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General Requirements and Information
Items required for INTERNET STREAMING include
A) Upgraded Internet connection with high or unlimited data plan* B) SMART TV manufactured after 2017 with Ethernet connection** C) Ethernet cable to connect cable modem / router signals to SMART TV. D) Streaming Stick. Not required but makes navigation much easier and faster.***
Details of the required individual component hardware may be found on our Local Antenna With Streaming page.
* Internet speed must average above 25 Mbps or programs could be unstable if program is 4K or higher video, and / or if multiple programs downloading at the same time. Perhaps two programs being watched on separate TV sets, or another program being recorded.
** Newer Smart TV sets (or Smart DVD player) have more options available for OTA and Streaming.
Newer "Smart TV" sets will have an internet input port (Ethernet), and or connect wirelessly to your router. A button on the TV remote will switch the viewer from TV channels to the TV set internet connection. Different TV manufacturers have different labels for their internet "hub". Using the TV remote, the viewer will be able to navigate around the main TV internet screen and select applications (APP) to be installed. Once installed TV programs and movies through the APP may be viewed directly on the TV screen. While this is convenient, some manufacturers limit APP availabilities and moving around the screen with the remote cursor (arrow) can be slow. This is where the optional Roku or Fire stick come in to play.
*** A two part device to control your TV set streaming service. One part attaches to a HTML port on the SMART TV set. The second part is the wireless handheld remote that controls the system. Similar to your TV remote control. Most often a Roku or Fire Stick brand.
Prices for TV sets in 2022 have dropped considerably since the 2009 US digital conversion. However, one should be careful purchasing a new TV only by price. Each year the TV manufacturers add features enhancing digital and streaming TV, such as TV Guide style grid screens, internet browsers, Ethernet and wireless internet access, a "Hub" screen for video streaming applications (APP) to be downloaded onto the TV, and more robust remote controls for these features.
Additionally, every year the television picture quality is a bit better than the year before. In some instances just buying one step higher in quality will bring a better picture and perhaps cleaner audio. To be able to view newer 4K videos and increased picture quality from the TV broadcast networks Over-The-Air, look for
the new Next Gen TV tuner to enable the TV set to capture and display the latest TV standards for television viewing.
Note that some TV sets on sale today in 2022 are 2020 and 2021 year models. Sometimes these can be a good purchase. For example LG has a new TV set model C2. The older TV model was C1. According to several TV reviewers on-line (Like CNET) there is minimal difference in the display between the LG TV models C1 and C2. And C1 is hundreds of dollars cheaper since it is an older model year.
The plasma screen TV was the original platform for the new USA digital TV technology. Then technology improved to where OLED became the main focus - pun intended. One issue with the original OLED design is a lack of brightness. The picture is excellent in a dark room, but if you watch TV during the day in a well lighted room, the screen may seem a bit dull. Newer technology each season helps to improve the OLED picture. Samsung's QLED screens are brighter, but some have an issue of diminished picture resolution if the viewer does not sit directly in front of the TV screen. Not good for group watching.
At the store walk off to the side of the TV to see if the picture grows weak or loses color. TV set screens are set to a very high brightness and contrast to appear bright and beautiful under the store's bright fluorescence lights. At home the viewer would not normally have the set set to such a high brightness. To properly view nighttime scenes the better TV sets have "Local Dimming" so they can darken part of the picture while still showing people and objects clearly in a night scene. There is also a HDR format that allows additional shades of black to dark grey to light grey to white. This additional black to white scale allows objects to be more visible during a night-time scene with shadow covered objects in the scene.
And better TV sets have access to faster refresh rates. On TV sets with screens larger than say, sixty inches, with a refresh rate of 60, an object moving quickly horizontally across the screen, like a fast car, plane, etc., could produce a "jerky" movement of the object. This is because the screen does not refresh quick enough to capture small movements. Faster refresh rates, let's say 120, will provide a smoother flight across the screen for that fast moving object. There is an issue of having a rate so fast the program looks like an afternoon soap opera video. For the most part, the American Public isn't used to this style of "smooth screen" viewing for evening TV and movies. We are used to the resolution brought to us on film. But that is a different story for another time.
All TV broadcast digital technologies improve yearly. If you watch three or more hours of TV each day, it could be worth it to purchase a little more TV than the basic $500 US TV set. Most of us enjoy watching a clean, sharp, and bright picture with clear audio. TV sets are somewhat like kitchen appliances. A quality TV set will last for years.
Todays TV sets are so thin, the audio speaker is relegated to second place behind the picture. Sound bar offerings are way up. A sound bar is a separate set of speakers that provide audio for the TV. Usually the sound bar is around the same width of the TV screen, and three to five inches tall and three to six inches deep to allow for proper speaker design aimed at the viewer. Often designed to be mounted on the wall below the TV screen, some sound bars include a separate bass speaker for added audio depth. Adding (at an additional price) a sound bar to the purchase can help increase the quality of the audio. Some TV sets come with a sound bar included. This tells you what the manufacturer thinks of their own TV set speakers. A great picture isn't as satisfying if you can not understand what the characters are saying. If you get home and love the TV picture but not the sound, you can add a sound bar to most TV sets at any time in the future.
In 2022 there are television sets with built in Amazon Fire or Roku streaming stick features. I would personally purchase a regular top brand Smart TV and a separate Fire or Roku streaming system device. This way if you decided to switch from Fire Stick to Roku, or Roku to Fire Stick, or even use both services, it might prove to be less of an effort. However, Roku and Amazon's Fire Stick can access at least most of their competitors program offerings.
See more info in our Streaming Sticks section.
You will still have cable TV when you add OTA TV and or internet Streaming TV. You can use your TV remote INPUT button to switch your TV back and forth from cable, antenna over-the-air TV (OTA) channels, and on to internet streaming channels while you decide if streaming and or OTA is right for your household.
As noted before, just a few items are required if you want additional viewing capabilities, but for a single TV set viewing OTA or internet based streaming TV, all that you need is a SMART TV, and:
1.) An antenna and cable to connect to TV (For OTA) and or
2.) An internet connection if you want video streaming.
With multiple TV sets, if you stream programs, each set will need a streaming stick. There are also router selections available to feed multiple TV sets from a single source. I believe it easier to just have a streaming stick for each TV.
Some viewers don't leave cable TV because they feel they would miss browsing the TV program grid guide to see what programs are playing now and later. Or maybe miss not being able to record shows on their DVR (Digital Video Recorder, also known as a PVR = Personal Video Recorder) feature. We have options for both those features.
There are several good trustworthy companies providing FREE TV schedules, including Titan TV and Zap To It.
Click their name above to visit each site to review.
Both sites have a clean TV grid display that show you the programs in your area hour by hour. Both sites have ads on their free screens.
Each site will ask you to log on or open an account. You don't have to but it is much easier if you visit often. They will ask for your US postal mail ZIP Code and how do you receive your TV programs: Over The Air, Streaming, Local Cable or Satellite service.
With this basic info, the grid will display, hour by hour and channel by channel all the programs available through the source you specified. Tightwad Taylor says - Start with a free service before looking at other paid services. If you open a free account, Titan TV will remember your choices and immediately display viewing options based on the time in your ZIP code, though you can adjust the time and day you wish to monitor.
The TV schedules sites are free, so use both for a while till you decide which you prefer. You can even use each TV schedule site for your regular cable TV viewing if you decide not to stream, etc. The TV grid sites usually look out about two weeks in advance of your current day.
Secondly, a DVR is not needed for most streaming viewing because the programs are already "On Demand". You start, pause, reverse, jump ahead, and stop the programs as you wish on most streaming services. Usually free streaming services will not allow a viewer to fast-forward past a commercial (This is how they get paid if you are paying), though they can let you fast-forward between connecials. You can also rewind the program and commercials if you wish to see the advertisements again. Just saying.
Most streaming sites that also offer live programs will provide a DVR / service for their live programming. The program is saved on their site for you to watch later. You will have to have a free account to use their DVR service so they can keep track of your recordings for you.
If If you have a personal home DVR system, it will record programs that arrive through a cable box or regular TV antenna. Most home DVR systems are not capable of recording a program from an internet streaming service. Streaming TV transmits signals a regular DVR doesn't often understand.
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