What’s a Webcast?

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Webcasting is the broadcast of media over the internet using streaming technology. It can be live or on-demand and is used for news, entertainment, lectures, and conferences. Webcasts can be accessed worldwide and are protected by proprietary platforms. The term was coined in the early 1990s and has exploded with increasing broadband penetration.

A webcast is a broadcast of media over the Internet using streaming technology. Media can take the form of audio and/or video, as long as users do not download the media, which contrasts with a webcast from something like a downloadable podcast. In essence, webcasting is Internet broadcasting and it should come as no surprise to learn that almost all major broadcasters offer webcast services, from the famous BBC World Service for news to American television Fox for entertainment. The technology is also used to deliver streaming video of lectures at universities, speeches at conferences, and a wide variety of other events.

There are two forms of webcasting. In a live webcast, data is sent in real time. This is common for news broadcasts and big events, as people want to be able to hear or see the event as it happens. In an on-demand webcast, the data is hosted on a server and users can choose when and where to view or listen to it. In the examples above, the World Service is a live webcast, while Fox programming is available in an on-demand format.

The idea of ​​webcasting was first proposed in 1989 by the early pioneers of the Internet, although the term “webcast” did not exist yet. By the early 1990s, several people had successfully created webcasts and a word had been coined to describe the process. Some people prefer to use “netcast”. With the increasing level of broadband penetration around the world, technology has exploded, as have the tools to create your own webcast and watch broadcasts in a centralized database.

Some webcasts use existing platforms to view or listen to media, so all viewers have to do is click the button that starts the webcast for it to begin. In other cases, users may need to download a proprietary platform to access the content. These platforms are sometimes used to protect the integrity of the webcast by making capture and distribution more difficult, and are also used to provide users with access to special features and information built into the platform.

Webcasts can be accessed worldwide, although access to a broadband connection gives users the ability to listen to and watch far more webcasts than dial-up Internet. Users can access content from the home pages of major broadcasters and through various directories and can also upload their own webcasts. Many small media providers use webcasting to distribute information, leveraging the technology to reach large audiences that may otherwise be inaccessible.

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