Streaming Video Technology in Our Daily Lives

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Streaming video has an impact on all of our lives. Streaming video is everywhere. We can see it on our computers, phones, or televisions. Whether you just watched a video that someone sent you via email or you have replaced your cable tv with a home theater personal computer (htpc), you have viewed streaming video. In basic terms, how does streaming video work? The media lives on a web server. The user clicks on a link to the media, which starts a download to the client system. The web server breaks the media down into more parts that are manageable. As the parts are downloaded to the client, the codecs decode the video so the client's browser is able to translate back into something viewable. The User sees the video (Exhibit1). Users also have the ability to produce and upload videos. The user creates the digitized video with a webcam, phone, or digital camera. The codecs encode the video while recording it. The encoded video may then be uploaded from the client system to the web server for a website such as YouTube to be shared with others (Exhibit 2). Streaming technologies like Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime, and Microsoft Windows Media and Silverlight all include certain common components in their solutions. These include a player to play the media on the viewer's computer or mobile device, a defined file format or formats that the player will play, and often a server component that offers features like digital rights management and live streaming. All streaming technologies use compression to shrink the size of the audio and video files so they can be retrieved and played by remote viewers in real time. Common video compression technologies, also called codecs, include H.264, MPEG-4, VP6 and VP8, Windows Media Video (WMV), and MPEG-1/2, while common audio codecs include AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), Vorbis, Windows Media Audio (WMA), and MP3 (Ozer,

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