Audio and video streaming were invented long before the internet became mainstream but with no practical uses at the time, given the low bandwidth and the limited number of internet users. But then the internet became not only friendlier with the masses but increasingly popular as well. People started discovering its advantages not only in sharing knowledge and communicating instantly across vast distances but in commerce and entertainment, too.
Today, the internet can take care of pretty much all of our entertainment needs, from live streaming of events to interactive gaming options available in all live casinos India has to offer. Streaming has come a long way from the first online radios to where it stands today.
The first online radio stations
The first internet radio station was launched by technologist, author, and public domain advocate Carl Malamud in 1993, two years after the first web page as we know it went online. As a founder of the Internet Multicasting Service, he launched the first internet radio station called “Internet Talk Radio” – as you might expect, it was built around technology and computing, described as “the first computer-radio talk show, each week interviewing a computer expert”.
The next milestone in online audio streaming came later in the same year, with a concert of the band Severe Tire Damage broadcast online. And in the next year, the first “true” online radio was born when the RTE To Everywhere Project started rebroadcasting the RTE radio over the internet.
Today, pretty much every traditional radio station in the world has its online stream available to those outside of its range, and there are plenty of online-only stations, too. At the same time, there are several music streaming services out there providing their users with the benefits of an online radio station and that of a personalized music library.
The first live video streams
Uploading a pre-recorded video to an online library and playing it in a browser or an app is something that’s been around for ages. This practice has, in turn, only become mainstream when the bandwidth of internet connections became good enough for a decent quality – in around 2002.
But how about streaming something live, as it happens, online? Well, this practice is also older than many would’ve thought. The first “webcast” was set up by the Cambridge University: a webcam uploaded still photos of the Trojan Room’s coffee pot every few minutes to all computers on the local network, which later found its way to the internet, too. This happened in 1991, long before video streaming went mainstream.
The first webcast that had both audio and video was created by producer Benford E. Standley – he was the first to cast from the Troubadour night club in Hollywood. A year later, American artist Jenny Ringley set up JenniCam, a webcast capturing her dorm room 24 hours a day. And the first concert streamed live was held by UK band Caduseus in October 1996 – it was a simulcast of audio and video mirrored on 20 countries around the world.
What’s it like today
Today, live streaming over the internet is commonplace – especially now that the ongoing pandemic has confined so many people to their homes. Everyone can stream live video on Facebook, YouTube or other online services, and video conferencing has become commonplace. Even some of the major events that were cancelled due to public health concerns are being held online-only – like the upcoming Microsoft Inspire, scheduled for July 20-24, that will be digital-only, and freely accessible to everyone.