A lot of my customers are moving from cable TV subscriptions to Internet streaming. Services such as Netflix offer a wide variety of programming and for a lot less per month.
Not all TVs are capable of streaming Internet TV though, so what are your options and how do you start streaming from the Internet.
Modern TVs are often called “Smart TVs”. They’re considered “Smart” as they have the necessary technology built in to connect to the internet and start streaming. Samsung, LG, Sony, and others now come ready to stream which makes getting online easier.
There are pros and cons to this approach though. Firstly, although you’re seemingly getting this additional technology for free, the TV manufacturers may be selling your data. Because the TV is Internet connected, it’s able to report back on which programs/channels you’re watching. This information is then sold on to advertisers.
Most TV manufacturers will release occasional updates to the TV which improve the service and add new features. These are called “Firmware” updates and are often installed automatically for you, so you don’t have to worry about it. However, as technology advances, these updates reach the limit of what the TV is capable of. For example, some older TVs are no longer able to stream Netflix. This was because Netflix updated the security of their service and older TVs were no longer able to keep up.
Don’t get me wrong – Smart TVs are often a great choice for most people. The simplicity of setup and the fact that you don’t have to buy any other devices make it a quick and easy way to get streaming.
But what if your TV isn’t smart or what if the channel you want to watch isn’t supported by your TV? That’s where a streaming box comes in – and there are several options.
There’s a growing choice of streaming services and new ones are being announced all the time. Disney +, Apple TV+, Acorn TV, BritBox, Amazon Prime, Netflix – the list goes on! But TVs often don’t support all of the different services.
A streaming box is a device that is dedicated to providing streaming TV channels. Because they focus on this, they’re often faster and more advanced. There are 4 main manufacturers – Google, Amazon, Roku and Apple.
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a streaming box either, for example, you can buy a Roku from $39!
Before buying a device, you should check what sockets your TV has. If it’s a recent TV, chances are it’ll have at least one HDMI port. Most devices connect via HDMI now. It’s a high-quality connection that provides a high definition signal and also audio over the same cable.
You should also check that the channels you want to watch are supported by the device. You may need to add the channel when you set the box up. Devices like Roku and the Apple TV have app-stores like you’ve probably seen on your phone or tablet. These app stores make it easy to add new services to your streaming box.
At the higher end, the Apple TV is a powerful streaming box that also supports gaming. It’s connected to Apples new “Arcade” services, where a monthly subscription gets you access to a range of new and exciting games that you can also play on the iPhone/iPad.
If you haven’t already joined the streaming revolution – it’s time to take a look. There are great savings to be had and the choice of films/programs to watch is huge! There’s a lot of growing competition from the likes of Disney and Apple, so now’s a great time to catch the wave!