This note by Cris Hock helps in understanding differences between Progressive download (using NetStream from MX 2004 with FLV) and Streaming (FLV files trough FlashCom)
Q: What is the difference between progressive download vs. server streamed video.
A. Progressive download is a method of video delivery in which a video file starts
playing after a short buffer period, while it is being downloaded to the client's computer.
It is easy to deploy video in this manner since it requires nothing more than an HTTP
web server, it provides a good experience with shorter duration videos that do not need
long buffering times, and since the video is downloaded to the client's computer, it
allows the end-user to re-watch the video without having to re-download it.
Streaming video, in contrast, is a method where video is sent in real-time to a client
machine which plays the video as it is received and then discards it. In addition,
a streaming server such as the Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX can establish
an intelligent connection with the client to allow the video to respond to the network
connection and client requests. Because streamed video starts fast, plays in real-time,
and allows users the ability to immediately access different parts of the video without
having to download all the video before it, it is a great solution for longer playing
videos, live video broadcasts, and applications that allow provide users with extensive
interaction with the video stream.
In addition, streamed video optimizes video delivery to large number of clients because
it delivers video just as it is needed. Progressive downloaded, on the other hand,
delivers video as fast as a user's computer will accept it. For large sites therefore,
streamed video can reduce the overall load on the servers and bandwidth costs.
Further, because the media is not downloaded to the client's computer with a streaming
server, streaming offers an effective form of digital media protection.
Q: When should I use progressive download vs. streaming when delivering video.
A. In general, for one-way one-to-many video delivery via the internet:
Use Progressive Download when you:
- Do not want to set up a specialized streaming server (i.e., FCS)
- Want consistent high quality playback at any connection speed
- Content downloaded to the client machine
Use Streaming when you need:
- Live broadcasts
- Long video clips
- Fast start (especially with longer clips)
- Immediate random access to different parts of a movie
- No content downloaded to the client machine
- Detailed stream statistics
- To stream a lot of video and managing server and bandwidth loads are important to
- Programmable stream control (e.g., server-side playlists, synchronized streams)