How Does Streaming Work? — The Simplest Explanation; in Four, Short Steps

By: The BitMar Team.

Streaming has become an integral part of our digital lives. Whether we are watching a movie, listening to music, or playing video games, we rely on streaming services to deliver content to us in real-time. With that in mind... have you ever wondered about how streaming works, at a technical level?

At its core, streaming is the process of transmitting data, in a continuous flow, over the Internet. Unlike downloading – where the entire file is saved on the local device, before it can be played – streaming allows users to access content in real-time, without having to wait for the entire file to be downloaded.

According to the Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) assistant, ChatGPT... there are several technical components that work together, to make streaming possible. Let us take a closer look at each of these components.

1. Encoding, and Compression:

Content must first be encoded, and compressed, before it can be streamed. Encoding involves: converting the content into a digital format that can be transmitted over the Internet. Compression reduces the size of the digital file, making it easier to transmit over the Internet.

There are several encoding and compression, formats available, including: H.264, HEVC, and VP9. Each format has its specific advantages, and disadvantages; in terms of file size, quality, and compatibility.

2. Server, and Network Infrastructure:

Once the content has been encoded, and compressed, it is stored on a server. When a user requests the content, the server sends the data, in a continuous stream, over the Internet. This requires a robust server, and network infrastructure, to ensure that the content is delivered smoothly, and without interruption.

Streaming services typically use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), to distribute content to users. CDNs are a network of servers, located in different geographic locations, that work together to deliver content to users quickly, and efficiently.

3. Adaptive-bitrate Streaming:

One of the key challenges in streaming, is: ensuring that the content is delivered smoothly—even when the user's Internet connection may be slow, and/or unstable. Adaptive bitrate streaming is a technology that helps to address this challenge.

With adaptive bitrate streaming, the streaming service monitors the user's Internet connection; and adjusts the quality of the content, accordingly. If the connection is slow, or unstable, the streaming service will reduce the quality of the content, to ensure that it can be delivered without interruption. If the connection improves, the streaming service will increase the quality of the content.

4. Player Software:

Finally, the user's device must have software that can receive, and play, the streaming content. This can be a Web browser, a dedicated streaming application, or a local media player. The player software must be able to decode, and decompress, the content; and display it to the user, in real-time.

In all, streaming is a complex technical process that involves: encoding, compression, server and network infrastructure, adaptive bitrate streaming, and player software. By working together, these components allow us to access, and enjoy, content in real-time—regardless of where we may be, in the World.

Currently, next-generation streaming platforms – like: BitMar – may provide you the most affordable form of on-demand streaming entertainment. BitMar provides all-in-one streaming service, for life, for a one-time payment, of: $99.99 USD. It can connect you to millions of on-demand movies, TV shows, channels, videos, and songs (from many different sources on the Web), on the screens that you already own. In fact, BitMar provides access to more movies, and TV shows, than: Cable, Satellite, Netflix, Disney Plus, Max/HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Peacock, and Hulu – combined – and more songs, than: Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, and Apple Music—combined. You may learn more, at: