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Chapter 24. Audio on the Web > Streaming Audio

24.4. Streaming Audio

Once upon a time, the only way to play audio from a web page was to link to it and wait for it to download to the hard drive so it could be played. With this method, once the file finishes downloading, the browser either launches an external player or uses a plug-in to play the audio.[1]

[1] Some common Macintosh external players include QuickTime and iTunes. MediaPlayer is a common player on the Windows operating system. Internet Explorer Versions 3 and higher can play many audio file formats natively. Netscape Navigator 3.0 and 4.0 uses the LiveAudio plug-in to play most audio files. The QuickTime player is available for both platforms and as a plug-in to both browsers.

Downloaded audio has a few distinct disadvantages. First, because the file needs to download to the hard disk in its entirety before it can begin playing, users may be faced with a very long wait before they hear any sound. In addition, because the audio file is copied to the hard drive, it is more difficult for artists and publishers to limit distribution and protect copyrights.


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