To sum up the process, streaming is the practice of sending multimedia to the end-user in bits and pieces so that the same end-user can start watching and listening to that same multimedia before it has finished downloading. Although streaming has been around for much longer than most people might realize, it has not been until recent times that it has become accessible to common end-users. Streaming is popular among end-users because of its inherent benefits, but it is made possible because of the continuing progress made in providing better telecommunications at cheaper prices.
Modern examples of streaming are common and widespread. Each time that an end-user chooses to see a video that has been posted on YouTube, that is an example of streaming in action. Other examples range from online radio stations to live broadcasts seen through the Internet and even other video content provided through the Internet rather than the traditional cable.
How Streaming Benefits Users
Streaming benefits its end users because of its unmatched convenience compared to other methods of accessing multimedia. Consider the examples of cable television content versus the same content streamed to end-users through the Internet. Cable television users must find out about the scheduled times for their desired content and reschedule their personal lives so as to free the scheduled times for that particular usage. In contrast, stream television users can use their free time as it comes up and then chooses to see whatever content that appeals to them because there is no schedule. In short, streaming places control in the hand of its end users rather than in the hands of the service providers.
Furthermore, control is entrusted to end users also means that the service providers can provide a much greater selection of content than otherwise possible. Cable television is scheduled so that the content possessing the greatest appeal to the greatest number of people can be shown at the times when the greatest number of people are free. As a result, most of the content that cable television can show is not shown at all because there are not enough viewers to warrant the content's inclusion on the limited space of the schedules. However, the same is not true of streamed television because finding server space for more content is much easier than finding more time for the same. This means that end users can stream their desired content rather than be forced to choose from the content that is available through cable television and similar means of access to multimedia.
There is one last benefit to streaming in the form of needing less setup. End users who choose cable television need equipment for both their cable connection and their Internet service. In contrast, end-users who choose streamed television need nothing more than a connection to the Internet, which is a dramatic reduction in hassle for them.
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