What is Streaming TV? How does it Works

If you think back two decades back, DVDs and video stores were the only deal-breakers for broadcast TV. However, in recent years, streaming services have overtaken the old ways of watching TV programs. The internet has changed how we watch TV episodes, making it easier to access entertainment options from anywhere. If you’re curious about TV streaming, we’ll explain what it is and how it works.

Streaming TV Guide

What Is Streaming TV?

TV streaming involves utilizing the internet to access video entertainment on demand. The streaming service stores the files for the show, so you don’t have to download them to your device. Streaming TV almost resembles the traditional way we watch TV, and however, it allows us to use the internet to watch shows, movies, sports, or news channels across many devices.

In simpler terms, streaming TV is TV that you can watch on the internet either in real-time or at your convenience without watching them with an antenna, cable, or satellite services.

Most devices that can connect to the internet can take advantage of streaming TV, including smart TV sets, smartphones, computers, and tablets.

You can connect to a streaming service through your smart TV’s interface, directly from streaming sites, with apps, or through streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.

Why Should People Switch from Cable to Streaming TV?

Streaming TV has been around for years. Switching from cable TV to streaming services was once more of a cost-cutting rarity. However, it’s become more mainstream now. There are many people who started to watch streaming TV during the pandemic instead of traditional TV to add to their entertainment options while social distancing.

If you’re thinking of switching from cable to streaming TV, here are several reasons you might take the plunge:

  • It costs less: You can find some streaming services that cost less than $10 a month, compared to cable or satellite prices.
  • Some shows are only available from streaming services: Many popular shows like Netflix Originals and Apple TV programs are only available if you subscribe to their service online.
  • You can sometimes catch first-run movies: With fewer people going to the theater in-person during the pandemic, you may be able to watch some first-run movies with services like HBOMax.
  • You can binge-watch what you want to binge-watch: You can watch all the TV episodes of a tv show from start to finish at your own pace, never missing an episode.
  • You can watch from anywhere: Wherever you are, you can watch your favorite movies and TV shows any time of the day, as long as you have internet access.

How Does Streaming TV Work?

For you to be able to use streaming TV, you should have to have a reliable internet connection with enough speed. For a non-delayed streaming video experience, your internet connection should be at least 2 Mbp.

However, if you prefer to watch content in HD or 4K, you need a connection at least 5 Mbps to ensure you have sufficient bandwidth.

Here’s the process that happens for you to be able to experience streaming TV:

Step 1) Server and Cloud Storage
Streaming companies store content data on servers or cloud platforms.

Step 2) Content Delivery Networks
Larger companies (like Netflix) use content delivery networks. These networks cache the most famous content close to where you stream it to eliminate lag time and reduce bandwidth costs.

Step 3) Data Packets
Streaming companies break down content into smaller data packets to send to your device. When your device receives enough packets of information, it can play the content.

Streaming uses either Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP) to move data packets across different networks. However, TCP provides a more reliable and secure connection link than UDP.

Step 4) Buffering
Your device can store some of the upcoming data packets of your content into its buffer. If your internet connection is too slow or stops, your device can only playback as much as has been stored in its buffer.

How to Start Streaming?

Are you tired of slow TV signals and ready to join the fantastic world of streaming but do not have an idea of where to start? Today’s technology has made it easier to stream TV to our devices than ever. We have composed an ultimate step-by-step guide on how to stream TV in the comfort of your home.

Step 1) Select a Streaming Device
The streaming device is what allows you to connect to the internet and stream programs. Options include:

  • A Smart TV
  • A non-Smart TV with a streaming device added (like Amazon FireTV, Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast)
  • A computer
  • A tablet
  • A smartphone
  • A video gaming console

Step 2) Set Up Streaming Device

Your streaming device will need to be able to connect to the internet over WiFi or Ethernet. However, If wants to add the streaming device to your TV, it will include instructions that tell you exactly how to connect it to your TV. You will also need to use the remote to change the input to match the device you’re using for streaming. Then, you need to follow the onscreen instructions to complete the setup.

Step 3) Select the Most Appropriate Streaming Service

A streaming service provides you with the channels and programs you want to watch. Use your computer, tablet, or smartphone to create an account with your most preferred service provider. You can usually do this from the service’s website or by downloading an app from the app store.

Then, log in to the service using the device you wish to use to stream the service. You can use multiple devices to view the same streaming service.

If you are using a TV to connect to your streaming service, apps for popular services are probably available on the homepage. However, you may require downloading an app if you want to use a service that is not already preloaded.

Some popular streaming services include:

However, if it’s your first time availing of the service, you need to fill in your details and choose the most fitting subscription that fits your budget and content preference.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs come with various options, including voice control and varying visual interfaces, to make stream the programs you want to watch. It’s also helpful to notice the TV picture quality and remote-control design when deciding which one to buy.

Most people prefer streaming through a Smart TV because the interface makes it easy to stream TV with very little effort or know-how. They come customized with a user-friendly search system, interface, and access to many streaming services. The only negative of this method is that it may be impossible to add streaming apps for services that aren’t already preloaded into the TV.

Some of the most preferred smart TVs for streaming include:

  • Sony Z950G
  • TCL 4K TV
  • Insignia 4 TV
  • Samsung 4kTV

These TVs have incredible HD pictures and come pre-installed with streaming apps like Disney, Amazon Prime, HBOMax, Hulu, and Netflix.

Types of Streaming

Let’s dive deeper together to understand different video streaming options.

Live Streaming

Live TV streaming services involve being able to watch live content happening in real-time. There should be very little or no time between when the live content is released and when you can watch live streaming TV. However, in many cases, you can choose to start earlier than the current moment of the broadcast.

On-Demand Streaming

On-demand streaming involves having instant access to videos from online libraries. It’s become one of the most preferred ways to watch video content. On-demand video streaming allows viewers to decide how, where, and when to view media content.

Free Streaming

Whether you want free news, videos, or shows with free streaming, you are not required to pay a single cent for a subscription. Several free services exist.

However, they don’t usually include many viewing options compared to paid subscriptions. You may also have to watch several ads to watch along the way.

Important Streaming Devices

Having key devices is important to achieve a full entertainment experience if your smart TV doesn’t have every app you would love to stream. However, at times understanding the most critical devices can be tricky with many streaming options.

Some popular streaming devices include:

  • Apple TV: has preeminent Dolby ATMOS and vision, a snappy experience, and a better-quality remote control.
  • TV Roku: This streaming stick with 4k+ is an affordable streaming device with all streaming features, a simple user interface, and numerous free shows and movies.
  • Amazon Fire TV: If you are not a fan of TV Roku, an Amazon Fire TV stick 4K Max may fit you better. It is incredibly affordable with an excellent processor and WiFi capability. The latest version comes with a compatible new remote.
  • Xbox One: Xbox One is ideal for cloud gaming and has an HDMI input. Moreover, you don’t have to change media inputs since media consumption happens through one box.

How to Select a TV Streaming App?

It is difficult to decide for selecting a streaming app. For that, you should do some research to determine the most appropriate service available for your streaming needs. Most services have free trials you can use to decide which is best for you.

Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular services:

Netflix: Netflix has popular movies TV shows of all genres, and they also have exclusive shows you can only find on Netflix.

Netflix

HBO Max: HBO Max has popular movies and TV shows of all genres. They also have shown from the HBO television station, which are traditionally for more mature audiences.

HBO Max

Hulu: Hulu has popular movies and TV shows of all genres and news. They also feature some live sports and popular network television shows, available the day they show on TV. You can add on bundles with exclusive streaming channels or services.

Hulu

Disney+: Includes TV shows and movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. You can watch verities of sports, movies, drama, series on this platform.

Disney

Prime Video: If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you may already have free access to Prime Video. They have popular movies and TV shows of all genres available, including Prime exclusives. You can rent movies and shows not available from your subscription.

Prime Video

FAQ

❓ What is buffering?

Buffering is a process that occurs when data is being transferred between two devices or systems. It helps to prevent errors from occurring and ensures that the data is correctly received and processed. It also helps speed up data transmission by reducing the amount of time it takes for the data to reach its destination.

⚡ What factors slow down streaming?

Some factors that slow down streaming include:

  • Using an outdated or damaged modem or router
  • Technical problems with your internet service provider
  • Slow internet connection speed
  • Does not have sufficient bandwidth for the number of devices more connected to the internet
  • Spyware and viruses
  • Low computer memory or hard disk space
  • Multiple Number of programs running at the same time on your device

💻 What is a la carte TV?

A la carte TV is a streaming service that allows you to watch TV shows and movies without subscribing to a cable or satellite TV package. This is an excellent option for those who want to cut down on their monthly expenses or want to watch their favorite shows and movies without commercials.

A la carte TV services are available through the internet and through some TV providers. Once you have selected the channels and shows you want to watch, you can watch them without signing up for a contract or dealing with a set monthly fee. You can also watch shows and movies anytime, anywhere, on any device.

🚀 What is the difference between watching TV and streaming?

The main difference between streaming and watching TV is the content transmission technology. Streaming depends on the internet, while watching regular TV depends on an antenna, cable networks, or satellite service. Streaming also allows you to watch what you want when you want.

🏅 What is the difference between cable TV and streaming TV?

Cable TV comes to your television from cable networks through a cable and involves a pre-set schedule of programs for every channel. Meanwhile, streaming TV comes to you through the internet and allows you to choose precisely what to watch rather than only what is currently on the air.

❗ What is the exact technological difference between broadcasting and streaming?

Broadcasting refers to television show data that a network sends through TV signals that you can pick up with an antenna, cable, or satellite dish. It also requires all its viewers to watch the same video simultaneously. Thus, the broadcaster has complete control over what the viewers watch.

Streaming video services send different shows to different viewers through the internet simultaneously. Thus, each viewer is in complete control over what they watch.