How we watch television and movies is drastically changing. More people are using online solutions for their entertainment needs. The first reason for this shift is cost. Watching television shows and feature films over the Internet is a much cheaper option for subscribers. The second reason to switch is convenience. It’s so simple to choose the content you like from the comfort of your retirement home, why would we continue to go out and ‘rent’ something?
The idea behind watching television and film over the Internet involves a concept referred to as ‘steaming video’. Streaming video works by using the Internet to play a video on demand, similar to how YouTube works. The most popular steaming video providers in North American are Netflix and Hulu. Hulu is free, but only works in the United States. Netflix works in both the US and Canada for a low monthly fee of under $10.
Netflix and Hulu work in a similar way. They both contain a collection of titles, which include television shows, feature films, documentaries, and even concerts and lectures. Subscribers are able to select the content they want to watch, and when they want to watch it. Regardless of the amount of TV and movies you watch, your subscription always costs the same, so you can enjoy unlimited content.
However, it’s important to recognize that the selection of titles available does not include television shows currently running on regular television, like reality shows (Survivor or The Amazing Race), talk shows (Jay Leno, David Letterman), or new DVD film releases. The content available is a little older, likely a couple years old or more. They are constantly adding to the selections available, but it does have its limitations.
The key to this concept is that the video is played over the Internet. The device displaying the video must support an Internet connection. Many new DVD players, Blu Ray players, and televisions are built to support either wired or Wi-Fi Internet. Times are changing.
There is one important point to consider when streaming video. Good quality streaming video requires more Internet bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of Internet usage you subscribe to monthly. If you subscribe to 25GB of Internet bandwidth monthly, you are eligible to download 25GB worth of content from the Internet, regardless of what the content it. Streaming video is one of the biggest uses for bandwidth. To completely replace your television/movie rentals with streaming video, you would need more than 25GB of bandwidth each month. However, this all depends on how much you typically watch. Everyone is different.
A helpful feature Netflix offers is ‘suggestions’. As each subscriber uses Netflix, a record of what they watch is kept. With this information, Netflix makes recommendations to each subscriber, specifically designed for them. Some of the best movies I’ve watched this past month were referred to me by a computer program. Technology is incredibly helpful!