STREAMING TV OVERVIEW: 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 2009 with Ethernet connection**
C) Ethernet cable to connect cable modem / router signals to SMART TV.
D) Streaming Stick (Technically not required but greatly enhances the streaming experience) ***
Details of the required individual component hardware may be found on our Local Antenna With Streaming page.
* Some streaming companies have suggested in the past that the internet connection should be at least 5 Mbps. 5 Mbps was OK for a single stream in standard definition video, such as the old analog TV shows such as I Love Lucy, etc. I do not believe this is a workable speed today.
Because of increased video quality of 720, 1080, 2K and now 4K video programming with some households perhaps streaming different programs to several TV sets at the same time, I believe today we need a minimum of 25 Mbps. At lower rates, if one person was streaming TV and another person streaming or downloading music or other media, there could be buffering and pixilation of the video or music.
**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.
While you still have cable TV you can use your TV remote INPUT button to switch your TV back and forth from cable TV channels and internet streaming channels while you decide if streaming and or OTA is right for your household.
A few more items are required if you want additional capabilities, but for a single TV set viewing internet based streaming TV the above is all that you need.
With multiple TV sets 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.
Many viewers don't leave cable TV because they feel they would miss the DVR (Digital Video Recorder, also known as a PVR = Personal Video Recorder) feature. Most paid streaming services provide a DVR / PVR service for their live programming. The program is saved on their site for you to watch later.
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. Some free streaming services will not allow a viewer to fast-forward past a commercial.
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 understand.