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Online! The Book by Wendy Taylor, Chris Pirillo, John C. Dvorak

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How Streaming Media Works

Streaming media works like a Web page from a user's perspective. Click on a link, and the video or audio begins to play a few moments later. This may appear in the browser window or in a separate streaming media player. Though the functionality appears similar, there are fundamental differences.

When a browser requests a Web page, it requests the code to display the page, then downloads all the graphics, photos, and animations needed to display the page. If some files take longer to download, the browser may wait for the files to be completely downloaded before displaying the page. No doubt you've seen this. (It's most noticeable when traffic on the Internet is heavy.)

Streaming media does not have the luxury to wait. ...

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