The System That Makes Online TV Player Technology Possible

Go online and you will see many sites that allow you to view television programs on your computer by means of an online TV player. The rapid advances in digital broadcast technology have made this possible, and you may wonder how this technology works.

Streaming media and Person-To-Person, abbreviated P2P, are the delivery technologies that allow viewing of digital content in real time. When your program is streamed, it means that the digital information, encoded in packets, is sent to the site on which you are watching. This movement of information back and forth between sender and receiver is continuous and since it does not stop or slow many people can access and watch the program at any time. With P2P you use a network shared by many others. As you watch content downloaded to you the P2P system is uploading the same information to the network so that other people in your network may also view it. Contrasted with streaming video, in which the program providers create a system with enough bandwidth to carry the signals generated by use, P2P relies on the number of users to create a strong enough stream for quality video. So if there are not many users for the file you want to view in your network, video quality will be poor and y

Also, there are two ways of viewing programs online: live broadcast and on-demand. Live digital broadcast is made possible by streaming and will thus not be available to users of P2P protocols. Livecasting works online as it does on television: the event being viewed online is happening as it is being broadcast or in the case of prerecorded programming is viewed online at the same time it is premiering on television. With on-demand, the content is always pre-recorded, and is made available after the television broadcast is over. In this case the viewer selects the show he wants from either a menu of program titles or categories, then selects from a list of available episodes. He may then watch the program, and may watch it whenever he likes as long as that episode is available.

As you can see, a lot of data is involved in replicating the experience of airwave and cable television broadcasting for an online TV player. Because the software has become more sophisticated, faster and cheaper, it is widely available online to users and the software to play this content is usually free.

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