Streaming refers to a method for transferring data wherein the data is displayed as it arrives. This is done so that people can have access to parts of a file without having to download anything.

Streaming software automatically decompresses and decodes the data as it arrives and displays it, whether as a music file or video file. This is especially important for transferring large files that are to be viewed only one time: Those with slow internet connections don’t have to go through the hassle of waiting for the large file to be downloaded.

In cases where the internet speed is fast enough so that the data arrives even before it has to be viewed, a “buffer” is created to temporarily store that data. The buffered data is then decompressed and shown as needed. However, note that anything streamed is not downloaded permanently on the computer, which means that users need to go online again to access the same file or use another method to download the file.

In cases when the internet speed is slow, the buffered data that comes with speed boosts is used to ensure a continuous display. However, if the internet speed is too slow, it will result in pauses and general choppiness during the viewing of data, since the computer has to wait for the data to arrive before it can decompress anything for display.

Another advantage or streaming is that gets rid of the threat of malware since the files are not downloaded on the computer.