Here’s what you need to begin streaming
■ By Jim Hitt / Media Columnist
In my first column, I listed some of the main sources of streaming such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. What I failed to address is a simple definition of streaming, which is a method of transmitting or receiving data, especially video, over a computer network in a continuous flow.
In order to stream the above premium services, you must have the following three things:
An internet connection—Most internet connections are rated in mbps, which means megabits per second. This is in reference to download and upload speeds. The faster the speed, the faster your information arrives. Most internet services provide basic speeds around 10 to 20 mbps.
Once you start using any device that streams, such speeds may be inadequate, especially if you are using multiple devices or have an HD or UHD TV. The faster the speed, the faster the picture gets to you and the less interference. Of course, higher speeds cost more. In such cases, you will need to have at least 40-50 mbps, although I have found these speeds a bit slow. At present, I use 150 mbps, which may be a little high. In most cases, 75 to 100 mbps will do just fine. Your internet company determines the speeds, so contact them for pricing.
A device like Roku or Apple TV or a newer television set in which such a service is included. My wife and I recently bought a new 4K ultra high definition television, and a streaming program is built-in. If your television is too old or does not have this option, you can purchase streaming devices online or from most stores like Target or Wal-Mart.
Installing your streaming device is a simple job of plugging the device into an electrical outlet, then hooking it directly to your TV set. If you purchase such a device, make sure it has the specifications you need. If you own a HD or UHD TV, make sure the device includes them. One bit of warning. Many companies advertise streaming devices on the internet, some claiming all sorts of benefits but fail to deliver. Before you buy, especially if it is an off-brand, check out the online reviews.
A credit card – you will need to pay for the services.
Once your streaming device is up and running, you will discover a whole new world of viewing. Movies and television series from all around the world are at your beck and call. If you wish to catch up with a film or series you missed, you can usually find it. If you want to binge watch, all you need is the time. Any time, any hour; no schedules nor time constraints. Let’s try it.
About the author: Jim Hitt is a multi-degreed local author who wrote The American West, From Fiction into Film (McFarland, 1991) and Words and Shadows (Citadel, 1993), an examination of American literature’s role in film. He has published numerous novels, and his awards include “best fantasy story,” OnceWritten.com, and “grand prize, fiction,” Next Generation Indie Book Awards. His latest novel, Bodie, was released Sept. 1 published by Black Horse Press. Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.