Streaming seems to be the new way millions of people are enjoying TV and it shows no signs of slowing down. Every week there seems to be a new show premiering on a streaming service rather than regular programmed television, or a major network has announced their plans to launch a new streaming platform. There are so many options and ways to enjoy streaming television, but where to start?
To stream television, you’ll need a few things. A great thing about streaming is you don’t need a bunch of equipment to make it work, but there are a few essentials:
Having a high speed internet is an absolute requirement to experience the best streaming has to offer. You don’t want to be streaming Netflix or Amazon’s latest show and have to deal with endless amounts of buffering or lost signal. It’s best to have a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps or higher for a high-quality experience.
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Depending on which streaming service you go with, you may lose out on your local channels like: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS. There’s an easy fix though, you can grab a digital antenna and get yourself hooked up in no time.
Something to note, not all antennas are created equal. Depending on where you live, you’ll need a specific type of antenna to get the connection you want.
- An indoor antenna will connect directly to a single TV to pick-up local programming. This is an ideal solution for urban dwellers since broadcast towers are closer than in rural settings.
- If you live in more rural parts of the country, an outdoor antenna is going to be a great option for you. It’s a bit trickier to install since it involves getting on your roof; however, when done correctly you’ll experience a crystal-clear picture with all your favorite local channels.
- Much like an outdoor antenna, an attic antenna goes inside your home in your attic and can be a little tedious to install. You’ll need to ensure there’s nothing obstructing your signal in addition to a bit of wiring work.
The most crucial piece to your streaming experience is obviously your streaming device. There are many options available: Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick and Roku — just to name a few! The equipment is usually pretty small compared to most cable boxes and can either plug directly into your TV or into the cable box, simplifying your connection into a single cord.
Depending on what shows you’re interested in, the catalog will be everything to you when choosing which streaming provider to go with. There are so many platforms investing time and big money into delivering high-quality original content. But it’s not always about what’s new and trending, some platforms offering old favorites that sometimes result in higher popularity than what the shows were in their prime. A great example is Netflix’s Arrested Development. While it originally aired for only three seasons, it cultivated a cult following through Netflix with a renewed love from fans that resulted in Netflix producing additional seasons many years after the original air date. Some movies are even being produced and released straight to streaming platforms, avoiding theaters altogether. If you’re worried about losing your favorite sports, don’t be. Sports fans can still stream live sports and watch their favorite teams without any sacrifice in picture quality or service. It’s worth noting though, that depending on what you’re interested in, some specialty channels won’t be available on some streaming services — so that’s something to keep in mind.
An appealing component to streaming television is the price. Some cable and satellite television can cost upwards of $100 a month compared to some streaming platforms that start as low as $8 a month. While some services are cheaper than others, you need to consider what you’re going to be watching and any features that come along with it.
- Starts at $8.99 a month
- Best overall selection of new, original content, syndicated content- always adding new titles.
- Starts at $5.99 a month
- Stay up-to-date with current TV offerings while also enjoying Hulu original content.
- Starts at $12.99 a month
- Watch great original shows on Amazon as well as older syndicated content from other networks such as HBO’s back catalog. Plus you get the added bonus of all the perks with Amazon Prime so you’ll enjoy free two-day shipping and a few other Amazon member perks!
- Starts at $50.00 a month
- If you’re a bit hesitant to leave the familiar multi-channel TV setup this service is ideal for you. It’s a bit more expensive than other popular streaming services, but you get 90 live channels including sports and news, as well as show recording.
- Service will stop for PlayStation Vue on January 30, 2020
- Starts at $6.99 a month
- If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to re-watch all of your childhood favorites, Disney+ has everything you could ever want and more. You can stream any Disney favorite since the beginning, in addition to all of your favorite content from the Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars universes. Disney+ also includes new, original content only available through their streaming service. You can upgrade your plan to include Hulu and ESPN for $12.99 a month.
- Starts at $25.00 a month
- Sling TV is really similar to cable television, but not as expensive so it’s a good compromise for those who aren’t wanting to get rid of cable all together but would like something more cost effective. You can still get most of your favorite channels depending on if you get the Sling Orange, Sling Blue, or bundle them together.
- Starts at $35.00 a month
- AT&T TV now, formally known as DirecTV Now, is the household name you know and has entered the streaming market with their four-tier viewing plan. You can choose from four various packages, each of which build on top of each other from a basic viewing package to the ultimate channel lineup.
- Flat rate of $40.00 a month
- Get all of your favorite channels plus premium add-on channels! You also have access to a cloud-based DVR that provides unlimited storage for recording your favorite shows.
Streaming TV is still a relatively new concept but shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Although it’s still seemingly in the infant stage, major players are already making major moves into the streaming market. Because some streaming services like Netflix or Hulu are affordable, you can keep your traditional satellite or TV services while still enjoying the great content streaming platforms have to offer. Or if you’re looking to eliminate your current television service and go “cordless” then make sure you are setup correctly by having the proper equipment and most importantly — the high-speed internet needed to make it happen.