Streaming media is video and/or audio data transmitted for immediate playback rather than for file download and later (offline) playback.

Streaming Downloading
Streaming is absolutely legal when you use licensed services like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus, etc. Downloading copyrighted content is illegal in most countries
Streaming sites give you access to very rich media library. Downloading requires a lot of storage for saving media files. Also you have to spend a lot of time and resources to collect your private media library.
Streaming sites are very well organized, with description, rating and title search When downloading, you need to maintain and organize your media library by yourself
Streaming requires only bandwidth needed for media playback. When downloading data, you spend bandwidth on content that you might never use. Sometimes you don’t know what you download and at what quality until the download is complete
Playback media quality depends on your connection load and service provider load. Quality of downloaded media doesn’t depend on network load
If streaming service doesn’t have a flat rate like Netflix, you are required to pay per view. Some streaming services offer ‘rent’ (pay per view) or ‘buy’ (unlimited viewing) options, yet ‘buy’ option is considerably more expensive. You can use downloaded media as many times as you want without additional payment.
Many set-top devices are built for streaming only. The selection of set-top devices for playing local media files is limited and sometimes you have to install additional software and continually maintain it.

Cannot access blocked streaming content?
Learn how to access Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, BBC iPlayer, Pandora, and 100s online channels regardless of Geo Region. Read more.

See also