In general, streaming media refers to the ability to deliver video, audio and presentations, such as PowerPoint, that play immediately when accessed, without requiring a full download before playback.
Streaming content delivery falls into two main types: live multimedia broadcasts (often called Webcasts), or archived video and audio accessed "on demand" by users.
In simple terms, the process of getting from raw footage to streamed content works like this:
An event is recorded.
The content is edited, then digitized using video editing hardware and software.
The digital video and audio content is encoded for streaming. The most widely recognized encoding standards are Microsoft Windows Media and Real-Networks RealVideo. Tools and software also exist to encode for Vivo, AVI, QuickTime and MPEG.
The media file or live stream is stored on a host computer that has streaming media server software installed.
A user clicks a link on an intranet page to request a video stream or accesses a database of stored streaming content.
The host server delivers the digitized content to the end user, who watches it through a player utility (such as Windows Media Player or RealPlayer) that displays the media file on the desktop.