Category: 

What Is Flash Video Streaming?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mike Howells
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Annual microwave sales in the US are down about 40% since 2004.  more...

April 20 ,  1864 :  Louis Pasteur performed his first pasteurization tests.  more...

Flash® video streaming is a type of online video streaming technology that uses Adobe® Flash Player™ to deliver media over the Internet. Flash® has become one of the most popular video streaming formats in use today. Much of this popularity stems from its relatively high quality for given bandwidth, as well as a user's ability to receive Flash® video streaming in a variety of ways, either through third-party video players or a number of web browser plug-ins.

Flash® video technology was pioneered by software developer Macromedia® in the 1990s. Despite the success of its Flash® products, they, along with the rest of the Macromedia® product portfolio, were acquired by Adobe® in 2005, following the company's buyout. Since that time, increasing availability of broadband worldwide has made streaming media, and Flash® video streaming in particular, ever more popular.

In its current state, Flash® video streaming works by encoding a video into a particular bitstream format and placing it into what is known as a container file. In the case of Flash®, these containers are known as FLV files. Once hosted and made available for consumption on the Internet, these files can be accessed by an end-user who has a Flash Player™ installed. A Flash Player™ can be a standalone client program, or a plug-in for any of the major web browsers. Most new smartphones and other Internet-ready mobile devices are now also capable of streaming Flash®.

Ad

Whatever setup a user has, the Flash Player™ typically buffers a small part of the video, and begins playing what is available while simultaneously downloading and decoding the remainder. Depending on the method used to generate the Flash® video, it is possible to stream some Flash® broadcasts live, in addition to those available on-demand. The latest version of the technology allows users to browse to any point of a given video while it is still buffering, and begin playback at that point.

Despite its ubiquity in 2010, the end may yet be in sight for Flash® video streaming. The next major version of HyperText Markup Language, known as HTML5, is intended to significantly reduce the need for plug-in-based technologies such as Java®, Siverlight®, and Flash®. HTML5 is capable of displaying streaming audio, video, and interactive media directly within a browser page. HTML5 is expected to be ready for mass consumption beginning in late 2010, but the major browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer®, Mozilla Firefox®, and Apple Safari® are anticipated to begin supporting many of its elements, including embedded video, within their next few versions.

Ad

Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email