Streaming means listening to music or watching a movie in real time rather than downloading a file to your computer or tablet and watching it later.
To successfully stream films, TV or music as you will on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Spotify, your home broadband speed needs to be running fast enough to show the streaming data.
Usually ADSL standard speed broadband – up to 17Mbps – is not quick enough or reliable enough to stream TV or music. Fibre to the Cabinet broadband – up to 38Mbps or up to 76Mbps – is the recommended minimum speed for streaming.
To help with streaming, the data files of your music or movie are compressed to use as little broadband bandwidth as possible.
Most broadband deals come with unlimited data, so there are no limits on the amount of data you can use every month.
Listening to music can consume around 0.5-1MB per minute while watching a YouTube video can consume about 4-5MB per minute.
Sometimes there can be an interruption to streaming. To counter this your computer stores a ‘buffer’ of the data it has already received.
If there’s a drop-out, the buffer enables the streaming to continue uninterrupted. If there is no more data in the buffer then you’ll see the message “Buffering.”