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Streaming Media

Streaming media has become increasingly popular as more and more people have fast enough data connections in their homes and on their mobile devices to stream music, movies, and television programming without any delay. When a piece of media is streamed, it is available immediately and on demand. The technology works by allowing the end user to start playing the media before the whole file has finished downloading to the user’s computer or Internet-enabled device, allowing for instantaneous playback. Streaming technologies accomplish this feat by sending the file in pieces. Most streaming services will create a buffer (i.e., several seconds of preloaded material) to keep the stream from starting and stopping. This entry provides an overview of streaming media, then discusses early pioneers and commercialization, ...

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