More about Streaming TV and Movies
Do I have to watch on my phone?
You can watch most streaming services on your phone, but you don't have to. The majority of the streaming providers have numerous ways you can watch. There are apps for phones and tablets. You can typically use your notebook or desktop computer to watch by visiting their website, and most importantly - your TV
There are a few ways to watch streaming services on your television, and they are pretty simple!
Many newer TVs are called "Smart TVs". These TVs have either built-in apps or apps that you can add just like with your phone. Most Smart TVs will have some pre-installed apps on them. Typically, you tap "Apps" on your remote, select which one you want to view, log in once, and then you're ready to start browsing 1,000's of TV and movies. Once you've found what you want to watch, you click play on your remote, and in seconds you're watching your program. If you don't see the app you're looking for, browse or search the app store on your device to add additional choices - please reference your device manual/user guide for more information
For TVs that are not Smart TVs or lack the app/service that you want to use, there are a variety of "sticks" that you can plug into your TV that will give you this capability. Some examples are the Google Chromecast, the Roku, Apple TV, and the Amazon Fire Stick. The stick plugs into one of your TV's HDMI ports (like plugging in a DVD player), the stick connects to your Wi-Fi, and you then can use the apps on the stick as if they were built into your TV.
What's the down side?
As with anything, there are a few drawbacks. Some of these are:
- Live TV - The majority of the streaming providers do not offer Live TV. This means that if your show airs on Mondays, you may not get to watch it until Tuesday evening. Some of the larger providers (e.g. YouTube TV, Hulu), do have Live TV options, but they usually come at a small premium.
- Sports - If you like sports, you need to first research what each provider offers in terms of sports. Some providers have none, others will give you live/local NFL/NBA/MLB/MLS/NHL/etc games at no additional cost with their Live TV package, and some providers are specifically for sports. Odds are you can find your favorite sports/leagues, but it takes a bit of reading on the providers' websites.
- For local sports - check out Hulu with the Live TV option
- For more sports - check out Fubo TV
- No Internet / No Streaming - This is probably obvious, but the Internet is required to use these services. If your internet is down, so is your programming. You'll also need decent speed internet so that the content streams reliably from the provider to you. Most high-speed Internet services (like Milwaukee PC's) will handle the streaming fine. If you're still using dial-up internet, streaming isn't going to work for you.
- No Recording - while some of the Live TV providers offer a DVR-style option to store some broadcast recordings in the cloud for you, the vast majority of shows and movies cannot be recorded. This may seem strange at first, but since the content is on-demand, there's no reason to record - it's just there when you want to watch it. Remember, some providers offer "offline viewing" which means you can download a copy of the show prior to being offline (e.g. being on a flight).
Bingeing - What's that about?
If you've ever talked to someone who streams, you've likely heard the someone say, "oh man, I binged The Office for hours last night". If you have an old show that you can't get enough of, or are ready to finally watch that series everyone's been talking about for two years, you can typically start at season 1, episode 1 and just continually watch it. No annoying commercials, no "what happened in the last episode that aired a week ago" -- just immersive enjoyment.