Podcasts Streaming Media & Live Streaming Virtual Events Webcasts Webinar

Webinars, webcasts, streaming

Webinars, webcasts, streaming

Mike Knight from MK Link explains the difference between Webinars, webcasts, streaming  – words which perhaps we don’t always use correctly.  


A webcast is largely accepted to be different from a webinar in that it is a broadcast over the web (Web+Broadcast) that typically comes from a single source. i.e. one person makes the webcast and many people receive it but do not interact.  They can be live or recorded. Think of them like a TV programme that is broadcast into the ether. Or a radio programme.
In fact both TV and radio can be broadcast as normal and also broadcast simultaneously on the web. This is called a simulcast.  In recent years of course, TV has become more interactive and allows users to select post-broadcast shows (“Catch-up TV”) but also to interact with them to a limited extent, e.g. requesting more information (hence the expression “press the red button now”).


These are similar in nature to webcasts except that they tend to be more interactive and allow multiple people to broadcast and be involved. ie  “Many-To-Many” interactions rather that “One-To-Many” interactions (Webcasts).    “Webinars” and “web-conferencing” and “online meetings” and “online workshops” are used interchangeably. (Web+Seminar = Webinar).  Again, they can be live or recorded.

Streaming Media & Live Streaming

This refers to the protocols and networks that underpin webinar technology, rather then necessarily describing an event itself. In essence, it’s the ability to start consuming media before a whole file has been received.
If you think of a DVD, you have the whole file in your hands. If you think of watching a movie online, it is streamed to you, so you can watch it as you go along. i.e. you don’t have to wait until the whole film is downloaded.
To “smooth out” the process, buffering takes place, which keeps a short amount of the media in local memory so that even if the feed is discontinued momentarily, the media will still play without interruption.

Virtual Events

These can be trade shows and job fairs and whole on-line academies.   Think of going to a trade show, say for example the Technology for Marketing show at Earls’ Court in London. The WHOLE experience can be replicated in an online environment (apart from physical things like food) and the beauty of it all is that there’s no travelling, parking, hotels bills etc and everything is recorded. (Pretty much the same benefits as webinars)


A Podcast is rather different in that it is simply media (audio or video) that is available for download and is not transmitted either live or recorded at a predetermined time”.
Mike Knight.