Are you new to streaming? Many terms that you may run across in exploring this new landscape may be confusing. We at the Streaming Advisor would like to help people understand this new form of media consumption better and have prepared these frequently asked questions to better equip you with the knowledge to make educated decisions about streaming services and hardware. Feel free to leave questions in our comments section.
Ryan Downey, The Streaming Advisor
What is video streaming?
Streaming is the act of watching video content such as TV Shows and movies online.
Do I have to use a computer to stream?
You have to have a device that connects to the Internet but it doesn’t have to be a computer. You can use any number of devices from streaming boxes like the Roku and Apple TV, game consoles like the Nintendo Wii, Sony Play Station 3 and Microsoft X-Box or any smart phone or tablet.
What is the easiest way to access streaming on a TV?
The most traditional way to watch TV shows and movies is on a TV. The easiest and least expensive options for online TV viewing are set top boxes. The two most popular ones are Apple TV and Roku. The Apple TV is $100.00 and the Roku has four models starting at $45.00.
Can I watch sports online?
Yes. Pro Sports leagues including the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS have wonderful online subscription services that will allow you to watch hundreds of games a year. There are also college conferences who have online services. There are also online services for NASSCAR and other sports leagues.
What services can I use to watch movies online?
There are numerous monthly services Including Netflix , Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant Video. Movies and television shows can be purchased al-a-carte through services such as VUDU, Target Ticket and The Apple iTunes store
Isn’t iTunes just music?
No. Apples iTunes store sells music, television shows individual show and by the season as well as new releases of the latest films in an on demand pay per view manner. The iTunes video format is available via Apple products such as Apple TV, the iPad, Apple computers, the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
What is a streaming App?
A streaming app is a program available on a streaming product such as a set top box, tablet, or smart phone that allows the user access to internet video based services such as Netflix.
What is Netflix?
Netflix is the industry leader in streaming content. The service has thousands of movies and a catalog that grows weekly. It is also the home to thousands of television shows from a range of last season to decades ago. You can watch last seasons big hits and follow it up with the Dick Van Dyke Show or The Twilight Zone.
What is Hulu?
Hulu is a joint venture between ABC, Fox and Comcast (owner of NBC) The service offers next day episodes from many networks including the the named partner stations as well as numerous cable stations. Its pay service Hulu plus offers full seasons of many shows both current and off the air. Hulu Plus also has a large selection of movies.
Amazon Instant Video?
Amazon Instant Video features full past seasons of many television shows including its own original series and a large selection of movies. The service is offered as part of the Amazon Prime service that includes two day shipping, and access to the Kindle lending library for $79.00 a year.
Can I watch current shows online?
Yes. Services like Hulu offer current shows online for free via a computer. Mobile device users as well as set top device users must use Hulu’s pay service Hulu Plus which costs 7.99 per month. TV shows can also be purchased by the episode via Amazon Instant Video, VUDU, The Google Play store and other services including Itunes (only available via Apple TV and other Apple products).
Can I watch movies that are still in the theaters?
No. There are numerous services that can stream movies that are available on DVD or Blue Ray but the only place to legally view movies at the theater is at the movie theater.
What is a Roku?
Roku is a small coaster sized set top box that is attached to a TV. In order to to access the Internet the Roku must have access either via a wireless router or be plugged in to a router. The Roku has an easy to use channel store so that you can find all the content you are looking for.
What is Apple TV?
Apple TV is a set top box designed by Apple that accesses the most popular online services as well as the Itunes store for digital delivery of current TV shows, new movie releases as well as music. The Apple TV integrates easily with Apple mobile devices and newer laptops to add control features as well as the ability to view content from Apple devices on the TV screen. This includes files from the computer as well as anything that can be viewed online.
What are Smart TV’s
Smart TV’s are HD televisions that are built to connect to the Internet in order to provide enhanced entertainment options from online sources like Netflix. Hulu Plus and others.
What is Screen Mirroring?
Screen Mirroring is using various types of equipment to see content from a computer or mobile device on your TV screen. This is helpful when viewing online video content or even watching a modern day slide show using your own pictures.