Do you stream? You may or may not be familiar with streaming and whether you stream. This article will touch on streaming basics, differences between streaming services and devices and tips for the best streaming.
What is Streaming?
Streaming is playing video or audio files on your TV, computer, or mobile device over the Internet. This includes watching movies and TV shows through Netflix, listening to your favorite radio station online, watching videos from the website “You Tube” and even watching videos posted on your Facebook News Feed. With streaming, you are not “storing” the content on your device; you are just using it as it plays — much like broadcast TV or radio. Rather, streaming is “playing” content that has been posted or linked to the Internet.
Streaming requires a “service” — or whoever is providing the content you are streaming. It could be a subscription company like Netflix or Hulu that compile content for you to browse and stream or proprietors like a radio station that just puts their broadcast onto the Internet to be enjoyed by listeners outside their broadcasting range. Some content is free and some content requires a subscription and monthly fee. Content that is free will often have advertising. You are not limited in which service(s) you can use.
Streaming always involves a device — something to bring the content over the Internet connection so you can watch or listen to it. In most cases, the content is streamed and watched or listened to with the same device — a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or smart TV. But you can also use a separate streaming device like a Roku Box or Smart BluRay player to bring the content from the Internet to your TV.
Along with the service, and the device, streaming also requires Internet. With most devices, streaming requires Wi-Fi Internet. Streaming video requires a good amount of Internet bandwidth. If you have too low bandwidth in your Internet plan OR too many other devices using your connection, you could have trouble streaming content smoothly. A single Netflix HD stream needs 6 Mbps to play.