Streaming is growing faster than ever. The convenience of having a world of TV at your fingertips can’t be understated.
You get streaming TV shows and movies by using either a Smart TV, where streaming is built in, or by purchasing an external streaming device and plugging it into the HDMI port of your not-smart TV. (No HDMI port on your TV? Man, is it old. No problem, just pick up a device like a Roku Express+.)
If you’re new to streaming TV, you might wonder what’s so great about it. Here’s just a few of the reasons people love smart TVs and streaming.
1. You don’t need a computer to run it.
There’s a myth you need a computer to run a smart TV. Not true. However, you do need an internet connection. But of course in most homes today, that’s very common, so getting your Smart TV, like this Samsung 4K Smart TV, or an external streaming device set up often only requires the TV itself, and in some cases a smartphone or tablet. All you’ll need to do is get that TV or the streaming device connected to the Wi-Fi network in your home by using the television’s on screen menu and remote control. In minutes you’re streaming!
2. You don’t need a cable TV plan to stream TV
If you’re trying to cut the cord on your cable TV or satellite provider, streaming gives you much more flexibility in what you want to spend on entertainment each month. No longer are you tied to a packet of channels, only a couple of which you actually want to watch.
With streaming, you can access only the streaming channels you’re most interested in, and when it comes to purchasing TV shows, series, or movies, you can buy them à la carte, or by the season. It’s totally up to you.
Where this might get complicated is if your cable television provider also supplies your internet; because you do definitely need a Wi-Fi connection for streaming. But at the very least this may allow you to cut the bulky cable TV package from your bill each month.
3. You don’t actually need a Smart TV to stream
Smart TVs, like Sony’s Android Smart TV or LG’s C7 Smart TV, make up a large portion of the new televisions sold today. However, if you’re not yet ready to lay down some cash on a brand new set, you can still get streaming TV easily.
External streaming devices work by bridging the gap between your TV and your home’s Wi-Fi network. They hook up to the HDMI port in your television set and connect wirelessly to the internet. This allows you to turn an older, ‘dumber’ television, into a modern streaming portal. Choose from external streaming devices such as Apple TV, Roku TV, Google Chromecast TV and a host of Android TV boxes, like NVIDIA Shield too.
Read more about the options in our definitive guide to media streamers.
4. You can connect several different streaming devices to a single TV
Not sure which streaming device is right for you? Maybe you have family members in the house who are using both Apple, and Android operating systems. No worry. You can connect multiple streaming devices to the same television so you can use the different portals, or enjoy the programming from whichever is your preferred operating system.
For example, some blockbuster movies debut on Apple TV before they are released to other platforms. Depending on how much of a film junkie you are, and how quickly you like to get to stuff like this, it might be worth it to have access to different streaming portals. So long as you have enough HDMI ports in your TV to plug them in, you can have multiple streaming devices to satisfy all your streaming needs.
5. You can watch a lot of TV for free
Netflix, possibly the world’s most popular streaming channel, does charge a monthly fee for service. But, there are plenty of others that don’t. Yet.
Services like Crackle and YouTube are free, and others, like Amazon Prime Video will let you sample their wares before you fork over a credit card.
Streaming TV is also awesome because you can watch whatever you want on demand, on your schedule. You’ll never be tied to the TV guide again.