Live streaming definition

Video streaming, in simple words, is more or less the same as TV live broadcasting. Of course, in technical terms, everything is different: equipment, software, platforms. Another important nuance: live streaming is open to everybody: every Internet user can sign up for one of the live streaming services and gain an audience, without being a celebrity.

So, what does "streaming" mean? It’s an online video that is transmitted in real life, without previous recording or video editing. A host is doing something in front of the cam (providing a workshop, dancing, teaching, etc.), and the followers are watching, asking questions, and sending their reactions.

Sometimes a streamer can share their screen instead of using a cam. This type of streaming is especially popular among gamers and IT specialists, who want to show what is happening on the laptop, not in the room.

Live streaming

How does streaming work?

Video streaming demands special protocols, such as HLS, RTMP, RTSP, SRT, WebRTC, and others. The raw video is seized by a cam or screen recording software and encoded. When transferred to a streamable format, it is sent to the viewer’s HTML5 Video Player, gets decoded, and played back.

This technology allows transmitting video in real-time with minimum latency. Of course, the actual quality will depend on your bandwidth, the Internet speed, and other technical specs.

Talking about live streaming, we usually mean some public platforms, such as Twitch, YouTube, or social media. But this term also includes video conferences, such as Zoom, Skype, or Teams, with numerous participants, not only one host or streamer.

What is it for?

As we have already said, live streaming is especially popular among teenagers who use it as a way of gaining new "friends" and followers. But apart from that, this technology may be used for:

  • Learning/Teaching, especially STEM or languages;
  • Various workshops;
  • Gaming;
  • Product promotion and advertisement;
  • Conferences and meetings;
  • Sports, concerts, and other cultural events coverage.

Live streaming technology came in especially handy during lockdowns, but it proved to be so convenient that lots of IT specialists, teachers, and other professionals never came back to offices and kept using live streaming instead.

Video streaming

Tips and risks

As defined in the very term "live", this type of transmission goes online without censure, editing, and quite often, even without any prior script. So it’s essential to remember several important points.

  1. Your stream may be recorded. You don’t know all your followers, especially if you are already a well-known streamer, so you should be extremely cautious about what you do and say. Never declare anything that you would not repeat in real life.
  2. The Internet is not safe. Especially for young and sensitive people. You may — and one day you inevitably will — face trolling, hate speech, and negative comments. Just be ready.

As for the equipment, make sure you have a stable internet connection, a good cam, and an external mic. If you use your smartphone, buy a gimbal or at least a tripod.