HOW STREAMING WORKS

Ever wonder how to watch TV without cable or satellite?  All it takes is a few steps to make the most of your streaming experience.  Check out our quick guides below and soon you'll be streaming TV like a pro.

 

Internet Connection

Streaming apps can be accessed a few ways, including through your smartphone, tablet, laptop, Smart TV, standalone streaming device or streaming stick.  To access streaming apps on your smartphone, tablet or laptop, you can pull them up just as you would any other app.

Streaming devices and sticks run through your current home Internet service.  Most will connect easily to wi-fi and most set-top devices have ports in the back to plug into your modem/router as well.  It's critical to ensure you have the proper Internet speed to ensure a user-friendly experience.  Each streaming app has different minimum and recommended Internet speed requirements, especially depending on the picture quality you will want (SD, HD, UHD/4K).  The typical minimum recommended bandwidth is 3Mb/s for Standard Definition (SD/480p), 4 Mb/s for High Definition (HD/720p/1080p) and anywhere from 15-25 Mb/s for Ultra HD/4K content.  There are Internet speed testers available for you to check your current speed online.  You can also contact your Internet Service Provider for more guidance based on your anticipated streaming needs.

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Types of Streaming Devices

What is a streaming stick?  Or a set-top streaming media player?  Different types of streaming devices can fit different needs.  For more information about specific brands, please refer to our Streaming Devices Guide.

Streaming Sticks

Streaming sticks are about 2" long and plug directly into an HDMI input on your TV.  They connect to wi-fi and a power outlet, then are controlled by a remote that comes with the streaming stick or by mobile apps that can be downloaded separately.  Popular streaming sticks are available from Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

Set-Top Streaming Media Players

Streaming is also available through set-top boxes that hook into your HDMI input but also have a variety of ports in the back for expandable storage and direct Internet connection to a modem/router.  The boxes are controlled via a remote that comes with it or mobile apps where available.  Many of the set-top boxes have much stronger processors in them than a streaming stick, which allows you to access apps and content quicker.  Different set-top boxes are available through Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Nvidia and others.

Gaming Consoles

Already own an Xbox One or PS4?  If so, streaming may be much closer than you think.  A range of streaming apps are available through both consoles via the same store where you would download games.

Smart TV's

Smart TV's were built for streaming. With apps that are built-in and available to download, the streaming experience is directly on your TV in this format.  Many forms of Smart TV's are supported by Roku, Android TV, and others.  

 

Streaming Apps

Streaming takes place on apps that are either pre-loaded to a streaming device or available for download.  Just like an app on a smartphone, an app on a streaming device or SmartTV is used to access the content you have subscribed to.  Some apps are available free of charge or allow you to access a limited amount of content for free, but most apps require a monthly subscription.  Most streaming devices allow you to add and delete apps as needed, so the number of apps you use is up to you!

 
 

Screen Mirroring

Screen mirroring is a form of device-to-device communication where you can cast content from a smartphone, tablet or laptop to a TV (or other) screen.  Mirroring is all done wirelessly.  Commonly recognized apps used in the streaming industry to enable screen mirroring are Chromecast, AirPlay and Miracast.

Screen Mirroring

Screen Mirroring

Screen mirroring is a form of device-to-device communication where you can cast content from a smartphone, tablet or laptop to a TV (or other) screen.  Mirroring is all done wirelessly.  Commonly recognized apps used in the streaming industry to enable screen mirroring are Chromecast, AirPlay and Miracast.

Screen mirroring is a form of device-to-device communication where you can cast content from a smartphone, tablet or laptop to a TV (or other) screen.  Mirroring is all done wirelessly.  Commonly recognized apps used in the streaming industry to enable screen mirroring are Chromecast, AirPlay and Miracast.

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