Streaming has become very popular recently and is now the most popular way to listen to music or watch content in the US. Australians aren’t far behind in adopting the affordable new technology.
Streaming data means to receive data as a steady, continuous flow. For the purpose of video and music, this means that the content can be watched instantly, without having to wait for the entire file to download. You’ve probably streamed before, using websites such as YouTube, but streaming has grown so much that you might be surprised by just how much content is available to stream, and how affordable it is.
How to stream to your devices
Streaming services are available on PC and Mac and by simply visiting the website you can watch content on your computer. So if you have a recent laptop, you may be able to plug it straight in to your TV to watch whatever you want on your TV. Check and see if your TV and laptop have HDMI inputs. If they do, you can run an HDMI cable between the two and enjoy your content on the big screen.
All streaming providers will also have apps available on iTunes and Google Play so you can watch content on your smartphone or tablet, which is great for watching in bed or around the house. Just make sure you don’t accidentally use your mobile data plan, as streaming will tear through your data plan very quickly.
The easiest way to stream content on your TV is probably to purchase a Google Chromecast. This device plugs in to your TV and is controlled using a smartphone or tablet.
A Google Chromecast costs $59 and is easy to set up and install. They’re available from plenty of electronics stores in Australia, including Officeworks and JB HiFi.
Popular streaming services
The best thing about streaming services is that you can try before you buy. All the services listed below offer free one-month trials.
Netflix Australia – $8.99 to $14.99 per month
The most popular streaming option worldwide, Netflix Australia offers a large range of TV series, movies and documentaries, including popular original content such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.
Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and certain Sony, LG, Philips, Panasonic, Hisense and Samsung Smart TVs.
Stan – $10 per month
Selection of TV shows and movies including original Aussie TV series Wolf Creek and No Activity, as well as classics such as Seinfeld and Twin Peaks.
Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and certain Sony, LG and Samsung Smart TVs.
7,000 hours of content is available with Quickflix, who offer streaming subscriptions and/or a postal disc rental service (with no late fees). Prices vary depending on which plan you choose, and while some content is available to stream as part of the subscription fee, other premium content must be paid for.
Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and certain Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and LG Smart TVs.
MUBI – $9.99 per month
For the film buffs out there, MUBI offers a new film every day that can be watched for up to 30 days, so at any point in time you have 30 films to choose from. MUBI offers a broad range of international films, from big-budget award winners to overlooked independents.
Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and some Samsung Smart TVs.
The services above all offer subscriptions, but if you prefer paying a fee for each piece of content you would like to watch, you may want to look at Dendy Direct, BigPond Movies, Google Play Movies or iTunes.
Choice.com.au have a great comparison of Aussie streaming providers to help you choose. Their chart is comprehensive and available here.
Do you have a streaming service already? Which sounds the most enticing to you?