Streaming and Downloading – Beginners Guide

download-streamMany of us are choosing to watch TV shows and films direct from the Internet.

So much so that Netfilx and Youtube account for approximately 50 percent of Internet traffic in the US.

If you watch a film or listen to music on the Internet then the film/music can either be downloaded or streamed to your device



Many services like Youtube only support streaming whereas others like The BBC iplayer support both streaming and downloading.

But what is the difference? – Many people think that streaming a film doesn’t transfer a copy of the film to their device,, but it does!

However the media player only stores a temporary  copy of the film locally, and so once you disconnect from the Internet or switch off your device you lose access to the movie, and must start the stream again.

Streaming is used by the large  film sites like NetFlix, Amazon Prime etc  as allowing downloads would probably violate the film copyright.

Streaming is very much like the old TV or radio network were the show was broadcast, and you had to watch it then.

As regards data usage streaming usually uses a little less than downloading as it is usually compresses.

However, if you watch the movie twice then it uses much more as it needs to be streamed again.

When you download a film  from the internet then a local copy of the film exists on your PC and you can watch the film at any time. You can also transfer/copy it to other devices.

Downloaded content is bought (like buying a DVD) whereas streamed content is rented.

You can even stream your downloaded film to other devices if you have the correct hardware.

In addition you don’t normally need to purchase any other software to play downloaded files provided they use standard video formats e.g. avi, mp4 etc

 Quick FAQ

Video Streaming Vs Downloading Q&A

Streamed Downloaded
Do I Need an Internet connection to stream or download ? Yes Yes
Do I Need to be connected to the  Internet To Play the video ? Yes But see Note: No
Do I Need a Fast Internet Connection? Yes (2-5 Mbits/s download speed) No
Can I watch while video is being
streamed or ownloaded?
Yes No
Will downloading/streaming use part of my Data Allowance? Yes Yes
Will downloading or streaming Use
space on my device?
Yes bur relatively small as video isn’t stored permanently Yes- Lots of space used -allow 1GB for every hour of video
Note: Software Like playlater can be used

Useful links:

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