If you’ve watched a video on Facebook, listened to music on a website, or watched a movie on Netflix, you were streaming. While the term “streaming” initially seems confusing, it’s actually pretty simple to understand. Here we go over what exactly streaming is, as well as other terms to help you understand.

What is Streaming?

Whenever you watch or listen to something online, you’re streaming. Streaming is the action of broadcasting data as the data is being used. For example: If you’re watching a video, the data that makes up that video is being delivered to your screen as you watch the video. This data does not stay on your computer. When you finish watching the video the data is no longer there, and it only comes back if you re-watch the video. This is why you need internet connection to stream something. If your internet is not connected, then it cannot receive the necessary data to stream the video.

Another way to think about streaming is to think about it like television broadcasting. When the news or a show is broadcasted on TV, you see what is being broadcasted in real time. The news or a show does not stay on your TV after it is broadcasted (unless they are recorded), because they are no longer being broadcasted.

Streaming vs Downloading

If you’ve ever streamed something, you might have noticed an option to either stream or download. Downloading is much different than streaming. When you download something, let’s say, a movie, you are saving the data that makes up the movie in your computer. This means the data stays in your computer, and can be accessed without the internet. It works similar to a movie being played on a DVD or songs being played on an Ipod.

But, What’s Data?

Data is the information that, basically, makes up everything you look at on a computer or on your phone. Aside from videos and music, data makes up images, files, programs, even this entire website!

The word “data” is used to describe a lot of things. Computer data is not the same as statistical data or phone data. To learn more about phone data, visit here.


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