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Streaming vs. Downloading Video: Choosing The Right Solution

All of this adds up to a few simple rules of thumb for when to use streaming and when to use http downloading to deliver your video. The main reason for downloading video from your Web server is that it's simple and you can do it with infrastructure you already have. It's most useful when your videos are short, when you're more interested in delivering high-bitrate encodings than in delivering in real time, or when you want your viewers to be able to keep a copy of the video on their own computers.

Streaming is the better solution when your clips are more than a few minutes long, when you want to enable interactive applications like video search or linking deep into a file, or you want to collect statistics on what's actually being watched. Streaming is the way to go when you want to control the impact of video on your network, or when you need to support large numbers of viewers. And of course, it's the only way to do live webcasts and multicasting.

We'll be covering many of these topics in more detail over the coming months. If there are particular technical topics you'd like us to address, let me know at larry@streamingmedia.com

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