A system and method for seamlessly combining client-only rendering techniques with server-only rendering techniques. The approach uses a composite stream containing three distinct streams. Two of the streams are synchronized and transmit camera definition, video of server-rendered objects, and a time dependent depth map for the server-rendered object. The third stream is available to send geometry from the server to the client, for local rendering if appropriate. The invention can satisfy a number of viewing applications. For example, initially the most relevant geometry can stream to the client for high quality local rendering while the server delivers renderings of less relevant geometry at lower resolutions. After the most relevant geometry has been delivered to the client, the less important geometry can be optionally streamed to the client to increase the fidelity of the entire scene. In the limit, all of the geometry is transferred to the client and the situation corresponds to client-only rendering system where local graphics hardware is used to improve fidelity and reduce bandwidth. Alternatively, if a client does not have local three-dimensional graphics capability then the server can transmit only the video of the server-rendered object and drop the other two streams. In either case, the approach also permits for a progressive improvement in the server-rendered image whenever the scene becomes static. Bandwidth that was previously used to represent changing images is allocated to improving the fidelity of the server-rendered image whenever the scene becomes static.