What Is the difference between Streaming and Downloading?

Streaming describes the act of playing media in real time over the internet on one device when the media is saved on another. When you stream a file from branhamtabernacle.org, the stored data is transmitted (or "streamed") from our servers to your device, BUT the file is not stored permanently on your computer or phone.

On the other hand, Downloading describes the act of "pulling" a file from our servers and storing it locally your device for playback later.

What is a “buffer”; what is “buffering”, and why are they important to streaming?

The term "buffer" refers to an area of computer memory set aside for temporary storage of data. It can be likened to a container used to store a liquid such as water...

If there is no hole in the bottom of the container, water can be poured in until the container is filled. If, however, there is a hole in the bottom of the container, water will flow out until the container is empty unless water is added periodically. As long as water is added frequently enough to maintain a good level in the container, water will flow out at a constant rate. If the hole is enlarged, then water will have to be added more often to keep the outflow constant. If water cannot be added to the container fast enough to keep up with the water flowing out, the stream will stop while the container is re-filled.

This idea applies to audio streaming as well. In this case, the "container" is the "buffer" in computer memory, and the incoming audio data is the "water".

When you listen to an audio stream, you are, in fact, listening to the data as it flows out of the buffer. The buffer is "filled" by communications software operating in the background. If the buffer empties faster than it can be refilled, the audio will stop or "stutter" until enough data has been received to allow smooth playback.

Buffering is the term given to this process of keeping the buffer filled so that audio playback will be smooth.

It is important to remember that, due to many factors, transmission speeds on the Internet are not constant. Buffering is necessary to smooth out these speed differences. The size of the buffer is determined by the communications software used. Generally speaking, the larger the buffer, the less often it will need to be re-filled.

So why not make the buffer as big as we can and forget about it? As you might have guessed, the answer is not that simple. The bigger the buffer, the longer it takes for the initial fill of data and therefore the longer it takes for the stream to start playing. Default buffer sizes are a compromise between these competing considerations.

Why Stream?

Lack of sufficient local storage to contain media files (which may be hundreds of megabytes in size).

Desire to participate in the service "as it is happening".

Why Download?

Users can play any files they download at a later time without dependence on an internet connection.

Audio plays, but frequently stops

Online audio requires that you have a connection that can handle the bandwidth (32 Kbps). Your computer will pause (or even disconnect) if it cannot keep up with that much data coming in. There are several reasons why your computer might not be able to "keep up":

  • If your computer is old or you are using old software (i.e., your browser is out of date), it may simply not have enough "compute power" to handle the data stream.
  • CPU/memory resources may be used by other activities you are doing while you are trying to listen to an audio stream. Limit other activities while your stream is playing.
  • Your internet connection may not be fast enough to supply the data at the rate you need.
  • The internet itself may be contributing to your problem. The path that audio data takes from our servers to your device is not "written in stone" and will change each time you connect. Some of these paths might go through components that are introducing unwanted delays. If that is the case, the best thing to do is to re-connect to the server to obtain a different connection path with (perhaps) better delay characteristics.
I can't connect to the branhamtabernacle.org stream at all.

Sometimes, computers that are behind firewalls have difficulty completing the connection. Try disabling your firewall (temporarily) to see if you can successfully connect.

Suggestions for better streaming

"Live" audio streaming has been (and continues to be) a real blessing to Believers around the world.

That said, the technology behind making it work reliably is complex, and that is why we want to share some helpful "hints" to make your streaming experience a better one. First, however, a bit of background.

The audio that you hear on your device is the result of a "chain" of processes and events, and, as the saying goes; a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The audio from our Services is passed to encoding equipment that converts it into a form that the Internet can handle. From there, it is sent to a Content Delivery Network on the public Internet for distribution. When you click on a streaming service, code in the background makes the connection to the content delivery network and initiates the stream. At that point, how you are listening to the stream becomes important.

 

Network

If practical, connect to your Local Area Network (LAN) with a wired Ethernet connection rather than a wireless one such as WiFi. Doing this eliminates one link in the "chain" and can result in a more stable connection.

If, however, wireless connection is your only practical choice, there are some things you can do to help your connection. WiFi is radio based. Try to sit as close to the WiFi router as you can. That way, the radio signal strength is greater and the connection more stable. If you are sitting several rooms away from the router, then the WiFi signal strength is lower and connection problems could occur. You can use the number of "bars" in your device display as a rough guide to signal strength.

 

Device (computer) resources

Streaming is a resource intensive process. That is, streaming consumes a large amount of the processing power and memory of your device. What you want is to have your browser be the only thing running on your system while you are streaming. Try the following before streaming:

1. Reboot your device. This gives you a "clean slate" on which to work.

2. Exit, close, or disable any running programs. On the Windows platform, Task Manager can be used if required. NOTE: Minimizing a program is NOT sufficient. Minimized programs are still using computer resources. If you have antivirus software running, at least make sure it will not start scanning your system during your streaming time. Scanning can use up a LOT of resources.

3. Start your browser and connect to your stream of choice.

 

Browser choice

The browser you run can have a significant effect on the reliability of your stream. There are a number of browsers on the market, and you will have to try out several of them to determine which one works best for you. On the IOS platform, go to the AppStore and search for "browser". For Android, go to the PlayStore.

Most listeners use the default browser that came with their device. Usually that is Safari, Chrome, or Internet explorer, but one browser that has been successful of late is Firefox by Mozilla. Several users have reported success streaming with Firefox. For Windows users, the Edge browser by Microsoft is also worthy of consideration.

Your satisfaction with your streaming experience is paramount to us. If you have any problems or questions regarding streaming, contact us via the provided link on the streaming webpage at Branhamtabernacle.org. This link is near the bottom of the page, so scroll down to find it.

I have another support question.

Please contact us with your streaming questions/problems. We will do our best to help you.