Live Streaming

Live streaming is a type of streaming in which audio or video is broadcast live over the Internet. The media is transmitted while it is recorded, allowing viewers to watch or listen to it in real-time.

Most live streams are delivered via multicasting. Unlike a television broadcast, a multicast only transmits the media to users who choose to watch or listen to the stream. Multiple users can "tune in" to a single stream, providing an efficient way of delivering the audio or video to several locations at once.

Live Streaming Platforms

Twitch is a popular live streaming platform, which is mainly used by gamers to stream their games live over the Internet. It is also to broadcast live eSports events. Personal streaming platforms, such as Periscope and Facebook Live allow users to live stream video from their smartphones. YouTube Live allows YouTube users to share videos in real-time via live streaming.

Streaming vs Live Streaming

The terms "streaming" and "live streaming" are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Streaming is delivering media over the Internet that can be played while it is downloaded. Live streaming is a specific type of streaming that is broadcast at the same time it is recorded.

An easy way to check if you are watching a live stream is to see if the video has a defined length. If there is no end to the video and you can't jump ahead in the video, you are most likely watching a live stream. Most live streams also display a "Live" indicator somewhere in the interface. However, previously-recorded videos may have a "Live" icon overlaid on the video, which can be misleading.

NOTE: Most live streaming platforms provide a live chat interface alongside the video. This feature allows users watching the video to comment or react to the video in real-time.

Updated August 17, 2019

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