A streaming server is just the name given to a computer that is used to stream media. Those computers are much more powerful computers than we normally have as desktops or laptops. A streaming server runs special software that delivers media to the clients (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) that request it.
Two examples of streaming server software are Windows Media Services and Flash Media Server. The streaming content can be live or on demand.
A streaming server uses a specific set of protocols to break up the media into the right size chunks to deliver over the network. These are some examples: Real-time transfer protocol (RTP), Real-time streaming protocol (RTSP), Real-time transport control protocol (RTCP).
Planetstream, and other streaming providers, usually provide access to paid or free streaming software that can be hosted by the service provider. Most likely that server is residing in a data warehouse somewhere, or perhaps many if a CDN is used. Content creators upload their encoded media (audio, video or both) and the streaming server sends it out to the end user who watches it using a player on their device.
While the names are similar, a streaming server is not the same thing as a streaming service. Amazon video, Netflix, and TVNow are streaming services. But all of them use streaming servers to provide their service and allow people to watch their content. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably in the press or in non-technical settings. But it is important to know the difference.
Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and Echo are devices that let you watch streaming services, but they also are not streaming servers. They request the content from the appropriate server after a consumer chooses a particular programme.« Back to Glossary Index