Streaming content has become a large part of the modern entertainment consumer’s diet. Everyone wants the freedom of getting their entertainment on demand, in addition to or in place of scheduled broadcasts on cable TV networks. In many cases, streaming TV is a necessity for certain forms of content. For example, if you want to watch Game of Thrones again, you’ll need the HBO NOW app to stream it, unless you have the DVD box set.
In 2018 alone, there was a massive number of scripted original TV shows on services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others. If you aren’t streaming already, you’re missing out. Of course, the options available can seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. This TV Streaming Guide will walk you through it.
What Do I Need to Start Streaming?
If you’re new to streaming, you might be worried about spending money on equipment like Apple TV to stream content. However, the chances are good that you already have everything you need to stream at home. All you need to do is sign up for a streaming service. But more on that later. The TV Streaming Guide recommends you start with the tips below.
Tip #1: High-Speed Internet
Your internet connection supplies the lifeblood to your streaming experience. A good connection makes for better viewing experiences, while a patchy connection can often be disruptive. The speeds you need depend on the type of streaming you intend to do most. For example, you need around 3 Mbps to be able to stream SD quality content uninterrupted. If you want to stream content in HD, you will need at least 5 Mbps in download speeds. And if you intend to stream content in 4K, the bare minimum you need is a 25 Mbps connection.
Of course, other factors also come in to play that affect your viewing experience. For example, the speeds recommended above assume you’re the only user on your network. If there are multiple users in your home, such as family or roommates, you’ll have less bandwidth available. In this case, you will need to opt for a plan with higher speeds.
Tip #2: A Streaming Device
High-speed internet service is only the first step towards streaming your entertainment. The next thing you need is TV streaming devices to watch your content on. There are three common options available to most streamers.
You can opt for a streaming device like Amazon Fire TV or Roku that plugs into your TV via the HDMI port. These devices offer you access to all types of streaming services, many more than the average smart TV. You probably won’t even need a new TV. Most modern TVs, such as the ones that work with Cox TV equipment usually have a built-in HDMI port.
If you have a smart TV, you don’t need a streaming device, at it can access the internet on its own. Many already have streaming apps like Netflix pre-installed on them. Unfortunately, most smart TVs do not allow you to add any more apps, so you only have a small number of apps at your disposal. However, they are still convenient for many people to access streaming content when they can’t find anything to watch on their Cox Contour TV guide.
The third option available to you, if you are a gamer, is your gaming console. Any TV streaming guide will be incomplete without mentioning gaming consoles as an option to stream TV. Of course, the console is primarily for gaming, so if you don’t have it, you can try the Roku or Amazon Fire option instead which is much cheaper. But if you have one, you can add a number of streaming apps on it and easily access content on them using the console.
Tip #3: Streaming Device or Smart TV?
In most cases, a streaming device is a much better option than the pre-installed apps on your smart TV. For one thing, they have a more intuitive UI. They are much more interactive and allow you access to many streaming services as well as access to social TV actions like sharing your current watches and watch lists.
It is also much easier to navigate between your different streaming apps on a streaming device. It offers a better app ecosystem, and you can search for content across all your available apps. With a smart TV, you would have to search for content through each individual app, while navigating between them can also be harder.