The Ultimate Guide to Streaming Online
- What Is Streaming and How Does It Work?
- How To Watch Movies via Online Streaming
- Which Movie TV Streaming Service Should I Get?
Welcome to the age of Streaming. Chances are, if you haven’t been living under a rock, you have in one way or another streamed either a TV Show, Movie or your favourite Tune on one of the nifty digital devices that you own. In today’s article, we bring you the Ultimate Guide to Streaming. We will be covering everything you need to know about it, from which streaming service you should get all the way to which broadband provider will offer you the best streaming experience for all your entertainment needs. Without further ado, let’s get stuck into it.
What Is Streaming and How Does It Work?
You probably are already aware of what streaming is, but let’s have a brief look into the definition of streaming and how it works. Streaming, by definition, is content that is sent in a compressed form over the Internet and displayed viewers in real time. When streaming video or any types of media, you do not have to wait for hours to download a file in order to play it. Instead, media is sent in a continuous stream of data straight to your computer and is played in real time, as it arrives. Unlike progressive downloads, you don’t have to worry about your computer or device getting clogged up with downloaded data, as with streaming, data is automatically deleted once you are done watching a film or listening to a song. This is one of the great advantages and most appealing aspects of streaming in today’s modern world. Other forms of highly popular streaming include Live Streaming, which is specifically used for internet content delivered in real time as it happens. Live streaming is very popular with live television shows and special one-time events - think for example, of UFC fights or many other sporting extravaganzas.
How To Watch Movies via Online Streaming
First of all, in order to immerse yourself in the glorious world of online streaming, you are going to need a streaming compatible device. Chances are, you already own one! Most people these days have purchased Smart TVs (Samsung/Apple TV/Roku), making it a piece of cake to stream videos whilst you laze on the couch after a hard day of work. Don’t own a television? Fret not. Other possibilities when it comes to enjoying your favourite movies online are Tablets (iPad/Samsung Galaxy Note), Laptops, Desktop Computers and Gaming Consoles such as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
Last but not least, should you not own any of the mentioned devices, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to stream content if you own a smartphone. The screen may be a little smaller than what you would ideally prefer, but you will still be able to stream nonetheless. Most of these devices mentioned above come with applications such as Netflix and Stan already installed into the system, making it even easier for you to access your favourite shows and music with just one touch.
Next up, you’ll need to ensure that you have access to an internet connection. Whether this is a WiFi connection at home or a 4G plan with your phone service provider is entirely up to you. It is always advised that you do some research into your broadband or mobile data plans, in order to ensure that you have sufficient data and that streaming movies or music will not send you over your monthly limit, thus incurring extra fees. We will touch on this a little more throughout the rest of this article.
Last but not least, to stream, you will need to be signed up to a streaming service. Whether that is Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Play, Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora, you will need a subscription in order to access your favourite shows and music. Let’s have a closer look into that in the next chapter.
Which Movie TV Streaming Service Should I Get?
First up, let’s hone into Movies. Movies are, by far, one of the most streamed forms of media online. When it comes to streaming movies, there are a few main contenders in the game. Which one is best for you? Well, that is highly dependant on your needs, preferences and taste in shows. Below is a summary/comparison of the three most popular Movie Streaming services available to us in Australia at this current moment.
Once just a company that used to provide DVDs by mail, Netflix is now a household name. From your Smart TV to your Tablet, PC, Laptop or even Smart Phone, Netflix is accessible on multiple devices. For those who want to test the waters before making any commitments, Netflix offers a trial period of 30 days free streaming, enough for you to suss out if their range of entertainment is to your liking.
A Basic Netflix subscription costs $8.00 per month, whilst a Standard subscription and a Premium subscription will cost you $11.99 and $14.99 a month, respectively. Netflix houses a library of up to 1200 titles, with 200 or so of those being TV shows as an added bonus. The entire library hours available exceed the 5000 hour mark, ensuring that there is always something for you to tune into. Netflix also racks up a reasonable 3+ star review on Product Review, with the main frustration being the unavailability of some US Netflix shows on the Australian platform.
2. Foxtel Play
Foxtel Play, a subsidiary of Foxtel, is a service that streams Sport, Film and TV shows, along with linear play TV channels. A portable version of an actual IQ box Foxtel subscription, Foxtel play can be streamed on devices such as the Xbox, PC, Tablet, Mobile and on Smart TVs, ensuring that you will be able to watch all your favourite shows wherever you go. This is great for people who want a Foxtel connection but do not have a TV at home, or simply do not have the time to watch TV.
Foxtel Play costs are tiered by genre and may range anywhere between $30-$55, depending on the number of channels you subscribe to. Like other streaming services, there is a trial period available for all to test the service out, but this only lasts for 2 weeks. There are about 3000 library hours that clock in on Foxtel Play - certainly more than enough to keep everyone entertained. On the downside, Foxtel Play does not rank the best on Product Review, with many complaining about subpar streaming and sound quality, errors in the app itself that make it lag, and difficulty navigating through the application. One of the perks, however, is that you can sign up to sports channels and watch the Footy or EPL live - features that other streaming services are yet to currently offer.
Last but not least, we have Stan. Stan is available on most devices - from your Smart TV, Apple TV and PC, all the way to your Mobile Phones and Tablets - similar to Netflix and Foxtel Play. Stan will set you back a reasonable $10 per month, with no lock in contracts involved. Just like Netflix, you will get a 30 day free trial, so you can really see if the shows offered are to your taste, well before actually committing any money to it.
Titles on Stan add up to 1250, with 7000 odd hours of entertainment available, all in HD. Shows such as Twin Peaks, iZombie and I’m Dying Up Here are also exclusive to Stan. Rated slightly lower than netflix on Product Review, Stan comes in at 2 stars with one of the main complaints being that the application tends to freeze, or is often offline at times.
Which Music Streaming Service Should I Get?
Next up, let’s look into music streaming. Gone are the days where you had to sit down and wait for hours for file transfers or for your favourite album to download into your MP3 player. Music is something that is available instantly these days, with the number of streaming services available at our fingertips. Let’s look into which music streaming service may be the best for you.
You’ve probably heard of Spotify - the online music giant. In fact, they were the very first to offer a completely free service via their ad-supported option, and this ended up being what hooked so many people onto online music streaming to begin with. Since it's launch Spotify has added heaps of new features to improve user experience, such as being able to download music for offline listening. This is ideal for those who don’t want to constantly be using their mobile data to stream their favourite music on their commute to and from work everyday.
Spotify also has an auto-generated 'Discover Weekly' playlists what is a great way of finding and exploring new music. Spotify might not have the best music quality or the special exclusives that some of other big music streaming services offer, but Spotify does indeed offer one of the most polished streaming services out there, which is probably why they are so incredibly popular with people all around the world.
Price wise, you can choose to listen for free, or sign up to a Spotify Premium account which will cost you $11.99 a month. There are also family and student pricing options. If you're a student you can get access to a 50% discount, and Spotify has also recently introduced a family option, allowing up to six users to enjoy the benefits of Premium for just $17.99 a month!
2. Apple Music
The next online music giant is of course, Apple Music. Apple Music is home to huge amounts of music, with an extensive library and some really great features. The Radio feature gives you access to Apple's live Beats 1 radio as well as other curated stations. Connect is Apple Music's social feature for "connecting" with artists and curators; and My Music gives you access to your library.
How Much Data Does Streaming Use?
Which Broadband Provider Is Best For Streaming?
Belong is a fantastic broadband provider that offers users with unlimited data plans at on a Tier 1 connection, for just between $45 - $70 a month, depending on whether you are signed up to a lock-in contract or a month-to-month subscriptions. If a Tier 1 speed connection doesn’t satisfy you, you have the option upgrading your Belong Broadband plans to Tier 2 or Tier 5 speeds for an additional $10 or $30 respectively.
All of MATE Communicate’s plans come with unlimited data - ideal for those who love streaming. All their unlimited plans are also available to people at differing price points, For just $59 a month, you can purchase unlimited data with Mate at a the industry average Tier 1 speeds of12Mbps. Upgrades to your speed are also available with added costs - 25Mbps for $69, 50Mbps for $89 and 100Mbps for $99. Furthermore, Mate’s plans are lock in contract free and do not cost you any activation fees, so that you can keep your expenses to a minimal
TPG offers users with three of their unlimited plans (NBN Fibre Basic Liimitless, NBN Fibre Boost Liimitless and NBN Fixed Wireless Boost Liimitless) that will cost you $59.99, $69.99 and $79.99 per month respectively. In terms of unlimited broadband that can be shared between housemates and families, these plans are highly affordable for what you get out of them. Additionally, TPG offers Boost and Superfast plans that are ideal for streaming movies and TV shows. All plans, Standard, Boost or Superfast, are are available with no lock-in contracts, or as part of an 18 month deal.
We hope that his handy guide to streaming has answered all the questions you may have had. Have any enquiries? Don’t hesitate to contact us today.