What is Mobile Video Streaming?

A. Leverkuhn

Mobile video streaming is the practice of providing video to a mobile device through wireless digital signals. This fairly new kind of technology has been applied to mobile phone and cell phone devices, as well as to some other kinds of wireless devices that can receive digital broadband signals through the air. Video streaming media is now quickly becoming part of what customers expect from a mobile device, and electronics companies are racing to deliver a greater variety of traveling devices that will showcase the ability to stream digital video.

Tablets can be used for mobile video streaming.
Tablets can be used for mobile video streaming.

The idea of mobile video streaming developed from digital connections to wired devices fairly quickly, as the Internet and other connective technologies emerged in the 1990s. Providers of digital video began to offer them through broadband connections. Wider broadband services helped to provide a better standard for video streaming. Eventually, the improvement of digital video transfer meant it could be applied to less stable systems like wireless networks, which were also conveniently becoming more stable through more finely tuned information delivery processes.

Some mobile devices can stream television shows and other rich multimedia experiences.
Some mobile devices can stream television shows and other rich multimedia experiences.

Mobile video streaming has some of the same conventions that were always associated with receiving video through digital connection. One of these is “buffering,” in which the digital display has to temporarily stop in order to help the receiving technology catch up with receiving and ordering all of the digital data in the video production. Another has to do with formatting, where videos and nonstandard formats may not have the same kinds of accessibility as video in established formats like MPEG-4, a common video format for mobile streaming.

Mobile video streaming uses wireless digital signals to deliver video content to portable devices.
Mobile video streaming uses wireless digital signals to deliver video content to portable devices.

Many of today’s digital service providers use a 3G Network, a kind of certified wireless signal that provides helpful standards for the wireless community as a whole. Customers can compare the 3G networks of competing mobile content providers, and choose the one they think will best accommodate their desired use of mobile content, including TV or live video streaming. Companies are also developing 4G networks for the future, which would logically include better accommodation for mobile video streaming.

As various kinds of technology have improved through the last several decades, the operational capacity of consumer electronics has exploded. Mobile video streaming is a good example of this phenomenon, where full length movies and quality video content can now be sent through wireless signal directly to an end user. Technicians and engineers continue to study the common uses of 3G and 4G networks to see how the current system can be improved for even better mobile video streaming and delivery in the future.

Most consumers expect that their laptop or other mobile device streams high-quality video.
Most consumers expect that their laptop or other mobile device streams high-quality video.

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Discussion Comments


The download can be done on terminal after the file has been compressed to allow mobile terminal to download.


@pastanaga - Oh, people have been predicting the doom of the next generation since the beginning of time and it's never happened. People adapt to new technologies. Sure, there might be some people who choose to stay at home and play with their computer all day, but there have always been antisocial people.

In fact, video streaming on mobile makes it more possible that people are going to be able to get together and share their favorite parts of the internet. I know when I'm hanging out with my friends we always end up swapping our favorite YouTube finds and it gives us something in common. It's no different from kids in the 50s swapping baseball cards and feeling a connection because they like the same hitter.

People are good at being social and they will continue to be good at being social whether it's through technology or not.


@umbra21 - I actually think it's a shame that it's become so very easy for people to access video all the time. It used to be that you could restrict your kids and even yourself by turning off the TV, but now you'd have to turn off the TV, the phone, the laptop and goodness knows what else to get them to quit watching videos.

I don't think they're necessarily harmful in themselves, but kids and adults need to get out into the sunshine and do more active things, including socialize. Watching videos that your friends have posted on Facebook doesn't count as hanging out with your friends.

This generation is going to be more isolated than any other before it, because they won't learn how to truly interact with each other without the ability to type in emoticons or make a joke without a canned laughter backup.


It's hard to imagine life without video streaming. I mean, I use it for so many things during the day. I've got several friends and family overseas, so I use Skype to talk to them over my laptop (using WiFi) and that uses video streaming. I have a couple of classes that are done online and I watch lectures and presentations by streaming video as well.

My nephew and I watch cartoons online and my mother and I catch up on shows we miss on TV by getting them from the channel website. I watch movie trailers and other advertisements as well.

It's something I just take for granted, but I use it all the time. Whenever my internet cuts out and I can't access web streaming it's like losing a finger or something, it takes a while for me to adjust!

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