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Chapter 19. Audio on the Web > Nonstreaming versus Streaming

19.4. Nonstreaming versus Streaming

Audio formats served via the Web fall into two general categories. Nonstreaming audio files need to be downloaded to the user's hard disk before they can begin playing. Streaming audio files begin playing almost immediately and continue playing as they are downloading. The following is a brief introduction to each approach as well as its advantages and disadvantages. A more detailed discussion of specific streaming and nonstreaming audio formats follows.

19.4.1. Nonstreaming Audio

When nonstreaming audio files (also called "static" audio) are retrieved from the server, they must download to the hard disk in their entirety before they can begin playing on the client end. Unfortunately, audio files are often quite large and require a long time to download, particularly over dial-up modem connections. For instance, a 1-minute WAVE file of CD-quality audio requires over 10 MB of disk space! (Of course, this can be reduced by sacrificing sound quality, as discussed later.)


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