What is VOD?

Downloadable video on demand programs are downloaded to a digital video recorder box.
Many streaming services allow people to download shows directly to their TV for later viewing.
In the United States, video on demand (VOD) is available via cable providers that have large downstream bandwidths.
Videoconferencing can utilize VOD.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2015
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Video on demand (VOD) is a method of showcasing streaming videos. Streaming videos are viewed as they are being delivered, similarly to radio and television. With VOD, the video is derived from a main server or network and viewed on a television or computer screen.

VOD allows the user to order digitally transmitted movies, as well as to view training videos from the comfort of home. In addition, it can be used with videoconferencing, because videoconferencing usually consists of enhanced presentations featuring video clips. VOD can also be used to send and view video clips on mobile phones and other wireless gadgets.

With VOD, one can easily stream content by viewing the video as it is being downloaded. At the same time, the user can choose to wait to view the video until after it has been completely downloaded. Like a VCR or DVD player, this technology offers a number of options after the video has been downloaded. For example, the user can choose to pause, play, fast forward, or rewind the video. The user can also skip to various scenes.

To speed up the streaming capabilities of VOD, a greater network bandwidth may be required. Therefore, it is best to have a cable modem or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) when using such services. These connections allow for a faster and more reliable connection, which results in a more effective response from the server.


VOD first appeared around 1990, when it made its debut in Hong Kong. It was discontinued in 2000, however, due to the immaturity of the technology and the high price it carried. Today, it is widely offered in the United States from cable providers who utilize large downstream bandwidth. Movies and favorite television shows can be accessed on demand through this technology. In fact, it is through VOD that cable subscribers are capable of pausing, fast-forwarding, and rewinding cable television shows.


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