03-10-2014 5:41 AM
Lots of buzz about streaming these days, so thought I would check in to understand what my latest how-to capability looks like. I am a U-verse subscriber and own a 2012 Smart TV from Samsung. That TV is linked directly to the Internet via Ethernet cable (8 Mbps download). It has a number of apps and a browser; I believe I can download additional apps as needed.
I’m a novice in this area and wonder what free stuff can conveniently be had (network channels, etc.). I’m not real keen on paying AT&T more bucks, but have an open ear to what is available. So going forward, is there a specific app or best method for me? Again, I am just looking for some basic direction/advice and appreciate your time and input.
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03-10-2014 6:29 AM - edited 03-10-2014 6:43 AM
TheKingfish - from my perspective, the basic direction is that you will have to poke around to find out if you can watch anything that you want to watch - especially for no cost or in some cases how much it will cost to watch something that you are specifically interested in.
It is good that you have a Samsung with a browser. It does work?? Some have had trouble with accessing the web with the Samsung.
The idea of apps is that each app provides simple access to a specific library. The idea of a browser is you have access to any link on the web. For apps you need to find the app, download it to your device & apply it when you want to watch the available content. For link via browser, you have to find the link and access it when you want to watch the available content. You can bookmark links in your browser to easily manage them.
Seems to me like six of one half a dozen of the other. It is good to have choices. Google is your friend for finding apps or links or content.
Once you have physical access to content, you need to navigate the incomprehensible web of rules set by the owners of said content. It is far more complex than the blackout rules for sports. Although, even those rules can come into play.
You will find some (usually less desirable) content can be watched with no strings and some require subscription to the mother TV channel. Some content may be same as the "live" channel some may be "on-demand". Content on your U-verse DVR is not yet available.
You can start with either the U-verse app or uverse.com (via browser) to get an idea of what is available & how the tier system impacts your viewing. Check watch ESPN for sports.
After that Google for network or show name to find more content that may or may not be available to you at the time. Google stream TV or stream movies for links that compile a library, such as HULU.
Oh yeah, that is another roadblock to being able to watch anything at any time - the content comes and goes - Here today, gone tomorrow or vice-versa.
If you are willing to pay, Netflix and Amazon Prime look good for movies. Perhaps Netflix still has a free trial.
Hope you find good stuff to watch - happy surfing to you.
03-10-2014 8:40 AM - edited 03-10-2014 9:10 AM
There is no shortage of streaming material and with full episodes now showing up on Youtube, you can probably watch new programming each night, with no repeats. The fly in the ointment is knowing what's on and like Aviewer said, when will its shelf life expire. A GREAT business opportunity would be for a blogger to catalog what is on the various streaming outlets. I did find a page called streamtvguide.com but will not hyperlink it as it sure opens lots of popups and such. Oddly it seems to have a decent web reputation.
03-10-2014 9:13 AM
I think streaming is the future of TV old cable and satilite will be gone in a few years IMO .
Probably not gone - currently there is not much streaming of major sporting events. That may change but there will always be cable and dishes. What might change is streaming from your cable box, as Xfinity is doing - for $40 a month you get limited basic, high speed internet and StreamPix, which includes HBO streams. That might be where cable is going.
03-10-2014 11:03 AM
Not so sure about free streaming, however company's like DirectTV are now in talks (and I think Dish is now) with Disney for streaming rights to Disney programming.
03-10-2014 11:17 AM
One of the arguments against everyone streaming on-demand is exactly what's happening with NetFlix right now. When everone has a 4+Mbps unicast stream going across the Internet, we have a capacity problem at several points along the way.
When you do multicasting like U-verse does with its TV stream, you have a much more effective use of bandwidth. If users could put up with waiting a few minutes for a multicast stream to start, then one multicast stream (with good buffering in the client) could serve hundreds of users in one ISP simultaneously. However, ever growing content libraries makes it less and less likely that two users want to see the same thing at the same time. Sporting events, though, argue the other way.
03-10-2014 12:45 PM
I own a Roku stick, Apple TV, a Samsung Smart TV and 2 Oppo blu ray players which are capable of streaming from different video sources. So streaming is definetly in my future!
03-11-2014 4:50 AM
First and foremost I want to thank everyone for their posted feedback. I appreciate your time and effort. It would be nice if there was an essential app or a website/clearing house that was a go-to search guide, but alas that seems not the case. I guess we’re all in the same soup – meandering and finding things that serve in a piecemeal fashion.
And yes, the Samsung Smart TV has been good for me. Answering one question -- the browser works well, but I also have the associated portable keyboard. The browser is fairly clunky, in that one would reserve any serious search routines for the computer. My short term plan is to do just that; search for and identify a handful of useful sites, then carry and bookmark those key addresses on the TV. If anyone has any better ideas, please continue to share.
03-11-2014 5:39 AM - edited 03-11-2014 6:08 PM
TheKingfish - All the various device manufacturers want in on the market for internet access & offer some level of access. But, it is hard to beat the original - the computer.
I was lucky in timing that HDMI interface just became available when I was in the market for a computer. It is great to have the big flat panel connected to both U-verse TV and the computer browser for internet with wireless mouse and keyboard for control.
If your computer does not have HDMI output there are many other choices. Here is a link with tutorial (click on learning center) & connecting cables/converters for sale - http://sewelldirect.com/articles/PCtoTV.aspx
03-13-2014 7:36 PM
I appreciate your feedback. The concept of linking the laptop to the TV screen skirts the issue of my clunky built-in browser. Seems like it would make browsing and selective streaming rather easy. I will try it with whatever hardware it takes. Thanks once again.
I will also mention here, Consumer Reports (March) has a very comprehensive write-up on the subject of streaming and all things associated (numerous topics). It’s enough to generally put you on the right track; an FYI for those needing to fill in some of the nuanced A/V technology gaps.
03-14-2014 8:36 AM
One statement you made is you do not want to pay AT&T for streaming. You are not paying AT&T but you are paying the service provider for streaming their content. The only exception is premium content like HBO go where you have to subscribe to HBO through your internet provider in order to receive HBO go. Same with Showtime Anytime which roku just added. Hopefully Samsung won't be far behind.
03-14-2014 8:55 AM
Read a cool piece today, in Bloomberg Business on Comcast. Comcast has seen the writing on the wall and knows that the days of cable TV being the sole provider of TV, are waning. Basically Comcast is splitting its efforts into thirds. One third cable TV, one third content and one third HSIE.
On a side note, we;ve all heard how clunky the new, revolutionary X1 platform is. Comcast has 1000 engineers working on X1, alone. Wow! Maybe AT&T should have one or two, working on the "More showtimes" Central time zone issue, lol.
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