Why TV’s don’t Buffer??

posted in: Science & Facts | 0

Watching a show or event or movie on Television is much better than watching on the Internet because of exhaustive BUFFERING!!!

There are several reasons for online video buffering,

  • Internet connectivity
  • Internet Speed
  • Network Provider
  • Number of Users and the list goes on….

But, why only is Internet streaming buffers while Television does not?

This can be explained with a short example. Imagine an overhead tank with filled with 1000 liters and a tap at its bottom. If we open the tap there would be a continuous stream of water flow till 1000 liters gets consumed. This is Television broadcasting. TV, whether over the air or on cable TV, is “broadcasting” one thing to everyone who can possibly receive it. If you’ve got an antenna and are tuned in, you will see whatever is going on right at that moment. There’s no buffering, because there’s no before, no after: you can only receive what’s being sent at that exact moment. If you want to rewind or fast-forward, you need to have some recording device(built-in in few set-top boxes) or, if you’re having trouble receiving the signal, you’ll get either a degraded signal or none at all. In a sense, this is worse than buffering, because if there’s an interruption in the signal, what was missed is simply lost forever. But, since the same thing goes out to everyone, it has an uninterrupted, constant stream of video that anyone with the right equipment can tap into, but only to see what’s on right at that moment. In a broadcasted television signal, the distribution system is designed to deliver a full picture every 1/30 or 1/60 of a second. The entire system is designed to make sure that a full picture is delivered to your TV and displayed immediately.



Image Source: Akashavi.in  |  Buffered length

On the other hand, Online steaming of video over the Internet is like consuming a Thousand 1 Liter bottles one after the other. Everyone has to have their own, private, separate ‘path’ for the video to get to them. Millions of TV channels trying to use the same internet at once. Due to internet speeds and how internet hardware works, sometimes one of those private ‘paths’ has to stop and wait for someone else’s data to use the same wire. This is the nature of the internet; it’s fast, but there’s no guarantee anyone’s data will get there when it is expected. So, online video and audio use buffering, which essentially starts recording the streaming data off the internet, which is stopping and starting and pausing slightly and suddenly is faster than regular video speed but then slows back down and then is playing it back at ‘live’ speed for you. Even if you’re watching the same thing on your computer as someone sitting next to you, you’re not really watching the same thing. You each have your own, dedicated broadcast station sending you your data, trying to share the same wire, which means two copies of the same video are on the same wire at the same time. As more and more different video connections try to use the same wires, it slows down, even more, causing buffering to try and save ahead even further than before.

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Image Source: ifunny.co

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  • Question answered by Anna Erdahl and Cruft box on reddit.com
  • Television in Wikipedia
  • Why Do Streaming Videos Stop, Stutter and Buffer? posted on December 3, 2015, in nutelecom.net
  • Featured Image Source: Why You Shouldn’t Forget About Latency posted in gizmodo.com
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