Streaming media is a term that describes "just in time" delivery of multimedia information. It's typically applied to compressed multimedia formats delivered over the Internet. It does not try to reassemble as many bits associated with video content as binary computer file formats do. (COMPARE AVI)
There are many pieces to a streaming media system. Encoding tools are used for compressing the media into a format suitable for delivery over the Internet. Servers make the compressed files and live streams available to many people. Players connect to the servers and get the media.
Additionally, there's a lot of technology under the hood. Codecs are the compression/decompression routines used by encoding tools and players. File formats are shared by encoding tools and servers to generically store encoded streams. Players and servers need shared protocols for streaming the data.
- Streaming media systems:
- Codecs: see codec
- File formats
- Description Formats