Stream Movies From Home: Finding The Best Method For You
The last few years have witnessed a proliferation of home theaters, as the masses opt to stream movies at home. The movie theater is far from obsolete, but we can’t hide from the fact that the queues at the cinema are slowly dwindling.
Largely to thank (or not) is the Internet. Not since the Industrial Revolution has humanity faced such a life-changing disruptor as this. Since its dawn, the Internet has left a trail of disruption on virtually every human facet, sparing nothing in its wake.
As far as cinema goes, movie streaming in the comfort of our living rooms is becoming the new norm. And unlike years gone by, dedicated home theaters are no longer the preserve of multi-million dollar homes. Of course, the very best of them still cost a fortune, but overall, costs have plummeted. As long as you have the space, there are a myriad home theater components to suit every budget.
The video streaming wave is in full swing, no doubt, but most of us are still groping their way in this new world of online movies. If you are on this boat, worry not. Consider this a primer on how to choose the best method to go about streaming movies at home.
What you need to Stream Movies from Home
You may be wondering what you need to invest in in order to stream movies. Streaming doesn’t require breaking the bank on your part because all you need are three things:
- High speed Internet
- TV set
- A streaming device
High Speed Internet
First, you need a good Internet connection. A fast connection at that.
But how fast is fast?
Well, some streaming networks say anything upwards of 1.5 Mbps (download speed) is good for standard video, with 5 Mbps guaranteeing a better view. The key factor here is speed: the more, the merrier.
The connection doesn’t matter much – could be wired; could be wireless (read Wi-Fi). When it comes to reliability, a wired connection will always carry the day. But this does not mean you are sentenced to a static position. A router turns a wired connection into Wi-Fi, giving you the freedom of movement and ability to stream movies from whichever part of the house you are at.
Has your TV got the Smarts?
With regard to the TV, most television sets these days are shipping with smart features. This means they are ready to stream as is, eliminating the need for an external box. Some have even gone ahead to include built-in network apps such as Netflix as part of the package. But what if your smart TV doesn’t have such features, what do you do?
There is always the option of plugging your laptop into the TV via HDMI. It works, sure, but it is inconvenient in the sense that you have to get up every time you need to select the next thing to watch. Let’s not even mention the clutter part where you have to find space for the laptop near the TV.
Assuming none of these are a concern of yours, it is good to point out that some of the best streaming services out there don’t allow their content to stream to computers in the best quality. There is that niggling fear that the content could be pirated.
Moreover, you could own a smart TV, but then find that some services worth your time are only available via external hardware.
Which takes us to our next point.
One Device, Endless Movie Supply
A Blu-ray player is a great workable solution to stream movies. If you needed a reason to kick that old DVR player to the curb, now is the time. There is a whole bunch of alternatives on the market to choose from, with the major players such as Sony, Samsung and LG all present and correct.
If you want to take this option, make sure your desired model can stream the services you want before making a purchase. This should be clearly indicated on the box. Wi-Fi capability is another feature you should keep an eye out for when choosing a Blue-ray player to stream movies.
Most newer video game consoles also double up as streaming devices, but they too are not without their shortcomings especially considering this is not their primary purpose.
A good online streaming experience should be one that allows you to find the movies and shows you want without the hassle of searching the web for hours.
While a good deal of smart TVs and Blue-ray players can handle the job, nothing beats a dedicated streaming device. These stand-alone devices are designed with one single purpose in mind: to stream movies and other content such as TV shows, music, photos and video games from your TV and other supported devices like smartphones and tablets.
Roku is one popular example that has made a mark for itself with its affordable, simple setup and an excellent set of choices, be it for watching, listening or game-play. Since debuting in 2008 as a way to stream Netflix, Roku’s most recent editions include the Roku 4 and Premiere+. These feature the latest technology support in 4K and HDR, with all the major apps and channels on the market: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Now, Sling TV and more.
Apple TV is another option that has been around for years. It offers seamless TV experience across all Apple devices, boasting most heavy-hitting channels and apps. This option is best suited for Apple diehards as it allows for sharing content seamlessly across all iOS devices.
There is also the Chromecast option and its variations like the Chromecast Ultra. This is an offering from Google whose selling point is its small, feature-rich, ready-to-use nature at a paltry sum compared to other players. It offers some of the best bang for buck.
Choosing a Streaming Service
Online streaming may seem like a fad at the moment, but at some point you might be forced to join the bandwagon. Mainstream broadcasting is no longer meeting the needs of most viewers, and cable as we know it is dying.
Perhaps it’s the changing times. Viewers are opting for more a la carte viewing options, paying only for what they want to watch. And oh, what variety there is. This is a break from the dying pay TV past which forces you to pay a premium for 90 channels just so you can access the dozen or so channels that appeal to you.
This explains the reason behind the explosion of streaming services as providers seek to capitalize on the growing demand. Largely to thank? You betcha – the Internet.
Once you have all the hardware in place, choose a service to stream movies from the dozens currently available. It’s a good idea to give the free trial a run first before subscribing. Your tastes should have a big hand in the final decision.
For example, if you’re big on original comedies, movies and dramas like House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, and complete runs of series that graced our screens back in the day, then Netflix might be the thing for you. If you are after a service with lots of kids’ shows and previous seasons of those classic HBO series, then Amazon might be a better fit.
Sample them, you are sure to come across a few that tickle your fancy.
While you are at it, don’t forget to invest in a nice home theater sound system to enhance your viewing experience. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.