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What Is Internet 'Streaming'? Is It Like Downloading?

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Question: What Is Internet 'Streaming'? Is It Like Downloading?
You've been told to visit a 'streaming' website to get your music or your Microsoft Office 2010. But what exactly is 'streaming', and how is it different from downloading
Answer: Streaming, sometimes known as 'background downloading', is the fast-track cousin of regular downloading. In a regular download, you make a duplicate of a large web file or a large software program, sometimes taking 30 minutes to several hours to complete the download. With streaming, you are still downloading, but you start viewing or using the file while it is downloading. With streaming, you can afford to be impatient, and start reaping the benefits of the download within a few moments. Streaming is most valuable when the files in question are larger than 2 or 3 megabytes.

In 2010, streaming is most commonly associated with music and movie files. YouTube is a perfect example of a streaming website, as you can begin viewing YouTube videos while they are still transferring to your computer. Instead of waiting 4 or 5 minutes to see a video, you can start watching it within 4 or 5 seconds.

Internet-based radio is another strong example of streaming: instead of waiting for the entire song to transfer to your computer before it can be played, you can listen to the song during the streaming process.

Recently, Microsoft has employed streaming to share the new Office 2010 beta software. Instead of making users wait for hours to use the Office products, they can begin using them almost immediately as the hundreds of megabytes stream in the background.
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