串流媒體趨勢


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2018/02/23 第397期  |  訂閱/退訂  |  看歷史報份  |  寂天閱讀網


【編輯小語】 寂天講堂
【英語學習Plus】 串流媒體趨勢
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串流媒體趨勢 In the Stream

Chances are you watch streamed television programs and movies on your smartphone or computer. Streaming has become so popular that the days of renting videos may soon be over. But what exactly is streaming, and how is it changing entertainment?

Basically, streaming means sending audio and/or video content to a device in a continuous "stream." This content is not downloaded but can be played on the device as soon as it arrives. Unlike downloaded movies and shows, streamed content does not remain on a device after it has been watched. Most streamed videos come from previously recorded files, but live broadcasts can also be streamed. These are known as feeds.

To watch streamed content, you must subscribe to a streaming service. This will allow you to access material from the service’s video library. Three of the largest streaming services are Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Netflix was founded in California in 1997 as a DVD sale and rental company. Its streaming service was introduced in 2007 and immediately caught on. Now a global entertainment provider, Netflix produces its own television series and films in addition to streaming other material.

Unlike Netflix, Hulu is available only in the United States and Japan. Co-owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast, and Time Warner, it offers mostly television programs from those networks. Subscribers must pay extra to watch these programs without commercials.

The Internet shopping giant Amazon.com now has its own streaming service. Amazon Prime provides access to millions of songs, films, and television shows. Recently, Amazon has also begun producing original programs.

Streaming’s popularity is easy to understand. It’s cheap, fast, mobile, and offers viewers an almost endless variety of choices. So it’s not surprising that many people binge-watch streamed content for hours or even days at a time. This has been linked to eye problems, obesity, depression, and other health issues, especially among the young. Like many other "great ideas," streaming may pose a danger to those with no self-control.


現代人很可能都在使用智慧型手機或電腦觀賞串流電視節目與電影。串流傳輸技術如此盛行,租錄影帶的時代很快就不復在。那麼到底何謂「串流傳輸技術」?它又是如何改變娛樂生態的呢?

基本上,串流傳輸技術意指,將影音檔傳案的內容以連續的串流方式送至某裝置。檔案內容不會儲存在裝置上,卻可讓裝置一邊接收檔案、一邊播放檔案。與需要下載整個檔案的電影和電視節目不同,用戶觀賞完串流媒體內容後,檔案並不會留存於裝置。多數的串流影片均來自事先錄製的檔案,但現場直播性質的節目一樣能以串流技術傳送出去,這就是所謂的「饋送」。

為了觀賞串流內容,必須先訂閱串流服務,用戶即可存取該服務影片庫的素材。目前規模最大的三個串流服務供應商分別是Netflix、Hulu和Amazon Prime。

Netfilx 在1997 年於加州創立,當時是以DVD光碟租售公司起家。2007年,Netflix引進串流服務,立即蔚為流行。如今,成為全球娛樂供應商的Netflix,除了串流其他媒體素材以外,甚至製播原創電視影集與電影。

與Netflix不同的Hulu,服務範圍僅限美國和日本。由迪士尼、21 世紀福斯影片公司、康卡斯特與時代華納共同經營,大多提供上述影視公司所出品的電視節目。用戶若想觀賞無廣告節目,還需支付額外費用。

網路購物龍頭「亞馬遜網站」,亦擁有自己的串流服務。Amazon Prime 提供上百萬首歌曲、影片和電視節目。亞馬遜近期亦開始製播原創節目。

串流媒體的人氣居高不下可想而知。因為平價、快速、可攜,且能讓用戶盡情選擇五花八門的影音內容。也難怪很多人會一口氣花好幾個小時、甚至好幾天,利用串流服務追劇。此現象卻因此衍生了視力問題、肥胖、憂鬱症和其他健康問題,尤其是發生在年輕世代身上。與其他「偉大的點子」一樣,對於沒有自制力的人而言,串流服務可載舟亦可覆舟。

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