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Simpson Library | Special Collections

Streaming Video

A guide to streaming videos available to the UMW community

About this Guide

This LibGuide provides basic information on streaming video resources available at the University of Mary Washington.  The guide organizes these resources into the following broad categories:

  • Films on Demand
  • Kanopy
  • ‚ÄčAmerican History in Video
  • Open Videos

What is Streaming Video?

Streaming video is a means of delivering video content to computer desktops via an Internet connection, without requiring any additional equipment for decoding or downloading.  A host server delivers the file to the receiving computer.   The host can be either local or remote.  Multiple users can view the same video at the same time from different locations.

Streaming video differs from downloads in that no copy of the file is stored on the end-user’s computer, so files remain relatively secure.

Playback requires receiving computers to have appropriate software installed.  Commonly used streaming frameworks include Windows Media, RealVideo, QuickTime, and Flash.  Some streaming services provide files in the end-user’s choice of formats.

Because of the large file size for visual data streaming videos usually employ file compression.  This compression usually negatively affects image quality when played full-screen or projected. Even with compression, effective use of streaming video requires a robust, high-speed internet connection.  Dial-up connections generally are too slow to adequately deliver streaming videos.