Newsletter Extra: TV Entertainment via the Internet

streamingThis is an exciting time in the world of entertainment. You have so many more options on how to access TV programs, movies, and music to enjoy at home. No longer are you restricted to the choice of either a cable TV subscription or a satellite dish as you have been in years passed. With a video streaming device and Haviland Telephone Internet service, you have the opportunity to enjoy a vast array of streaming entertainment on your TV.

Streaming devices allow you access to hundreds of streaming video channels, or applications, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Disney, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Pandora, and many of your favorite cable networks. The content provided for the network channels is not identical to what you would receive with a satellite or cable subscription, but they still provide access to up-to-the-minute news, quality family programming and sporting events coverage. The majority of these channels come pre-loaded or are free to download, but some need to be paid for either upfront or through a monthly subscription (like Netflix). We will review some of the most popular options for video streaming devices here.

Roku or Apple TV streaming box. Both devices cost $100 or less and are by far the most popular options for streaming boxes. If you already own Apple devices and enjoy watching content on YouTube, Apple TV is likely the device for you. With its AirPlay feature, you can play content from your other Apple devices directly to your TV wirelessly. Apple TV also has a direct YouTube channel, which Roku does not. If you would like to be able to discover new content easily and watch content from Amazon Prime Instant video, then Roku is your best bet. Its search feature does a great job of letting you search through the myriad of viewing options without having to open each channel. And currently, AppleTV does not provide access to Amazon Prime Instant video.  Visit www.apple.com/appletv or www.roku.com learn more.

Additional information:
Comparison between Apple TV and Roku
AppleTV vs. Roku vs. Chromecast

Chromecast Streaming Stick. At just $35, this device is simply a dongle you plug into your TV’s HDMI port. Currently the only apps supported are Netflix, Hulu+, YouTube, and Google Play Store content. Google says more apps will be added soon, but no word on what or when. But if all you are interested in is streaming from one of those apps, this is a very economical option.  Visit www.google.com/chromecast to learn more.

SmartTVs. If you are in the market for a new TV this holiday season, you may want to consider a SmartTV, which has many of the capabilities of a streaming box built in. Typically, a SmartTV only costs $30-$50 more than a television with similar specifications that cannot connect to the Internet. Most, come loaded with Netflix and other popular streaming applications, but if you are interested in a specific channel, you may want to research in advance of your purchase.

Additional Information:
Smart TV – Do you need one?
TV Buying Guide

Think streaming video might be for you? You’ll need Internet download speeds of at least 1.5 Mbps to fully enjoy this TV option in standard definition, 8 Mbps for HD or multiple standard definition users.  Call Haviland Telephone to sign up for Internet service today.

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