Streaming media is one of the true wonders of the internet. As high speed internet has become more common services that stream either radio, television or other media have flourished. Streaming media allows you to enjoy internet media without using up valuable space on your computer. But how does it work?
Here’s a basic overview of how streaming media works. When you connect to an internet radio station or start streaming a movie the first thing your computer does is set up a buffer. A buffer is simply a saved portion of the program you’re watching or listening to. It uses a buffer so that if you connection temporarily slows the program won’t be interrupted. Once the buffer is complete the program starts to play. As the program plays your computer the buffer is constantly updated. The computer removes the portion of the program you’ve played and adds new information from the radio station or media site.
This is why streaming media is called streaming. You get a constant trickle of either live or recorded data to your computer. This process lets you enjoy your favorite radio station or other media in a close to live format from anywhere in the world.