With the advancements of technology, video streaming services are getting easier to access and better in terms of value for money and affordability as compared to the traditional modes of media consumption like DVD, Blu-Ray and VHS. This is thanks to the digitization of everything around us that has enabled seamless connectivity with the cloud through superfast internet connectivity.

In the present digital era, there are broadly two different kinds of consumption of media, be it audio or video content. These are streaming and downloading. Both of these are digital in nature but which is the better one. The answer to this depends mainly on your circumstances. Here is a detailed breakdown of both of these.

What is the difference?

Many people and organizations mix both these up without understanding the methodology and meaning behind them, be it podcasts or video on demand. Before we get to the differences it is essential to get a clear understanding of what they mean.


Streaming can be defined as the technology and process that utilizes the internet to transmit a video and audio feed directly to a mobile device or a computer. This data transmission happens instantaneously as there is virtually no lag between the server and the end user’s screen. One thing you must not forget no matter what is to install computer updates regularly.

The provider delivers the requested data to you, the viewer. As the name “stream” suggests the digital data (audio and video) is transferred continuously in a linear fashion for processing or instantaneous playback.


Downloading can be defined as the process that involves the transmission of a file from one computer to another. As in the case of the verb ‘download,’ it suggests the transfer of data from a distant computer to a computer that is present nearby. This transfer happens from a larger computer to a smaller computer or from a computer to a peripheral device.

To put it in plain terms, when you download a file, it is first requested from some website online or another computer. Once the request is authorized there is a transfer of file and once the transfer is made, you will receive the file on your end. The point to remember is that unlike streaming, once the data is completely transferred, you don’t need the internet to access the file as it is physically present in your system and can be accessed anytime.

The best part about downloading files like movies or a television shows from a streaming service provider onto your system is the ability to access the file when you don’t have an active internet connection like when commuting on trains, planes, and cars or even when working out in the gym.  

Which is Better?

This purely depends on your needs. If you have continuous uninterrupted access to the internet then streaming is the better option. If you are going to have any discrepancies while watching or listening to the file then downloading it is the better option. With the limited storage available on devices today, it is better to not fill it up with files that you are just going to watch just once. If you are always connected then streaming is the better option without a doubt.