You may have noticed recently a trend towards people watching TV and movies from their computer or from the Internet via little boxes attached to their TV.
These are common and often used in addition to the television. There are range of different types and brands to choose from and the prices will vary between them.
There are several ways different ways that you can increase your access to movies, music and TV shows and the one that suits you best will probably depend on what you like to watch and how much you want to pay.
We will talk about some of the little boxes that you can add to your TV first and then we will discuss subscriptions you can pay for. Many of the paid subscriptions will require a device to stream them to your television, but there are a range of choice and if you don’t want to pay to stream them to your TV then you can always just watch them on your computer.
A general way of viewing these devices is to think of them as having the movie part of the internet connected to your television, so that many (but not everything) that you are able to watch over the internet you can also stream (watch) via the TV.
Most boxes are linked to a company, companies or particular brands that are available online and while some of the paid subscriptions such as YouTube, may be largely free of charge, some such as Stan or Netflix may have a minimum monthly fee (somewhere between 5 and 20 dollars) that allows you access to them. Others still may work in a similar fashion to a video store, where you pay for movies that you “rent” or “buy”. Let us now look at some of the devices available and how they work, remembering that these are examples only and , this is only to offer you an overview of what is available as the list keeps increasing as popularity grows.
This is a small device that is sold at both apple stores and in electronic shops and it cost around a two hundred and sixty dollars to buy the device.
You are able to listen to music and videos you may have downloaded over your apple devices(along as you have them synced with the device).
You can also access Youtube Vevo, Vimeo, Flickr and sports channels.
Some of these you will need to pay for while other or some content on some of them may be free. What this device allows you to do is to, purchase via your apple account a movie that you may want to watch. The great thing about this device is that you can choose to either purchase the movie, and it will be stored in memory so you can watch it again and again, or in a similar vein to a movie store, you are able to rent the movie for a small fee, and watch it for a set amount of time only.
This device also allows you to watch something you are watching on any other device, such as your computer phone, or iPad on the TV. This can only happen if they both have airplay mode enabled.
Setup is fairly simple, although using the remote can be a little tricky at first and slightly time consuming.
There are a range of different Roku models available and they range from about the mid forty dollar range to the low hundred dollar range. The great feature of Roku is that it is not bound to one company such as apple or Google. This means that you are not limited by what they have in their libraries; rather you have a broader range to choose from. Again it works in a similar way to apple TV, in that it is a box that sits on your TV and you have a stick that you use as the remote. The buttons however are much larger than those of the apple TV, but not as pretty.
The Roku will allow you to stream most things, except those that are branded so you will not be able to stream Apple TV or music or Google Music. But most other services are available
In Australia you most commonly find that the Roku has been rebranded by Telstra as the Telstra box, they have used the more basic model of the Roku.
Here is an article that goes into a little more technical detail
Subscription based services are available over the Internet and you can simply join by visiting their website. Some of the subscription-based services have a free trial period. But make sure you remember when your trial is up and some of them will automatically charge you unless you opt out.
I would probably start by using a subscription-based service on your computer and if you like it and would like to watch it on your TV only then would I buy a box to stream it. You might find that you like watching it on your laptop or your computer, and that you don’t need a box. T is important to remember the different subscription services are very similar to different video shops, some content may be the same, but they all do offer different movies and TV shows, with some even making their own TV shows and movies.
Costs $10 a month and is owned by nine and Fairfax media, it has more Australian content that many of the other and offers a free trial period. It can be viewed online or through a box. Stan has started to produce some of its own content.
This is probably the largest of the companies that we will look at and it has a range of different pricing point, it is important to note it is probably worth paying for the HD. The pricing will depend on what you want but if you don’t need HD and you only need to watch on one device at a time then it will cost $8.99, for $11.99 two devices can watch simultaneously and you will have HD and for $4.99 you can have 4 people watching simultaneously and ultra HD.
Netflix also produces its own content. Disney signed exclusive deal with Netflix in 2016.
There are many many more subscription services but below I have provided a range of articles that go into far more depth about the services and some of their competitors.
Netflix vs Stan
More of a Netflix focus
A range of subscription services in Australia