enhance and enrich their study of a topic. Students can also watch, or listen to, a live event remotely. In the case of distributed learning, streaming audio and video can serve as the primary mode of content delivery.

What is the quality of streaming media?

Quality is dependent on the bandwidth, media content (motion vs. non-motion) or the amount of data that needs to be moved per second across the network.  For best viewing quality, we recommend the use of DSL or  high speed Cable Internet connections. The use of dialup modems may not not produce the best video quality. Dialup may cause long delays in downloading the video file. At dialup speeds, audio is comparable to an AM radio broadcast and video may have poor motion or be blurry.

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Last Updated: 10/18/12