Streaming FAQ: What is Streaming Video?
The first part of this magic formula is video compression. To compress video, a complex mathematical formula breaks the individual frames into moving and static components. Then it takes each moving object, and guesses where it will be for the next frame. By refreshing only the moving components, and recycling the static images, compression reduces the size and speed of the video file. There is a downside to compression. If the camera is panning, zooming, or moving in any way, the whole image is in motion, leaving nothing to recycle. This leads to poor compression, and a slower transmission.
The second part of the streaming combination is buffering the file. Compared with the voodoo magic of the compression, the buffering seems fairly bland. By giving the file a few seconds to load before starting the image, a reserve of video is available in the memory of the client's computer in case the transmission slows for a moment. When the transmission slows, the client computer uses part of the reserve of video. If the transmission becomes too slow, the buffer becomes completely exhausted, and the video will get choppy. The better streaming packages will adapt the buffer to the speed of the connection, even as it fluctuates with the ebb and flow of network traffic.
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