Dreaming of Streaming?®
This is your resource page to help you understand what streaming is, why stream, what equipment you’ll need,
and where to find streaming content.
What is Streaming?
In a nutshell, streaming is a method for delivering video or music over an Internet connection. It allows you to watch a movie or listen to music as the music or video is downloading.
Before streaming technology, if you wanted to watch a video or listen to a song, you had to download the entire file before you could play it. Streaming most closely resembles how over-the-air, cable, or satellite TV is watched.
You don’t have to stop your cable or satellite TV, but streaming over a high-speed Internet connection can allow you to “cut the cord” or “ditch the dish”.
- More choice – watch what you want
- No long-term contracts – many are month-to-month
- Watch anywhere
- Watch on your mobile device
- Take your streaming device with you on vacation
Streaming lets you watch what you want when you want. You can watch the shows you like on your schedule. There are no long-term contracts and you can take your account with you on the go.
Some streaming services even have built-in recording services. This allows you to record Live TV and watch it later on your schedule.
What do I need?
You will need a few things in order to be able to stream:
- Reliable Internet with at least 25Mbps download speed
- In-home Wi-Fi with an up-to-date high-bandwidth router
- Television with an HDMI port
- A streaming device such as Roku, Amazon FireTV, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV)
- An email address
- A credit card
What’s my speed? Click here to check the speed at your home or business.
Here are some common bandwidth requirements for different online tasks:
- HD (720p or 1080p) Streaming = 8-10Mbps
- Live HD Streaming = 15-20Mbps
- 4K (2160p) Streaming = 24Mbps
- Security Video = 2-9Mbps
- Social Media/Web Browsing = 3-5Mbps
- Online gaming = 3-5Mbps
- Checking Email = 1Mbps
Add up the activities you think your household will do online at the same time to get a general idea of how much bandwidth you will require.
Think of bandwidth like the water pressure in your home. If you have one faucet running, the water pressure can keep up. But if you have 3 or 4 faucets open, each one will run slower unless you add more pressure.
When you do things online like browse a website, look at social media, or watch videos, it takes bandwidth. If there are only a couple of devices accessing the Internet at one time, then lower bandwidth will keep up. But if you are accessing the Internet with several devices and streaming, you will need more bandwidth to keep up.
Generally, you will not need more than 100Mbps download speed for all of your online activities. You likely won’t notice a difference in your internet experience above 100. But you may need more than 25Mbps.
Streaming High-Definition (720p or 1080p) on-demand video takes about 8-10Mbps. Streaming Live HD TV shows take about 15-20Mbps. Streaming Ultra High-Definition (4K) video takes about 24-30Mbps.
Streaming more than one TV adds to these numbers. Make sure your Internet offers the bandwidth you need to stream what you want in your household.
There are a few streaming device options you can look at. The most popular are the Roku and the Amazon FireTV. Google Chromecast and Apple TV are also popular with those who are into those platforms.
Here are links to each one and also links to review articles.
You will need one for each TV you want to stream to. When choosing a streaming device, we generally do not recommend the lowest cost option. Look for one with dual-band wireless.
Devices and comparisons
Apple TV: TV & Home – Apple
Links to thestreamable.com and other services
Types of Streaming
There are several options when it comes to streaming. It really comes down to what you are looking to achieve and what your budget is.
If you want to replace your cable or satellite service with streaming, then you should look for streaming services that offer Live TV such as YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, FuboTV, Philo, DirecTV, or Sling. Most of these carry local channels so you can watch the local news and sports.
Pricing can range from $25 per month up to $150 per month. These services will generally have ads as well.
You can also stream using free services such as PlutoTV, Peacock, Tubi, and Crackle. Even ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX have free streaming services. All of these will be ad-supported. Some of these also offer a paid service for premium content.
Finally, you can stream some of the premium content provided by Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV, HBOMax, Showtime, and Prime Video. These will be ad-free, but the cost can range from $5 per month to $20 per month per service.
TheStreamable.com is a helpful website when you want to compare streaming services. You can even use it to look where a particular show might be available.
Watch our Dreaming of Streaming Presentation
Below are some common questions. Click on the question to reveal the answer.
What if my TV is a Smart TV? Do I need a streaming device?
We recommend that you use a dedicated streaming device for several reasons:
- A television is designed to show a picture first and streaming capability is an afterthought. The streaming on a Smart TV might work ok, but the experience is generally slow and cumbersome.
- A dedicated streaming device is designed with the power to handle delivering the stream without having to also handle showing the picture.
- A streaming device is mobile. You can move it from one TV to another or take it with you on vacation. Simply plug in your streaming device and you’ll be ready to go.
How do I know which network is available on which streaming service?
Go to thestreamable.com/channels and scroll down the page. You will see which channels are available for each service.
Networks contract with each service to carry their programming. Sometimes a contract will expire and a network that was previously available on a streaming service will no longer be available unless a new contract is negotiated. If you want to watch that network, you may need to change streaming services.
My video is buffering. Is this because of my Internet?
There could be several reasons that your streaming is buffering. It may be due to not having enough bandwidth or it could be the streaming service itself. Here are some things to look for:
- Check your Internet speed by clicking here: What’s My Speed? If your speed is fine, then move onto the next item. If your speed is slow, then go here and follow the steps to restart your ONT or POE and router.
- Check to see how many TVs are streaming at once. You may have maxed out your download speed.
- Check to see if others are also browsing social media or watching videos on their tablets, computer, or mobile phones. This also uses bandwidth and could affect your stream.
- Check the support page of your streaming service (Hulu, YouTubeTV, DirecTV, etc.). They may be having issues with one or more networks.
- Go to a different network within your streaming service and see if that network is also having buffering issues. For example, if CBS is buffering or jittery, go to NBC or any other station to see if it acts the same.
- Check to make sure your Wi-Fi router is up-to-date. If your router is old, it may need upgrading. Routers can wear out and need to be replaced, however they will generally last a few years.