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Chapter 5. Enhancing Pages with Graphics... > Understanding Streaming Audio

Understanding Streaming Audio

Streaming audio is a technology used to reduce the problem of long download times for audio files (streaming video uses the same techniques, so what is said here applies to it as well).

The basic principle is simple. In nonstreamed audio and video, the original file must be entirely downloaded to a temporary file on the user's machine. Only when the download is complete can he start the appropriate player and see or hear the file. In streamed media, the media player (which can be a browser plug-in or a standalone program) takes the data stream as it reaches the user's machine and starts playing the file before the complete file is delivered. If the user's connection to his ISP is reasonably fast, he might notice no interruptions at all in the playback, although a slow connection will cause the playback to proceed in bursts.


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