The subject of streaming media is indeed becoming more and more relevant to all of us. Its roots go back to the mid 1990s, when people started talking seriously about distributing radio and eventually TV, over the Internet. Check out Real Time Protocol, initially described in RFC 1889.
How does one support a media stream, which requires a steady flow of packets, over the not-so-steady Internet? By adjusting the quality, of course. RFC 1889 created the knobs to allow this to happen, by frequently feeding back to the source a status of reception quality. I thought that was pretty cool. Which then allows the source to adjust its video or audio encoder, for more or less compression.
What makes the HTTP variants of streaming nice is that they can be hosted on web servers, as opposed to requiring separate media servers. But the essential and clever elements are the same as that mid-1990s RFC.
Think about how such clever protocols stole the show from (potentially) much more complicated synchronous networks, like ATM. It's a fascinating history, and most of US EE Times readers lived through it all. Who would have thunk, back in 1985, that people would soon be watching HDTV over the Internet, in real time?
Good summary. Indeed, today we have some excellent technical solutions for streaming high quaity premium content from the studio's to our home over IP.The HD content over internet is a reality . The 2012 London olympics saw the public trial of MPEG-DASH - a major streaming protocol .
I strongly agree with this article. Streaming media is very relevant to all of us because we can see the content of what is going on by watching the screen. I am not surprise that the general population is willing to pay to watch HDTV over the internet. When we think about technology, let's remember and be honest, the average household back in 1985 could not afford a connection to the Internet or purchase a computer system. A computer system today is now more affordable for many, but the digital divide is still alive and well. We must continue to change that in the future.