Cutting the Cable: Streaming Your Media

It’s no secret that television is rapidly on it’s way out. With the shuttering of analog systems and the rapid erosion of cable TV networks and solutions sweeping the nations and most of the world, it’s a given that consumers are cutting the wire and switching over to streaming solutions which honestly provide way more bang for your buck with unparalleled convenience. Though it can be an easy switch to make if you have not done so, take a look at three rather important factors to consider before making the shift.

Speed

When switching to cable, one thing you cannot skimp on is the speed at which you send and receive data via your ISP. Though many casual users will assume broadband or fiber-based internet will suffice at any level of price and speed, this is not going to be the case. Though the rock-bottom pricing most ISPs offer for entry level connectivity plans is attractive, you’ll be stuck with a speed that suffices for everyday usage of the internet but definitely not HD streaming.

Image: Speedtest.net

Image: Speedtest.net

Though most streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu recommend a minimum download speed for 5MB, this is really not enough to support a consistent uninterrupted stream and will result in bouts of frustration with constant buffering. A minimum 10Mbps is ideal for streaming on a regular basis. As nearly every service and application streams exclusively in HD, going for the recommended minimum speed is a risky venture and it is best to purchase the ideal speed package for your streaming activities. Not only will this make your media-viewing experience much more enjoyable, any item or application that uses this speedy connection will benefit.

Devices

When picking a device for your in-home streaming, there are two things to consider: how will I be viewing this media and what applications you prefer to use. For the former, take a quick look at you typically watch your TV. Are you usually in the living room on a chair or sofa? Is your home office typically doubling as your media station? Are you partial to holding a device close to you or sitting at a reasonable distance from a larger screen? Weigh out all of your options and try to pinpoint what is the most ideal for your comfort.

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Image: IBNlive

For the viewer that does not wish to be locked into one room or locations, any media-centric tablet will do the job, preferably with a 10” screen to receive the full benefit of a full HD picture. An alternative to this would be Samsung’s upcoming View tablet. The 18” behemoth is more of a television replacement than a tablet, sacrificing mobility (outside of the home) to provide a much bigger canvas to manage and enjoy your media. A tablet such as this is heralding the arrival of even more devices aimed at not just supplementing your television, but replacing it all together for something far more intuitive. If and when cable is phased out, SMART TV’s will clearly go with it.

Services

It is nearly impossible now to go over each and every service that brings media digitally into your home, as the industry has exploded along with mobile technology becoming ubiquitous in our everyday lives. In order to pinpoint which services you wish to subscribe to, try to find which ones cater to your tastes specifically and will offer the best selections.

Image: YouTube

Image: YouTube

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Netflix, the biggest player in the game now, is still considered the go-to application. For $9/mo, users will have access to movies, TV shows (along with a handful of critically-acclaimed original programming, just like a TV network) and documentaries with new content added each Friday. The TV network streaming giant Hulu offers a more TV-centric focus for $8/mo, offering shows from bigger networks such as Fox, ABC and NBC with both old and brand new content. For the serious movie buff, Amazon Instant Video offers the absolute best selection around, offering both rentals and purchases of the 150,000+ strong library. Prices vary and can be high, but you can’t find a better deal anywhere else.

About the Author

Ron Morris
Ron Morris
Columnist @PajamaGamerCT

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