Although it might seem that everyone is using a streaming service, the number of people who still haven’t made the leap yet would surprise you. If you’re still on the fence about streaming, similar to how you might’ve felt when you saw people moving from cassettes to CDs, then this article is for you. We’ll review the basics of streaming services and what you can get out of it that you can’t from regular programming.

What Is a Streaming Service?

A streaming service lets you enjoy a show or movie through an Internet connection to a device you own such as a smartphone, tablet or TV. Each streaming service varies based on the types of programming offered on its platform. Some platforms allow you to select shows with a style dubbed Video on Demand (VOD) where you choose recorded shows and play them on your time. To stand out from competitors, VOD services have been making agreements with production studios to feature exclusive content. These services rotate TV shows and movies into the catalog for a limited number of months to keep content fresh and manage the cost of maintaining the license to stream those particular movies or shows. Another option is live-streaming services that stream shows that are being broadcasted in real time with the ability to record them for later playback.

In the past few years, to further differentiate themselves, streaming services have created their own studios to produce their own TV shows and movies. This original content is exclusively available only to subscribers. These studios have been producing fantastic and often award-winning programming that helps attract new viewers each month.

Why Choose a Streaming Service?

You might have flipped through hundreds of channels last weekend trying to find something you were interested in watching. Discovering new shows and movies requires either familiarity with the title or reading a description that’s enticing enough to encourage you to watch. Or, if you are anything like me, you find something appealing based on online reviews. Streaming services can offer all of those searching options plus recommendation engines that can help you find shows and movies based on your prior viewing habits. This feature can help lead to unexpected finds that weren’t promoted as the top programs to watch.

Don’t you hate it when you start watching a show, fall in love with the characters, are left with a cliffhanger and then have to wait for months until the show’s next season? Unlike standard TV, most shows released on streaming services are available all at once, allowing you to watch as many episodes as you have an appetite to consume in one sitting, rather than waiting week after week for the latest episode. One caveat? Don’t be tempted to watch shows by yourself when others want to watch with you. This is dangerous territory. Trust me, I’m married.

If a streaming service sounds like the right fit for you, there are some final pieces to consider. Make sure you’ve selected the appropriate Internet speed to support the type of streaming you want. This can range from purchasing one standard High-Definition stream for one TV, all the way up to multiple streams for different rooms, based on the number of people living in the household who are using the Internet for streaming.

To use a streaming service on a TV, you’ll also need either a smart TV with streaming capabilities or a stand-alone streaming device. These devices can range from as low as $35 up to $200, depending on the features they offer.

If you have invested in a 4K TV, streaming services can greatly maximize your purchase, as many services offer the option of streaming in 4K and with High Dynamic Range (HDR). Since 4K has quadrupled the resolution of a standard 1080p HDTV, images look crisper and more colorful, enhancing your overall viewing experience.

The trend of transitioning to streaming services to watch shows and movies doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon particularly due to the cost savings over traditional cable subscriptions while delivering a more customized experience with the shows you want, when you want them. Now that you know the basics and benefits, you’re equipped to make an informed decision on when it’s time to make the leap. And when you do, I know you’ll find a new show that you’ll love – but remember, binge-watch safely with delicious snacks, and stay hydrated along the way!

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Written By

Stephen Bennett

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