Streaming is gradually taking over from traditional cable and satellite services. Streaming services are generally cheaper than cable and satellite, offer more library content and have a rolling monthly contract instead of locking you in for a given time. You can also watch content anywhere, at any time on almost any device with internet access. Given that kind of freedom, it’s no wonder streaming is so popular!
One big advantage to streaming is the ability to watch anywhere. You can access streams on any internet-enabled device from phones to tablets, games consoles to computer browsers. Streaming fits into our evolving lives where the traditional living room experience is a thing of the past. We consume media on the move, when out and about, in our room or wherever we might be. We are no longer tied to the TV in the front room.
Popular streaming services include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, NOW TV, TalkTalk TV, PictureBox, Sky Go, iTunes, iPlayer, YouTube, and Google Play. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, NOW TV, and TalkTalk TV are full streaming services while most of the others offer movies or TV shows to rent (YouTube has a mix of rentals and subscriptions). iPlayer is free as part of the BBC licence fee. Amazon Prime Video is also included for free with an Amazon Prime subscription.
Broadband requirements for streaming
Ideally, your broadband should be at least 1.5Mbps for standard definition content, 5Mbps for HD content and 25Mbps for UHD content. More is always welcome but this is a practical minimum. For more information on what broadband speed you need, check out Broadband Genie’s guide.
If your broadband doesn’t have the speed or spare bandwidth, you may experience buffering. This is where the stream cannot deliver the content fast enough for the media player to deliver a seamless experience. Buffering can be caused by your broadband connection, other people using the network or your device being too busy doing other things.
If your streams often buffer, check who else is using your broadband and what else your device is doing at the time. If more than one person is streaming at once, you will need to multiply the minimum broadband speeds quoted above by how many people are watching.
Buffering can also happen if your device is busy doing other things like performing an antivirus scan, encoding video, downloading from the web or other intensive task. Minimise these tasks as much as possible for the smoothest streaming experience.
Popular shows streaming right now
If you like the idea of streaming TV shows or movies, what kind of shows can you see? Jamie Kavanagh, a contributor at Broadband Genie takes us a few shows available right now to whet your appetite.
Game of Thrones
Watch on: NOW TV. Amazon Prime. iTunes. Google Play.
If you didn’t manage to watch Game of Thrones when it was broadcast, you can legally watch it on NOW TV. This service is owned by Sky so has a lot of Sky programming. The full season 1-8 are available there. You can also buy boxsets of it from Amazon Prime Video, iTunes and Google Play Store.
Watch on: iPlayer. Amazon Prime.
Killing Eve is one of the most successful BBC productions in a long time and was an excellent watch. With season 2 currently airing in the US and Australia, now is a good time to watch season 1. You can stream it for free from BBC iPlayer. It is also available on Amazon Prime Video.
Star Trek: Discovery
Watch on: Netflix.
Star Trek: Discovery is a Netflix exclusive and is currently showing season 2. The show is a prequel to the original series and follows the crew of the Discovery instead of the Enterprise. With a great cast and great special effects it is well worth watching.
Watch on: Netflix. iPlayer. Amazon Prime.
Bodyguard was another hit for the BBC that sold worldwide. The action packed series following Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch officer David Budd as he tries to protect the home secretary and avoid being embroiled in a conspiracy went down exceptionally well across the world. You can currently watch Bodyguard on Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video.
Line of Duty
Watch on: iPlayer. Netflix. Amazon Prime. iTunes. Sky Store.
If you watched the most recent Line of Duty on TV, you may be interested to know that previous seasons are currently available to stream on Netflix or buy from iTunes, Sky Store, or Amazon Prime Video. BBC iPlayer still has the current season 5 but Netflix has the previous four. An excellent cop show from a very accomplished writer that is well worth watching.
Watch on: Netflix.
Stranger Things was an unlikely hit but it very definitely was a hit. Even for those not usually interested in science fiction, the theming, acting and compelling storyline led many people to watch. It’s another Netflix original so is only available there.
Watch on: Amazon Prime. Google Play.
Walking Dead has enjoyed a run of 9 seasons and has kept us interested in zombies for all that time. With lead Andrew Lincoln holding sway on screen and various evil survivors to deal with as well as the ‘biters’ this series has given us a lot. All seasons are available at Amazon Prime Video or as purchases from the Google Play Store.
Better Call Saul
Watch on: Netflix. Amazon Prime.
Better Call Saul is a spinoff from Breaking Bad and follows the lawyer, Saul Goodman. It’s in the same vein with the same bitter sweet writing and top class acting. There are four seasons of the show to enjoy and both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offers all four.
Watch on: Netflix.
The Crown is a very highly rated royal drama following the young Queen Elizabeth II in her reign. It is supposedly the most expensive TV program ever made by Netflix and it shows. Fantastic acting, amazing sets and compelling script make this a must see even for non-royalists. It is only available on Netflix.
Big Little Lies
Watch: Sky Go. NOW TV. YouTube. Google Play.
With a headliner like Nicole Kidman and support from Reese Witherspoon and Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies was going to be good. It delivered all that and more. It’s a fascinating story of families, lies and the pretences we all put up to convince the world everything is okay. Season 1 is currently available on Sky Go and Now TV while season 2 is still in production.
TV streaming offers more choice, more freedom and more enjoyment than traditional cable or satellite offerings. As long as you have a fast enough broadband collection, you potentially have thousands of movies and TV shows to watch on demand. Your only problem is going to be deciding what to watch first!
This article about “Guide to streaming TV: The best Television on demand” was written for Housing Hand – the Award-Winning UK Rent Guarantor Service by Broadband Genie. For more information on how you can work with Housing Hand, visit housinghand.co.uk or call 02072052625 and select option 2.