Introduced by Real Networks in 1995, streaming audio has become ubiquitous in the United States if not the rest of industrialized world. Millions of people nationwide now enjoy free (as in beer, not speech) internet radio through applications such as Winamp and RealPlayer (for the sake of brevity, I’ll omit mention of VoIP save this blurb). Only one piece of the Internet, streaming media has allowed users to access information in a more natural way than through text, [techspeek]all while mitigating network bottlenecks and without discriminating against low-bandwidth channels[/techspeek]. Streaming audio has facilitated the expansion of free (as in speech and as in beer) thought, like many other Internet applications.
These past few years have born witness to further advances in the state of the art. Satelite radio networks are beginning to challenge the established radio outlets with bold programming (Stern is so funny) and wider selections, for a small subscription fee. This is great news for the little guy, as it draws some power away from the big players. Control media and you’ll control the world–Murdoch style.
So the next time you are enjoying Club 977 internet radio or in your cubicle watching the latest episode of Naruto, streaming from a server in Denmark, thank RealNetworks and the minds that continually bring innovation to our world.
Resources: Slashdot – Streaming Audio 10 Years Old