Online video streaming solutions make content consuming simple and engaging. There is no need to download files or buy CDs or DVDs to view videos and then store discs on the shelf.

Technology simplified the viewing process by allowing consumers to watch videos via the Internet. We can watch live or recorded videos whenever we want and wherever we are with the help of OTT or IPTV delivery methods. So, how does video streaming work? We will observe that in this article.

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How does video streaming work?

It is a complex process. It includes the following steps:


After a video is recorded and captured from a video camera, it should go through an encoding process. Encoding means compressing a video and reducing its size. It is necessary for further storage and transmission of the video. It is compressed into chunks that are easy to transfer via the Internet.

For this process, an IPTV encoder is essential. It deals with the compression of files and further video delivery with flawless quality and low latency. Check if the encoder has high capacity power so that there are low latencies or none.


Transcoding is pretty similar to the encoding process. While encoding deals with uncompressed files, transcoding processes already encoded video files.

The IPTV transcoder converts it from one format to another. The process is necessary when a receiving device doesn’t support the current format of a video. For example, there is no need to play a 1080p video on a smartphone. A 480p quality will be enough, while laptops can play a 1080p video. And the picture quality is better.

It is also used to convert obsolete file formats into new ones so that a video streaming provider can reach more people.


Decoding is the opposite of encoding. It is uncompressing a requested video into a format that can be displayed on a screen. And a user can watch a video.

Decoding can be optional if the transmitting file is delivered using a compatible form.


After the decoding process is complete, the user can watch a video via the application or a web player. It is the time to enjoy the content.

What are the most common video streaming protocols?

Video streaming protocols define rules and methods for how a video will be divided into chunks. Here is the list of the most common protocols:

  • HLS – HTTP Live Streaming. It is compatible with many devices: from Smart TVs to Android smartphones. It is the protocol that also supports adaptive-bitrate streaming.
  • DASH – Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP. It is also known as MPEG-DASH. It is an alternative to the previously mentioned HLS protocol. It can be customized for any video codec.
  • WebRTC is a good solution when low latency streaming is necessary.
  • SRT – Secure Reliable Transport. It is famous for security, compatibility, streaming with low latency, and reliability.
  • RTMP – Real-Time Messaging Protocol. Today, it is used for sending a video from the encoder to a platform.
  • RTSP – Real-Time Streaming Protocol. It is a legacy protocol that supports low-latency streaming. Unlike HLS, it is compatible with fewer devices. Mostly, it is used in surveillance and CCTV systems.


Video streaming is a complex process. We described some of the things. A lot still happens under the hood. However, it is a technology that changes the whole media industry making it more flexible and convenient. Viewers can watch videos on any device they have and any time they want.