A streaming video is a file that is hosted on a web server then downloaded and displayed as it is being received by the clients browser. All modern web browsers are equipped to display streaming videos and play the audio tracks too. These video files are encoded with one of a variety of CODEC’s which the client computer decodes on the fly. If the streaming video is encoded using a CODEC that the client computer does not have installed, an error message is displayed, or the client automatically downloads the required CODEC. Typical formats for streaming videos are MPEG and Quicktime.
Streaming videos have improved in quality since they first began appearing on the internet. Many videos are now prepared for streaming in full high definition 1080p video display mode which is the same quality as high definition television. When it was first available, quality was quite low and the maximum size of the video was referred to as “postage stamp” size.
Popular websites such as YouTube are based on providing streaming videos to their members. Streaming video content has quickly become the most sought after content on the world wide web. Providing streaming video content to people visiting a website increases the time that a person spends on that website.