There were nearly 40 million people who ditched the traditional way of watching TV in favor of streaming content. That number is only going to grow over the next several years. Younger people are leading the way in streaming media. It seems that people, in general, are fed up with cable companies. It’s not surprising when you learn that cable packages have a lot of hidden fees that increase your cable bill by about 24%.
It’s easier than ever to stream media to your computer and take back your power from the cable companies. If you’ve been on the fence about streaming videos to your computer or your TV, now is the time to get started.
Read on to learn how to watch TV on your computer can get your favorite videos and games online.
The Technical Side of Streaming Media
It’s not difficult at all to stream media to your computer. You’ll need to have a computer that has a fast processor and enough RAM to handle the demands of streaming content.
If you rely on an old machine, you may be frustrated by a lot of buffering and delays.
How fast does your computer need to be in order to stream content? At a minimum, your computer needs to have about 4GB of RAM and a 1.3 GHz processor. To be safe, you should have about 8GB of RAM and about 4.2 GHz processing power.
You’ll be able to handle other tasks like video editing and video gaming with ease at the higher end of the spectrum.
The other thing you’ll need is a fast internet connection. You’ll still have to deal with the cable company in some way since most cable companies offer bundling deals for TV, internet, and phone.
How much you need depends on your situation at home. People who live alone will be just fine streaming 25 Mbps. People who have several people in the home streaming at the same time will need more bandwidth to handle all of that data at once.
You should look at getting at least 100 Mbps for streaming on multiple devices at the same time.
Have a Streaming Budget
One of the primary reasons why people are splitting from traditional cable companies is that the costs of cable are too high. You need to be careful when you choose streaming services because you could spend more on all of the streaming services combined than you do on cable.
How do you budget for online streaming services? Look at how much you’re paying for internet and cable TV each month. That’s the best way to make a comparison since cable companies bundle everything together.
Now figure out how much you’ll spend on internet access as a standalone service. Subtract that amount from what you normally spend on cable and internet. That’s your streaming budget.
For those cutting the cord to save money, you’ll want to lower that amount by the amount you want to save each month.
Pick Your Streaming Options
Once you have your budget set aside, you can then pick your streaming options. This will depend on what content you can’t live without.
For those looking to have regular TV access, Sling, YouTube TV, and Fubo TV are good options. Each one has a free trial so you can test out each service.
For movies and premium channels, you can get Showtime and HBO shows through their respective streaming services. HBO has three streaming services: HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max.
If you’re looking for soccer, it’s getting more complicated since different companies have broadcasting rights to different leagues.
BeIN Sports has Spain’s LaLiga Santander and Ligue 1 from France. CBS/CBS All Access has the rights to the NWSL, Europa League, and Champions League. NBC has the rights to England’s Premier League.
When you add up the costs for all of these services, take into account which matches you’ll want to see the most. Then choose which services offer those matches.
To stream international content, the streaming options get a bit tricky. Most streaming services have a geoblock that blocks people from outside of the country to view content.
There is a way around this by using a VPN service and stream content to your computer. For example, if you wanted to view content in Italy that’s blocked, you can set your VPN to a server-based in Italy.
That will help you get around the geoblock and get the content that you want.
What If You Want to Stream to Your TV?
There are some things that shouldn’t be seen on a small screen of your computer. More often than not, you just want to relax on the couch in front of a big-screen TV and stream media to the TV.
It is possible to do so, and there are a couple of ways to make that happen. The first is to get an HDMI cable and hook it up between your laptop and your TV.
Another way to do this without an HDMI cable is to use a device like a Fire Stick or Chromecast. These devices will allow you to mirror what’s on your computer to your TV.
Learn How to Stream Media
There’s a certain freedom when you stream media to your computer. You’re free from expensive cable plans and you get the content you want when you want it.
There are more options to stream media to your computer than ever, which is why you need to take a disciplined approach to stream media. You’ll need to start with a budget and then look at the types of content you want. You’ll then sign up with those services and stream until your heart’s content.
Head over to the utility section of this site for more tools to get the most out of your Windows machine.