Progressive Download Vs. Streaming Video – Which Is Best?

Panther Express, a leading global provider of high-performance content delivery services, today announced their guide to efficiently delivering online video. Many companies and technical staff struggle with choosing between the advantages and features associated with the two main flavors of video delivery – progressive download and streaming. Now that many of the features first associated with streaming are available through Panther with progressive download, the choice is now simple.

"Most end users cannot tell the difference between the video delivered by progressive download and that delivered via a streaming video server," said Steve Liddell, CEO of Panther Express. "It all streams. It is not until you look very carefully at video player functions like how the navigation actually works (rewind and fast forward), that there is a difference.”

Most Internet Video is delivered by progressive download. For example, YouTube video is delivered by progressive download. According to comScore Video Matrix, YouTube originates over 34% of all video delivered by US content providers. Our analysis of the top video sites has revealed that over 65% of video traffic, and over 55% of sites are using progressive download.

Panther Express's network is based on over 10 years high performance HTTP delivery and is built upon today's Internet technologies and architectures, not that of a decade ago. For example, years ago, the only acceptable way to deliver video was via streaming protocols such as RTSP, RTP, or RTCP that required proprietary players and expensive servers. Often referred to as Streaming Video, these solutions were costly and did not scale well but offered more functionality at the time. Yet, as technology has evolved, there was a wholesale migration towards to a new way of delivering video delivery via the standard HTTP protocol (often referred to as Progressive Download). Less expensive, it also scales well. This shift has occurred due to customer acceptance once the technology evolved to include many of the features that were once only possible with "true" streaming protocols.

By using metadata attached to encoded FLV files, Progressive Download can now allow users full seek and navigation at any time without requiring full file download. By using bandwidth throttling (specify bit rate that files should be delivered at), it is now possible to deliver only the amount of video that will be viewed, preventing wasted bandwidth. To maximize security, no-cache headers can be used to prevent browsers from storing content in cache and further DRM protection is easily available from partners.

There are many old misconceptions about progressive download and streaming video. For an up to date look at the reality of both, plus a comparison of each format's features, please check out our free guide to "Delivering Internet Video" – email us pr@pantherexpress.net for a copy.

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About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Alon Y

    Thanks for this summary

  • Shraddha

    Excellent, very helpful.

  • Stuart Knight

    I'm trying to find the best, or least use of bandwidth way, to watch video. We have a Netflix account and I have watched a few movies. Of course, we are at our bandwidth maximum after watching 4 movies in a month. Does anybody have any advice or thoughts on this subject?

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