It’s time for us to look at streaming services. Sometimes the shows you can get over the air with an antenna are not enough. Maybe you want to watch live sports or a show that everyone is talking about, and it’s not available over the air. You can stream those shows over the internet. We have previously looked at DVRs and other streaming devices. Those will allow you to install and run the apps necessary to stream video.
Before we talk about the services, we should define what streaming video is. It’s just a way to get video from point A to B. The video is sent over the internet as a stream of continuous data and played as it is received. This is in contrast to downloading a complete file and then playing that file. This way, when you select a video it will play instantly instead of having to wait for the entire file to download.
There are several advantages to having an Amazon Prime membership. When you buy something from amazon.com you can get free 1 or 2-day shipping. There is more to Prime than just shipping. Amazon Prime also includes streaming video. They have a huge library of movies and television shows included for free. There are also many original series that are only available on Amazon Prime Video. Also free. It is worth noting that not everything available on Amazon is included for free. They also have movies, including new releases, along with television series for rent or sale.
Hulu will give you access to most television shows the day after they air. They also have their own original series. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those series. It is also the first series that is only available for streaming to win an Emmy. If you want to watch TV as it airs, they also have a live TV service, which includes sports channels among others.
Netflix was originally a service that sent DVD or Blu-Ray discs in the mail. They still do that, but their main service now is streaming video. They let you create up to five profiles so you can have a personalized experience for everyone in the house. Their selection is huge, but it changes frequently. They also have many Emmy-nominated original series included.
PlayStation Vue is a live TV streaming service. It’s the most friendly for homes with multiple televisions as it allows multiple shows to be streamed at the same time. Basically, as long as you are at home, they will not limit your streams. Most other services limit you to two or three concurrent streams. They provide DVR functionality and will save your favorite shows for 30 days. It is probably the closest you can get to cable service.
Sling TV is another live TV streaming service that bills itself as à la carte TV. They offer a blue or orange base plan and then allow you to add services on top of those. If Viacom channels, such as MTV or Nickelodeon, are must-haves for you, this is your only option at the moment. If you are looking for international channels, they offer many foreign language plans. If you want DVR functionality, for an additional fee they also allow you to record up to 50 hours of your favorite shows with their Cloud TV service.
Directv Now is AT&T’s offering for streaming live TV. They are the only cable company to offer a streaming-only option. As of this writing, they do not offer DVR functionality.
If any of these sound interesting to you, the best thing is to look at their site and look at the channel lineup for your area. Do they carry the channels you want? What is the price of the options you want? If you can get the channels you want for a price you’re okay with, then it might be time to try it out. Most offer a free trial period, so it won’t hurt to try and see what you think.