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Streaming Video
Old 11-26-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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Streaming Video

There have been a number of threads that mention streaming video, usually in the context of replacing pay-for TV.
I have visited many websites that cover the subject, but even in Wiki, find that much of the discussion begins halfway through the subject, skipping the basics, and getting into technical stuff I don't need to know.

I don't pretend to be an expert on this... just passing along my own thoughts as a result of playing around with some online websites.

First of all, the term "streaming". While the common belief is that streaming means transmitting material to be seen, listened to, or read, without waiting for the full content to be downloaded, in practice, even many video sites, require downloading, before the content is played.

Availability through: Phones, Tablets, Computers, Media Players, and many newer TV's. For personal viewing, almost any compatible equipment works, but for group, or large TV viewing, unless the TV itself has internet capabilities, the input would normally come from a "media player" (examples- ROKU, SONY, XBOX and other "players" or a computer that can send the signal to the larger TV screen.. I have been able to play through some older computers (512 RAM) using an SVideo Cable and sound. Am not sure whether newer computers have HDMI connectors.


For whatever technical reason, streaming video to a television screen from the computer, hasn't been very successful for me. I suppose a problem of resolution.
In any case I am now using a Sony media player, and it provides a perfect picture.

(aside: one of the downsides of using the media players that I am familiar with, has been the difficulty in using the search capabilities. 'telephone type keyboard'... I recently discovered that I can use a USB keyboard to input the info... tho, not use the mouse.)

Content: Almost unlimited. Free AND Pay-for.
This is a process in transition, and what is true today, will not be true tomorrow. New films, old films, free films, fee films... almost every kind of content imaginable. From UTube to Netflix and at least a few hundred specialty websites in between. Every mainstream TV station has their own content, and this is shared with other accumulator websites. Specialty streaming sites, just for your own favorite college football team, as well as cult movie, and "just bad" movie sites.

The free sites, may be totally free, or in some of the more popular wide content sites, like Crackle, may be filled with commercials. Finding the websites, is a task for google... as in "free TV webites"... but even at that, there are many more that won't show up on the first five pages of results.

As far as TV series are concerned... it's just a matter of searching, and of course for availability from a copyright standpoint. For instance, Downton Abbey season 1 is available on Netflix, but although series 2 is over, it is not yet available online. One positive note... It appears that European TV, which parallels ours with regard to things like detective series, ie. Criminal Minds or CSI... is widely available. ( I have about a year or two of watching these series, some of which have been on British TV for 10 years, and run into hundreds of episodes) . Not seen on US television.

Documentaries, travelogues, How to's, Sports, and even specialty sports, like Hunting, or Skating etc., are all available, usually in specialty websites that bring together the special interest.

Since I'm still a neophyte, this is a learning curve. Based on what I see now, there will be a long period of shakeout, as the Streaming TV Business Model searches for some solid footing. Right now, one of the key "wants" that keeps most people from dropping their "PAY" services is the availability of current information and news, and of course the current entertainment content. There are a few "streaming news" sites, but none that I've found for the major networks. Usually the news is in selected clips... (IMHO, a pain to search and watch). As the business of streaming becomes more sophisticated, the current nuisance of connecting to content will surely be simplified.

So... not ready to give up the pay TV quite yet, and expect that the transition won't provide much in savings, but that this may be the way of the world, as the last mile of internet connectivity becomes a reality.

Thoughts on the subject, and suggestions welcome. How much/often, do you use streaming video?
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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We use Roku on our tv, and also Netflix, acorn TV, and occasionally Amazon for steaming. I personally watch things on my laptop. While I haven't studied it the depth you have, I do really enjoy all the programs I've seen. My husband doesn't use streaming much. He likes a few things on the regular channels and football.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Based on what I see now, there will be a long period of shakeout, as the Streaming TV Business Model searches for some solid footing. Right now, one of the key "wants" that keeps most people from dropping their "PAY" services is the availability of current information and news, and of course the current entertainment content.
Thanks for your interesting summary. I'm not as knowledgeable on this as I'd like, so I try to keep up by reading about the subject and listening to 'early adopters' I know. Basic DishTV presently costs us $55/mo (already too much) and we're both too cheap to pay for conventional & "streaming," so your second sentence above pretty much describes where we're at. DW won't give up current news or "her shows" as they air on the networks even though she sees a lot after the fact via DVR and largely uses TV as background noise . I value TV less and less anyway (most of it is garbage IMO), but I'd hate to give up all sports as they air (mostly NFL). News I can get online, and do.

When streaming TV is more compelling (cost & content) than conventional cable/satellite we will switch. But I think the networks & movie studios, having watched what happened to the music industry with Napster & iTunes, will forestall the "new model" for quite a while/as long as possible...
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:58 AM   #4
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I'm perfectly happy with the free high definition broadcast from over the air antenna which almost always I use only for watching NFL games. When I want to watch anything else like news, sports from around the world, US and foreign movies, etc., I power up the desktop PC connected permanently via HDMI cable to the home entertainment system in my bedroom, or plug in my laptop via HDMI to the 60" plasma in the family room if I have company. These PCs are also connected to a NAS (network attached storage) archive of my DVD and Blu-ray collection, photos and music, which I can stream anywhere in the house. I have not paid for cable or any TV service in at least the last 10 years, including pay-per-view sports events like boxing. I find there is always a country in the world which streams the event legally and for free!
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:53 PM   #5
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A heads up on a new product.

Walmart has joined with a company named Boxee, and is beginning to offer a new and different streaming media player named Boxee2.

The advertising suggests that you can use the player to stream live network presentations as well as the kind of content that is available now on the media players like Roku. In addition, it purports to be able to download content and retain it on the "cloud", and also allow you to stream the content to not just your TV, but to computers. The cost is $99.

I just received the Sunday ad for Walmart, and the Boxee2 is advertised.

As I read it, for $99, you could essentially drop your cable or satellite TV, and just pay a monthly fee of $10/mo., and get on demand content, including local programming.

Not so fast... When I looked it up on Google, I came across this "review", and it says to me, that before I buy into this, I want to hear more. The review is rather extensive, and says it seems to be in "Beta".

Hard to believe, given Walmart's strict attention to quality, but enough of a warning to say... let's wait a bit.

I don't like the idea of paying $2000/yr, for TV and Telephone including cell phones, and Internet access... and this looked to be a partial answer, but I think I'll wait bit before taking the plunge int dropping TV.

Boxee TV Review: Not Ready For Primetime | Popular Science

Will look forward to hearing from anyone here, about their experience.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
A heads up on a new product.

Walmart has joined with a company named Boxee, and is beginning to offer a new and different streaming media player named Boxee2.

The advertising suggests that you can use the player to stream live network presentations as well as the kind of content that is available now on the media players like Roku. In addition, it purports to be able to download content and retain it on the "cloud", and also allow you to stream the content to not just your TV, but to computers. The cost is $99.

I just received the Sunday ad for Walmart, and the Boxee2 is advertised.

As I read it, for $99, you could essentially drop your cable or satellite TV, and just pay a monthly fee of $10/mo., and get on demand content, including local programming.

Not so fast... When I looked it up on Google, I came across this "review", and it says to me, that before I buy into this, I want to hear more. The review is rather extensive, and says it seems to be in "Beta".

Hard to believe, given Walmart's strict attention to quality, but enough of a warning to say... let's wait a bit.

I don't like the idea of paying $2000/yr, for TV and Telephone including cell phones, and Internet access... and this looked to be a partial answer, but I think I'll wait bit before taking the plunge int dropping TV.

Boxee TV Review: Not Ready For Primetime | Popular Science

Will look forward to hearing from anyone here, about their experience.
I would be really surprised if one can receive anything other than free broadcast channels with that device. There's simply no legal way to get cable networks without subscribing to a cable or satellite service.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:32 AM   #7
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Boxee appears to be an over-the-air DVR with 'cloud' storage rather than a self-contained hard drive. It has some cable recording capability as well, although I don't know what qualifies as 'unencrypted' programming:

Quote:
Boxee TV can record over-the-air TV using an antenna, as well as unencrypted basic cable via its built-in QAM tuner.
Boxee TV - Digital Media Receivers - CNET Reviews
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:02 AM   #8
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I would be really surprised if one can receive anything other than free broadcast channels with that device. There's simply no legal way to get cable networks without subscribing to a cable or satellite service.
Follow the link. Boxee names a dozen or so network shows. They don't say they are current episodes - in fact, they don't say much at all. But they clearly have some type of network programming.

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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Boxee appears to be an over-the-air DVR with 'cloud' storage rather than a self-contained hard drive. It has some cable recording capability as well, although I don't know what qualifies as 'unencrypted' programming:

Boxee TV - Digital Media Receivers - CNET Reviews
Unencrypted programming will be the basic network stuff in both sd and hd format. Probably the same channels one could get OTA.

This is set up to appear as if it could replace a cable subscription, which is not likely. What I found most noteworthy of the boxee web site is the lack of useful information. Still, it looks like an option to keep in mind for people looking for something to complement a basic cable subscription.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:08 AM   #9
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I love my AppleTV.

My computer is not involved. AppleTV connects my TV directly to the Internet.

I currently subscribe to Hulu+. $7.99/month and with our high speed Internet connection we get to watch things in high def 1080. The quality is awesome.

We can rent movies through iTunes if we want, but we never got around to it. Might have to catch that new James Bond movie though.

I can watch things on my iPad or laptop if I want, but I generally prefer the direct TV connection.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:44 PM   #10
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I love my AppleTV..
+1. We're downloading a couple of movies/ tv shows a week in addition to our Netflix 1 disk subscription. I need to look into Hulu - maybe we'll be able to drop Netflix
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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Two clips from the article. Looks to me as if the network reception is from either the built in antenna, or your own antenna... Either way, in my case, no reception... We're in a dead signal area, where the only reception is available from a part time religious station. To get the "free signal, would require a tower and a super array antenna I think...

Ercerpts:
Quote:
In New York, after a lot of testing and rearranging, my antenna picked up 45 channels. Pretty good! But the only channels of those 45 I'd ever really watch are the broadcast networks--NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, Fox, CW, maybe Univision if I want to see how bad my Spanish has gotten since high school. The others are all local channels, largely in languages I don't speak or sometimes even recognize. Boxee will tell you that you'll get the vast majority of the top shows on TV with those channels, even though you won't have access to basic cable channels like FX, TBS, CNN, Comedy Central, or MTV, let alone premium channels like HBO and Showtime.
..............................................
There's no way to pause live TV, which is extra annoying because live TV plays in the background, at full volume, when you browse. Shut up, Cash Cab. Recordings are not faithful about actually starting and ending when the show starts and ends; it's almost always five seconds before or after, and it doesn't adjust if a show is pushed back because of a football game or something. The antenna seems not great: when I watch recordings of some shows, they'll vacillate between a "no signal" error and perfect HD. What the hell? Which one is it? I even substituted a Leaf antenna, which are supposed to be amazing, to no avail (you can use any antenna you want with the Boxee TV, though it includes a decent little one.)
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