Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed about the idea of getting into a new technology like streaming? Many people are interested in watching movies or TV shows on their PC or Mac or stream to their TV set via a gaming console, blu-ray player or media player, but they feel they don’t have the technical ability to pull it off.
If you don’t have a techie person you can turn to, why not turn to this easy checklist? The reality is that it isn’t as difficult as you think to start watching online films immediately!
What is Movie Streaming?
Before we begin a checklist, let’s define the technologies. In a nutshell, content that is streamed remains on a remote service that you access while you are actively online. In other words, whatever device you use requires the ability to be connected to the internet. The streamed video is delivered to your device, and it is played by a piece of software called a media player.
When you download video, it also requires an internet connection. However, once the content is downloaded to your device, you can view it anytime you wish without being connected to the internet.
Both technologies use up data, but a high definition stream will use considerably more data than standard definition or downloading will.
Movie Streaming Checklist
- Conduct a broadband speed test to determine whether or not your current internet connection can handle engaging in watching content over the internet.
- Compare broadband requirements with your data plan to see if it you are under the restriction of data caps. Many wireline services such as DSL, cable internet or fiber optics internet can easily handle moderate to heavy usage of online movie services. If you need to upgrade your plan, now is the time to do so before spending any further money.
- Research various online content plans available to see which one makes the most sense. Then, compare them side by side. Before you select a provider, however, you will want to see which media player setup each stream service supports, unless you simply want to watch on your PC. The bigger named services like Netflix & Hulu Plus support a large number of devices. But for rental or purchase of individual titles, you will want to select a service that is supported by whatever device you select. Proceed to step 4 before wrapping this step up.
- Determine the device that makes the most sense for your particular budget and preferences. The cheapest? Stream right to your PC or Mac. If you wish to watch movies or TV shows online on your television, your options include media players like Roku, Boxee, Logitech, or MovieNite, among others. Game console choices include Xbox, Playstation3, and Wii. There are dozens of blu-ray players that support various online content subscriptions as well.
- When you’ve made some initial selections, make sure you determine whether the specific models of the device you are leaning toward supports the subscription you’re interested in, particularly if it’s a blu-ray player or an internet-enabled television set. It’s best to check each individual content providers’ websites for specifics in devices. For instance, Netflix supports over 800 devices, but Blockbuster only a few.
- Want to stream movies to your phone or tablet? Education is key . . . data plans have not caught up yet with the technology. Use caution when you use your mobile device, and regularly monitor how much data you are using throughout the month until you develop a good understanding of what your habits and data usage tend to be.