The Many Faces of Streaming

It seems that every few years, there is a new “Word” that makes its way into our vocabulary.  Back in the 1970s, it was the word “Disco”.  Every nightclub and bar suddenly became a Disco.  In the 1980s, it was “Camcorder”.  Everyone was talking about buying and using a camcorder to document their lives’ events.  These “Words” seemingly come out of nowhere, and suddenly explode into our lives.  You see and hear them everywhere, on the TV news, in advertisements, at parties.


This year’s word is “Streaming”.  It’s everywhere.  Coming from the tech industry, “Streaming” means something very specific to me.  But, to the average person, it means something else entirely.  In fact, most people don’t know exactly what it means.  I did a quick (and very unscientific) survey among my non-tech friends.  We played a quick game of Word Association.  When I said "Streaming," they all said "Netflix."  In other words, they look at Streaming as an inexpensive method of entertainment, allowing them to “cut the cable” (everyone’s fantasy).


To industry insiders, it is more specific.  But, it still has many meanings.  Is it a point-to-point delivery of a camera into a command center for security?  Or how about bringing a remote camera source into a video switcher for a TV broadcast?  What about point-to-multipoint streaming, as in content delivery, such as a church service via a web site?


How people define “Streaming” depends on the side of the electronics industry they are in.  To make the categorization easier, I like to break it out into four distinct trade shows:  ISC (International Security Conference), NAB (National Association Of Broadcasters), CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and Infocomm (Pro Audio/Video).


In the Pro AV industry, it’s not as much as a camera feed (though that can be a component of the content);  it’s a replacement for a point-to-point hard connection, kind of like a long extension chord.  It is generally an efficient, and versatile way to move content.  In some cases, it is just a lower-cost way to move content.  In other cases, it enhances the experience by adding graphics and effects that were difficult to accomplish in the past.  And in other cases, it ties in content from far-off places that could previously not be reached.


ClearOne VIEW® Pro streaming solutions sit squarely in the Infocomm world, Pro Audio/Video applications.  It is more commonly called “AV over IP.”  By running content over the network, it eliminates the need to run multiple cables over a long distance to get content to monitors, in a point-to-point connection.  Think digital signage and video walls.  It is a combination of cost saving, convenience, and experience enhancement.  A great example is in the case of a sports bar.  With so many monitors placed in such a wide proximity to the source, AV over IP saves time, money, and complicated installs.  Direct connections are no longer needed. Everything is delivered through the network.


In addition to content delivery, VIEW® Pro products are actually more than encoders and decoders.  They are video Digital Signal Processors (DSP).  When audio DSPs were invented, they did so much for live audio.  The VIEW® Pro products do the same for video walls and digital signage.  Not only do they distribute the content, but they add effects to make the content more interesting and attention-getting.


Streaming serves many purposes.  It touches everyone’s lives in so many ways of which we are not even aware.  There is a reason it is the “Word” of the year.  It enhances our visual experiences in so many ways.  The age of streaming has arrived.




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