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Since their advent in 1995 streaming media services are now part of our mainstream culture. Streaming services from Netflix and Google are increasingly popular alternatives to television

What is Live Streaming?

The advent of high speed broadband and the growth of fibre optic delivery networks has seen a growth in online streaming services. Both audio and video content is streamed in increasingly larger volumes. YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Xbox, Blink box, Google Play, Flixster and Ultra Violet are all popular streaming services. In fact streaming services are now that popular that Google have recently introduced Chromecast to compete with Apple TV. This device plugs into your TV and allows you to stream content from the Chrome browser on your PC, tablet or android enabled smart phone.

Live Streaming Pioneers

Real Networks were the pioneers of today’s modern video streaming services. Working as Progressive Networks they broadcast the world’s first live event in 1995. This event was a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees. Early problems with streaming media were the old 56k modems. Also competition between Microsoft’s media services and Real Networks led to many technological and legal battles.

The Advent of UDP

Adobe emerged from this initial conflict with the flash player. Limited by bandwidth streaming services they evolved to become adaptive to their environment. Byte sized chunks of streaming media were downloaded and compiled as a seamless stream on the viewer’s PC. The size of the chunk delivered by the streaming service was dependant on the viewers bandwidth. All high profile events are broadcast using HTTP-based adaptive streaming (known as MPEG – DASH). New video codecs such as H.265 promise to deliver content with a higher quality of compression. This should see streaming services retain their place in the mainstream.
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