Streaming media enables you to distribute digital voice, video, and data over an IP network and is analogous to conventional analog television broadcasting. With conventional TV, you see frames on the TV screen as they arrive from a cable or antenna feed. In the past, digital media files required you to download the entire audio, video, or data file before viewing the content. You can now format streaming media files such that your media player can display the content to you in smaller chunks, as you download them individually.
In the context of content networking, there are two components to streaming media.
This Chapter covers both of these components. However, you can further optimize networks for streaming by using technologies discussed in Chapter 13, "Delivering Cached and Streaming Media."