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Streaming Media: Entertainment All Around You

Streaming media is the next step in home entertainment.

Today, your video entertainment is most likely confined to the TV sets around your home. Audio flows from your iPod®, your stereo system, and perhaps your computer.

But wouldn't it be cool to hear music from any source, in any room, whenever you want? Would you like to watch Internet videos on your living-room TV, or programs recorded on your cable TV set-top box/digital video recorder on any TV in the house?

That's what next-generation streaming media technology is all about.

Streaming Media: The Basics

What is streaming media, exactly?

When someone sends you an e-mail, you can't read the message until it's been received in its entirety. But if that e-mail were streamed to your computer, you could start reading it right away—even before the entire message has been received.

The same is true with video and audio. In some cases, you can't begin watching or listening until the file has been completely downloaded to the playback device. But with streaming media, you don't have to wait. You can start enjoying the content even as it's being transmitted or received.

YouTube, the Rhapsody&$174; music subscription service, and your cable TV provider's videos on demand are three examples of streaming media many people know today.

Streaming Media: The Future is Now

Several trends are taking streaming media to the next level:

  • High-speed Internet access is now affordable and widely available
  • N Band Wireless network routers, capable of delivering video and audio around the home, are inexpensive and easy to set up
  • Video hardware, in the form of Webcams, pocket-sized high-def camcorders, and digital cameras with video recording, cost $200 or less and are easy to operate
  • Media hubs, designed to store your digital media and stream it to devices on your network, have also become affordable and easy to use.
  • Wireless home audio streams music from multiple sources—your iPod, CD collection, Internet radio, and such—across your network, allowing you to play and control music anywhere in your home.

Find Out More

Cisco offers a range of affordable, easy-to-use products for creating an immersive home entertainment experience.

Learn about Cisco cable TV set-top boxes with integrated digital video recorder technology.

What is visual networking? Find out.