Streaming video is a technology of data compressing and buffering before passing video information in real time mode via the Internet. The main feature of this technology is that a user should not wait until the full loading of a video file to watch it. Streaming video is interrupting the sequence of the compressed data packages. A user can watch video data from these packages in the process of the downloading.
A user needs a special player that decodes data and displays the encrypted content. The developers integrate such players to a web browser or provide as standalone software. The most popular players of this type are RealOne Player, Windows Media Player and Quicktime Player.
There are two types of video data broadcasting - progressive streaming or real-time streaming. A progressive streaming method always gives a better image quality, since the multi-media software plays it from your hard disk. The standard web server supports this way of video data broadcasting. However, this method does not allow to skip some episodes. Thus, you should download the clip till the certain moment if you want to view its part. That is the reason why they use this method for short clips.
Real time video broadcasting requires a video streaming server. The network video server stores the whole video file and there is no need to download it to your hard disk. The user can start watching the video at any moment without waiting for the full downloading of the file. You can use the real time streaming to send big files.
The video streaming server provides an opportunity to control media broadcasting, though they are much more complex to configure and install than usual HTTP servers. There are some specific network protocols for this purpose, like the Real-Time Streaming Protocols (RTSP). Windows Media uses this protocol by default; Real Video supports this protocol as well.
The RTSP controls the video stream broadcasting in the Internet. Each video streaming server uses this protocol, which provides an ability to send information packages between the server and client. The recipient can play the first data package, decode the second and receive the third.
A real-time transport protocol (RTP) defines and compensates the lost packages; this protocol grants the passing and detection of secured content information. The video streaming server could use RTP and RTCP at once. The RTP is responsible for the identity checking of the sent and received packages; the protocol identifies a sender and controls the network loading.
Real Media, Windows Media and Quicktime are a few of the most popular formats for video sending via the Internet; MPEG is currently not so popular. The most part of users prefers the Real Video format.
Real Video was developed for the streaming broadcasting. It is not used on DVD or CD-Rom due to high hardware requirements. This format guarantees a high level of compression and it is good for the users with a low speed of connection.