Streaming media is when an internet user listens to audio or watches a video directly from a website.
As they watch or listen, the audio or video is constantly being sent to the website by the multimedia provider.
You will have experienced streaming media if you have ever watched a video on YouTube.
The alternative delivery method for video and audio is to download a file onto a computer’s hard drive and then view or listen to it once it has fully downloaded. You will have experienced this distribution method if you have ever downloaded a song from iTunes to listen to on your iPod.
In the non-internet world, streaming media includes television and radio. Non-streamed media includes CD’s, DVD’s and books.
Streaming Media Challenges
Video and audio files tend to be very large. Therefore to successfully provide streaming multimedia you need to have a large storage capacity and significant bandwidth.
Likewise for an individual to receive streaming media they need to have a broadband connection and a reasonably fast processor in their computer.
The Future of Streaming Media
Streaming media is becoming a very popular form of content. It is appearing on many news sites, blogs and online magazines. It is also being used to deliver courses, user manuals and company announcements.
This trend is set to rapidly accelerate as multimedia creation tools and equipment become cheaper and easier to use.
For further information go to Wikipedia's entry on Streaming Media