There is a lot of buzz today about streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, but a lot of people don’t understand what video streaming is, and how it can enhance their lifestyles today. When you think of home entertainment, most of us think about our cable television subscription, or maybe our vast DVD collection. Some of us have dabbled in the Netflix DVD mailing service, or visit that Red Box kiosk that may be located at gas stations or stores. But the trend is moving toward streaming media taking a large segment of the home entertainment market as DVDs will slowly go by the wayside. It’s not likely that cable television will also become extinct in the near future, but it will certainly make things interesting for consumers as these different entertainment medium vie for our dollar.
In order for us to embrace a new technology, it’s important that we understand what it is first, at least on a basic level. In a nutshell, it is a series of images in motion, just like a filmstrip. However, rather than imprinted on film, these images are captured digitally, and saved in a compressed file format.
There are two ways to access these digital files, through streaming or download. One is through a streaming service, like Netflix or Hulu. Through a subscription, you can select various movies or television shows on-demand. They are streamed to you immediately via a streaming server. Once you view the streamed content, it is no longer available to you unless you request it again. When you download the compressed file, such as through a purchase, you are able to access and view the media once it has downloaded to your computer.
When you think about it, either streaming or download is quite cost-effective for a lot of reasons. Businesses don’t have to use items like DVDs which need to be burned, packaged, and shipped. They can then pass along these cost-savings to consumers, who can access more content for less money. Finally, it’s great for the environment; far less waste and resources required to get the media from the business to the end user.
Another segment of this technology is live streaming, which means you don’t have to wait until a compressed file is downloaded. The stream begins immediately – all you have to do is find one of the multiple sites that generally make it available. If you have at the minimum a 1.5 Mbps internet connection, you should be able to enjoy live streaming as well as compressed file streaming. Certain events are made available on live broadcasts, like the recent royal wedding, the swearing in of a president, or coverage on the death of a famous person.
These on-demand streaming technologies enable you to consume pretty much anything these days with the touch of a button. You will require the right at-home setup to enjoy the technology. If you wish to view content on your computer, you will require a media player. You most likely already have one installed, or you can download reputable software online, like RealPlayer or Microsoft Windows Media.
As you can see, the possibilities are multiplied as you consider adding this technology into your home entertainment mix.