Definition of streaming in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is streaming?

A technology for receiving multimedia (audio and video) content as a steady continuous data flow called a stream.

How It Works

Streaming media can be used over corporate TCP/IP networks on the Internet to provide users with low-latency audio and video information. In contrast to the traditional method of downloading audio or video files and then playing them locally, streaming media needs only a short time to buffer the initial transmission, and then it plays continuously, depending on data flow. Data is streamed across the network to clients that render the data as they receive it. For example, if audio data is streamed over a network, clients receiving it can play the content as it arrives instead of storing it in a file and playing it after receiving the entire file.

In Microsoft NetShow terminology, a stream is any multimedia or file data stream transmitted using unicasting or multicasting methods over a network. NetShow supports several types of streams:

  • Advanced Streaming Format (ASF):
    Supports video, audio, images, Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), and scripts


  • Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) Live Audio:
    Streams audio fed into the server’s sound card


  • RTP WAV Audio:
    Streams audio recorded as .wav files



NetShow also supports a file transfer method called streaming file transfer, which can be used to transfer directories and files over a network. The File Transfer Service (FTS) is the NetShow component that is used to transmit files over a network using multicasting. A NetShow FTS server transmits files over a network to a Microsoft ActiveX control on a client computer.