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 Historical past of Streaming Media [Infographic]
March 13, 2023

Historical past of Streaming Media [Infographic]

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We used to dwell in a world the place watching a video on the web meant ready 28 hours for the file to obtain. I’m referring to the flip of the century, again when dial-up web was cutting-edge and the time period smartphone hadn’t made its manner into widespread lexicon.

What else was occurring, you ask? Properly, risk-takers like myself have been illegally downloading music to the household desktop through the peer-to-peer sharing web site Kazaa. And Netflix was disrupting the film rental trade by mailing DVDs to subscribers (how avant garde!)

It goes with out saying that streaming video was in its infancy — however the stage was set for what would come. The truth is, most of the budding applied sciences on the time nonetheless play a job in video supply.

Flash ahead to right this moment. The thought of getting to attend for a video to obtain fairly than watching it on demand is akin to commuting to work in a horse-drawn carriage. In addition to, who’s nonetheless going into an workplace today, in any case? 

Dwell streaming is now ingrained into on a regular basis life. We conduct enterprise conferences over Zoom, scream at porch pirates by means of our doorbell cams, and sweat to health routines on linked fitness center gear. Robotic vacuums, smartwatches, and medical gadgets all have real-time streaming capabilities inbuilt.

Simply think about the COVID-19 pandemic with out streaming. That wedding ceremony you attended out of your lounge sofa? It wouldn’t have ever taken place. And the chance to flee the pandemic doldrums by binging The Queen’s Gambit? Neglect about it.

Lately, on-line video isn’t simply widespread, it’s part of how we dwell. So how did we get right here? Let’s make a journey by means of the historical past of streaming.



1990-2000: Streaming Debuts as a Proof of Idea

All of it begins within the good outdated nineties. Beanie infants have been all the fad, the Macarena was about to go viral, and Gwen Stefani was nonetheless punk rock.

In the meantime, one other decidedly less-punk-rock band was making waves within the tech world. I’m speaking about Extreme Tire Harm, the primary dwell web band. Simply as many well-known startups hint their origin to a Silicon Valley storage, so too does Extreme Tire Harm. And since the band members had some hook-ups within the tech neighborhood, they have been the topics of the primary dwell stream to ever embody each audio and video. This was achieved utilizing a know-how referred to as MBone. In response to one of many band members, the printed used up about half of the full out there bandwidth for the web at the moment.  

The very subsequent yr, the Rolling Stones joined Extreme tire Harm as dwell streaming pioneers. And shortly after that, ESPN took benefit of dwell audio streaming for the Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees recreation.

Some key applied sciences entered the image throughout this decade as effectively. Neglect about MBone, we’re speaking the Macromedia (later Adobe) Flash Participant, and two streaming protocols that stay related right this moment: the Actual-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) and the Actual-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP).


2001-2010: The Period of Flash and RTMP

As bandwidth grew and compression applied sciences superior, Adobe Flash turned synonymous with video streaming. In the meantime, RTMP labored behind the scenes because the quarterback.

The idea of web video additionally started to play a job in mass media — with streaming providers like YouTube, Justin.television (which might turn into Twitch), and Netflix taking off. Broadband penetration was rising and cellular mobile applied sciences have been advancing. Adobe Flash was dwelling its finest life, powering 98% of web browsers.

After which Steve Jobs determined to shake issues up.

In his now notorious memo, Ideas on Flash, the CEO of Apple criticized Flash for being proprietary. He then hammered the nail within the coffin by saying that the iPhone wouldn’t assist Flash. As an alternative, Apple would stream video utilizing its personal proprietary format: HTTP Dwell Streaming (HLS).


2011-2019: Dwell Broadcasting Is Delivered to the Plenty

Fact be instructed, Steve Jobs had a degree. Shifting away from Flash had loads of advantages. Particularly, HTTP-based applied sciences outperform the RTMP protocol by way of each scale and high quality. That’s as a result of they permit content material distributors to distribute chunk-based adaptive bitrate media information throughout internet servers fairly than requiring devoted streaming servers. 

The transfer to adaptive streaming helped fight buffering and enhance caching effectivity in a single fell swoop. However, in dethroning RTMP, we have been left with a brand new set of proprietary applied sciences seeking to seize the throne (together with Apple HLS, Microsoft Easy, and Adobe HDS). For that motive, MPEG-DASH was developed in 2012 as a substitute for vendor-specific applied sciences.

And so, when YouTube moved from Flash to HTML5, it selected DASH as its default protocol. However this launched a brand new downside: latency.

Dwell streaming flourished throughout the 2010s, in addition to video consumption on cellular gadgets. However so did latency. As an example, when eight million individuals watched Felix Baumgartner break the sound barrier on YouTube Dwell, the printed really got here with a 20-second delay.  


2020: COVID-19 Ushers in a Streaming Growth and Flash Dies

In the course of the first yr of the 2020s, dwell video streaming turned ubiquitous. COVID-19 mandated social distancing meant that collaboration and leisure passed off on-line. It was additionally the yr that Flash died, so broadcasters appeared to streaming protocols like Net Actual-Time Communications (WebRTC), Low-Latency HLS, CMAF for DASH, and Safe Dependable Transport (SRT) to deal with latency considerations and energy interactive content material.

Some highlights of the yr included the primary solely digital NFL draft, Nasa and SpaceX’s launch to the Worldwide House Station, and greater than 3.3 trillion Zoom conferences.  Use circumstances like telehealth, digital health, and dwell commerce turned second nature to shoppers around the globe.


2021–Onward: Streaming Is Right here to Keep

Video streaming is right here to remain. Discover out what lies forward by downloading our free report — or subscribe to our weblog to remain up to date.


Sources for Infographic:

  • https://www.uscreen.television/weblog/live-streaming-statistics/


[Report] The Way forward for Dwell Streaming: 2020 and Past

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About Traci Ruether

As a Colorado-based B2B tech author, Traci Ruether serves as Wowza’s content material advertising supervisor. Her background is in streaming and community infrastructure. Except for writing, Traci enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending high quality time together with her kith and kin. Comply with her… View extra

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