Streaming is defined as a method of receiving videos (movies, TV shows, etc.) and audio directly from the Internet without having to download them into your computer, tablet, or smartphone. These “multimedia” files are large files that could take a long time to download and can take up a large amount of space in your computer and devices. When you are streaming a movie, TV show or other video or audio, it is the same as viewing your television in “real time.” The only difference is that you are receiving the media from the Internet and not directly from a TV station such as NBC, CBS, HBO, etc.
Popular sources of Streaming (or Digital Streaming) are subscriber based sites such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Also a number of news services such as ABC, NBC, and CNN, to name a few, contain links to video clips.
As for audio, popular music sites are Pandora and Spotify. Unlike iTunes where you are listening to music that you have downloaded into your tablet or smartphone, these and other web based music sites are streamed from the Internet as well.
It is recommended that Streaming be limited to wi-fi locations, since Internet access through wi-fi is free; particularly at home and a host of areas and places such as Starbucks, hotels, and some airline terminals. Using your wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) for Internet access can be costly (ie: Streaming 2-3 movies in the course of a month could use your entire data plan for that period). If you are planning a long trip and want to be able to view movies or TV shows either on a plane or an area without wi-fi, you should download the files (in an area with wi-fi), watch the programs and then delete the files from your tablet or phone. Yes, some airlines have wi-fi. However check out the rates before subscribing.
The number of web based sites offering Streaming is increasing daily and has become a very popular way of accessing content such as movies, movie trailers, and recent TV shows. To many, it has proven to be a viable alternative to subscribing to a costly Cable TV service.