Streaming Media Network Glossary

Streaming Network Glossary

  Streaming media network glossary of technical terms with emphasis on streaming media, internet TV (IPTV), radio and online video technology that are frequently used today.



Adaptive Bitrate Streaming. Available through a variety of protocols specified by companies such as Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple, ABR is used for supplying HTTP (H.264 mpeg-4) video to web-based devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablet platforms and set-top boxes. It works by detecting a user’s bandwidth and CPU capacity in real time and adjusting the quality of a video stream accordingly. It requires the use of an encoder which can encode a single source video at multiple bit rates. See example here


Asymetric Digital Subscriber Line. Faster than ISDN and unmetered.



Application Programming Interface


Application Acceleration

Application Acceleration is a suite of technologies that combines fast packet processing with SSL acceleration, connection multiplexing, dynamic caching, and adaptive compression to improve application response times. These technologies enable enterprise customers to accelerate the delivery of internal, external, and latency-sensitive applications to distributed users across the internet or via their enterprise networks.


The maximum amount of information passed over a connection in one second. It is measured either in Kbps (kilobits per second) or Mbps (megabits per second)

Bit Rate

The speed at which binary content is streamed on a network, measured in kilobits per second (kbps).


The ability to transfer data packets at rates higher than traditional dial-up connections (i.e., ISDN, 56K modem). Broadband streams enable the transmission of a larger and higher-quality image and richer and better-quality sound. Broadband streams are available with DSL, cable modem, wireless and T-1 or higher Internet connections.


A delay at the beginning of a streaming media presentation to make sure enough data is available to get the best playback quality at a given bit rate.


(or, Digitize) The process of transforming analogue and digital audio and video from tapes, cassettes etc. to binary files for editing and encoding purposes on a non-linear platform.



A content delivery network (CDN) is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers in the global Internet. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance regardless of their geographic location.


A software application that receives data from a server. A web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator is a client of a server.


A single audio or video file within a presentation


Compression/Decompression. The compression algorithms used for creating media files during the encoding process. Codecs convert data between uncompressed and compressed formats. This compression reduces the bandwidth a clip consumes allowing for real-time transmission across the Internet.

Compression Algorithm

Algorithms are mathematical formulae used for increasing efficiency. In the case of compression, the algorithm sets the rules that are followed to make a file smaller and, therefore, easier to deliver over the Internet.



Distributed Denial of Service or DoS (Denial of Service). A typical attack is a malicious attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users.


A process used to convert interlaced frames to progressive scan frames. This process is necessary to properly prepare native television signals for playback on progressive scan devices, such as computer screens.



Domain Name System



Dynamic Site Acceleration. This is a suite of technologies and products that deals with optimizing dynamically served content across the network. Traditional DSA services often include TCP optimization, route optimization, connection management, on-the-fly compression, SSL offloading, and prefetching technologies.


Digital Signal Processing. Use of mathematical expressions, such as algorithms, to modify digital signals.


Dynamic Streaming

Type of Adaptive Bitrate Streaming used with Flash video and XML playlist. See Big Buck Bunny Video example here.



Geoblocking allows you to restrict content to end users in specified locations. Geoblocking can be assigned by country, State, City or Zip Code. This is usually used when it is necessary to restrict the viewing of a Live Webcast to users in one particular country.


The processing of digitised audio and video so that it can be streamed over the Internet. The process involves rewriting or transfering media sources from one format to another. For example a .wav can be encoded into a .mp3 file.



Front-End Optimization. Front-end optimization technologies help to reduce the number of page resources required to download a given page and make the browser process the page faster. FEO technology isn’t used to bring content closer, but rather it makes the content itself faster by optimizing the client-side delivery of website resources.



Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) enables on-demand and live adaptive bitrate video delivery of standards-based MP4 media over regular HTTP connections.



Apple HTTP Live Streaming. H.264 video and AAC audio for use on web-based devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablet platforms and set-top boxes. This requires a new type of encoder to chunk mpeg-4 video into uploadable files. Playback uses a .m3u8 playlist.


The storage of media files on servers specifically designed for streaming over the Internet. Server protocols, such as RTMP, are designed to host and stream video and audio on the Internet.


Integrated Services Digital Network 64K/128k. Speeds vary and can be limited by inconsistencies in the services provided by Internet Service Providers. This has been overtaken by much faster broadband connections.

Live Event Webcasting

The process of broadcasting an encoded live signal over the Internet to a global audience of simultaneous viewers as the event occurs. Capturing, encoding, and hosting an event, such as a concert, award show, meeting, or conference, usually from a remote location, for Internet broadcast on a one-time or limited basis. Live events usually require establishing dedicated telecommunication lines and/or satellite uplinks for streaming over the Internet. The end user does not receive a storable experience and must access archived material to view again.

Live Signal Acquisition

Acquisition of a broadcast signal from a satellite, Vyvx, microwave, or fiber -optic. Live signal acquisition allows traditional media producers a cost-effective way to simulcast original broadcast content over the Internet.



m3u8 is a playlist that is used for media chunks for HTTP streaming to iOS devices


The science of photons, or light. Optical networks will be the hallmark of the broadband era.



Statistical reporting portal example is here

Rich Media

Interactive multimedia that attracts and holds the attention of internet users.



Real Time Messaging Protocol. Developed by Adobe, RTMP is used to stream audio and video though port 1935. This protocol is used with flash players such as Flowplayer and JW Player. Keyframes are added to streaming videos to allow an end user to skip to a point in the future or go backwards at anytime during playback (scrubbing).



Real-time encryption supported by the Flash Media Server platform that secures data transfer between the server and the client. This feature prevents third-party applications from listening to or “ripping” the stream.



Real Time Messaging Protocol Tunneling. A variation of RTMP, this media streaming protocol uses port 80 to tunnel a normal media stream through an HTTP request. This isused as a fallback protocol in case of firewall blocking of port 1935, allowing a stream request to use port 80 which is commonly left unblocked by ISPs and local system administrators.


These customise the appearance of media players.


Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language – based on XML, when used for streaming video it specifies how and when each streaming data type will play.


The continuous delivery of small packets of information.

Streaming Media

Streaming allows the user to play media from the Internet immediately, without downloading the entire media file, thus eliminating the wait of downloading. The advantage for the copyholder is that the end user does not receive a storable copy of the file. The most popular streaming video formats were previously WMV, RealVideo and QuickTime but now MPEG-4 and FLV dominate.


A process that transfers film at 24 fps to a rate that is compatible with television playback standards. The process typically involves a conversion of the frame rate to 29.97 fps (for NTSC) and 25 fps (for PAL/SECAM) by using a sequence of whole frames and interfield frames.


Similar to being restricted to driving at 55 kmh. – ISPs, Telcos and cable companies do this with high-speed Internet services, restricting the maximum speed of your ISDN, DSL or cable-modem connection to conserve their network bandwidth. ISPs are also guilty of throttling your connection, therefore reducing your bandwidth and spoiling your fun. BigCDN does not throttle customer content.



Transcoding is the direct digital-to-digital data conversion of one encoding format to another. The most common operation in this application is the transcoding of MPEG-2, .wmv or .flv video files to the H.264 MPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4v) formats for use on mobile phones or tablets.


Transparent Caching

Transparent caching platforms make intelligent decisions about which content can and should be cached inside a carrier’s network. By deploying intelligent caches strategically throughout their networks, operators can cache and deliver popular content close to subscribers and reduce the amount of transit traffic across their networks.


Universal Resource Locator

VBR Encoding

As opposed to CBR (Constant Bit Rate), VBR (Variable Bit Rate) allocates additional bandwidth to sections of encoded media that require more complex motion and higher-quality sound. Overall, VBR produces a higher-quality encode when compared to CBR encodes with similar bit rates if there is a lot of movement in sections of the video. CBR is considered best for streaming videos.

Walled Garden

The practice by which an Internet service giant gives customers easier access to its own and its partners’ content than to that of its competitors.


Wireless Application Protocol. With WAP, Internet companies need to configure their content only once and it can then show up on the tiny screens of almost every wireless device, regardless of service provider.



Windows Media Video (WMV) is a video compression format developed by Microsoft originally designed for Internet streaming applications as a competitor to RealVideo. It allows the encoding of multiple bitrates into a single file both for live and Video On Demand streaming.



eXtensible Markup Language. Used with media playlists for streaming flash flv and mp4 video.


eXtensible HyperText Markup Language. The new standard from W3 Consortium which combines XML and HTML to make provision for dynamic markup.

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