In the past few years, there has been a massive influx of people migrating away from the longtime standard of conforming to the network programming schedules and instead making their own schedules. And not through some sort of fancy device to record and watch later, but through the new sensation known as internet video streaming.
Internet streaming essentially allows for people to watch any video, relatively instantly, at any time. Much like the way sites like Youtube work, a user will visit a site, search up their favorite show, click play, and enjoy.
However, there are of course two camps that are involved with internet streaming; paid for and free. Sites like Hulu.com among others offer both free and paid for programming which, is as it sounds, offers shows to watch for free with limited commercial interruption, or offer more premium shows for a cost.
In the paid realm of streaming, like what is offered on Amazon or iTunes, the content is all properly licensed and offers the best audio and video quality, but charges money per show or movie. Site like these also offer just about every single television show and movie that ever gets released in theaters, released on DVD, or shown on television. They have literally just about every show ever made.
So after taking the plunge and deciding to get into internet streaming instead of standard television viewing, the big question is how to view your shows and movies over the internet. Fortunately there are some very easy and cheap ways to do so, some of which utilize the television you already own. The only thing extra you need to get is to make sure you have an internet service that is fast enough to handle the required download speeds.
So to make matters easier, here is a list of the top 5 household devices that can be used for internet video streaming.
1. iPad and iPad mini
The iPad, recently released as generation 4, and its newest little brother, the iPad mini, are currently the two most flexible devices when it comes to streaming videos. They both offer amazing resolutions and fast connections speeds that allow for very enjoyable viewing. But the most significant detail about the iPads is that they are mobile. They can be taken anywhere in the house and, with the proper cellular data package, anywhere where there is coverage and be able to watch all of your Hulu, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes content.
2. Mac Mini and Apple TV
The Apple Mac Mini and Apple TV are the best devices to be connected to your current television setup for two very important reasons. The first is the size and connectivity; both products are very small, sleek, and unobtrusive, and have fantastic connection ports with either HDMI on some models or Apple’s Thunderbolt connection on others, both boasting the best screen resolution in the business. The second reason is because of the price and access to Apple iTunes content. The prices for each are much below the cost for a machine with the same specs from a competitor. As a full-fledged computer of the mini or the video only of the Apple TV, both are home theater masters when it comes to accessing online content from Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, or Netflix.
3. Roku 2 XS
The Roku 2 XS box is the much anticipated update to the very surprisingly good and successful original Roku box. The Roku is a set-top box that connects to your television and grants access to content from Netflix and Amazon. It offers full HDMI video out and is the smallest of all set-top boxes. While the content offered is not as expansive as that offered by Apple TV, it is quite comparable, for roughly the same price. This is a good option for those who have not yet invested anything into the iTunes market.
4. Xbox 360 and PS3
In addition to being the currently best gaming consoles on the market, the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 offer connectivity to content from Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu Plus as well as exclusive content available on each of their respective networks. Despite being one of the more expensive ‘set-top’ boxes, they do offer more utility in the form of classic video game platforms. However, these are only recommended for those who can dedicate the appropriate time to enjoy the game playing functions seeing how they are 2 to 3 times as expensive as a standalone video streaming box.
5. Other personal computer
Almost any personal computer of any make or model can be used to stream internet videos. However, depending on the hardware configuration, it may or may not be possible to enjoy them on the main television in your home. Instead, most computers are stuck with only being able to watch on the monitor that is attached to them. But regardless of what your computer is connected to, any computer with a fast enough internet connection can connect to any streaming network like Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, etc. and watch all that they have to offer.