Streaming – What’s it all about
Streaming media – whether it consists of movies, television or music, is a way of delivering programming to a specific viewer without them ever owning or using a piece of media (a CD or a DVD). It is not a ‘download’, because the viewer’s computer or other media device does not retain a recording of the piece. They listen to it once, possibly pausing or ‘rewinding’ it, and then it erases itself from their system.
Advertising-funded sites such as YouTube made streaming media popular, but paid services like Apple TV, Google TV and many others are now making a play for this very lucrative market. Of course, copyright law makes it all more complex, but at the moment viewing streamed content is legal throughout most of Europe, even if the original material is copyrighted.
Users like streaming media because it is inexpensive (often free, or accessible by a subscription service) and convenient. They also do not have to maintain a media library. Artists, music labels and movie studios like streaming media because they maintain control of who accesses it, and because at least in theory it is very difficult to ‘steal’ and share with other users (who, presumably, haven’t paid for the service), which is one of the problems they have with downloads.
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