A couple of weeks ago we canceled our cable TV service after our fourth cable box in as many years malfunctioned… again. We decided to give streaming video a try. This is how to watch TV and movies in the 21st century without the constraints of cable or satellite TV—as long as you do not need to watch TV shows on their broadcast dates.
Several tech companies bet that there is an unfulfilled market for streaming TV and movies and gaming. And that the market will grow.
Decades ago many households started to record their favorite TV shows and not watch them live. They used video cassette recorders (VCRs) and Sony BetaMax machines. Many later upgraded to CD/DVD, and then to digital video recorders (DVRs).
Today there is no need to record videos. Streaming video technology and “cloud” storage allow nearly instant access to tens of thousands of videos. A subscription service keeps track of the videos you watch, as well as your wish list. All you need is a High Definition (HD) TV and an Internet connection. If you have a “smart TV” with a built-in Internet connection, you can use a USB stick, a game player (e.g., Microsoft XBox, Sony PlayStation or Nintendo) or a small “box” device. If you lack a smart TV, game player or box will do.
A remote control, smartphone or tablet lets you choose what to watch. Some services even allow voice commands—in direct competition with “on demand” cable services. Streaming video services charge a nominal subscription fee and/or “pay per view” fee, the total cost is more affordable than cable or satellite TV.
Amazon, Roku, Google and Apple all offer small streaming video connection devices (USB sticks or small boxes) and streaming content libraries. Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku’s Streaming Stick are the latest market offerings.
Read CNET’s take on how these four device/service combinations compare.