To Stream or Not to Stream

As technology has boomed in the last few decades, perhaps nothing has changed and evolved as much as visual entertainment.  What we watch has changed, and how it’s filmed has changed, but more than anything, how we watch it has changed.  Visual entertainment technology has evolved so rapidly that Blu-ray discs – the next step after DVDs – seemed to already be passed off as ancient and old technology before they’d even been fully accepted and familiarized to the general public.  This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all, as the newest king of technology – streaming – seems to be evolving and revolutionizing with every passing day.  In order to have the best home theater setup, you need to have all the information for watching shows, movies, sports, and even viral videos.  Here’s what you need to know about streaming technology.

The popular services and the players

As streaming has evolved, a few different methods and companies have established themselves as the prominent players. Netflix originally tried to put a corner on the market, but Amazon Instant Video and Hulu have stepped in and identified themselves as formidable players. All three of these services allow users to stream popular TV shows and movies (though Hulu is far behind Netflix and Amazon as far as film is concerned), as well as original content.

Since streaming is accomplished through the internet, there needs to be a way to play these services on your TV, which is where the popular players come in.  Home theater accessories have truly revolutionized TV watching, starting with the Google Chromecast.  The Chromecast is a small USB stick that plugs into either your TV or your receiver.  Through the Chromecast app on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can stream from select services – such as Netflix, WatchESPN, and YouTube – and have them play through your TV, while you control it from your device.  Amazon has recently followed in Google’s footsteps, and has created their version of the same device, the Fire TV Stick.

Another great technology for streaming is a Smart TV, which has internet connectivity so that you can stream websites directly on the TV.  Accessories such as Apple TV also allow you to do this.

The new trends

While streaming started out with all-inclusive services – through Netflix you can watch thousands of different shows and movies – the new trend is more niche-oriented streaming.  In sports, the NFL, NBA, and MLB have all released packages that allow you to watch all out-of-market games.  HBO recently released HBO Go, which allows you to watch the station even if you don’t have it in your TV package.  It’s likely that many more niche markets will follow suit.

The future

We’ve seen a glimpse of the future, as earlier this year Dish Network unveiled Dish Sling, which allows users to stream some of the most popular channels – such as ESPN, CNN, and the Foot Network – for only $20 a month.  Dish’s brilliant innovation seems to be the future of home theater entertainment.  Services such as Dish Sling allow people to forgo the increasingly irrelevant high prices of TV service providers.  We can already stream most movies and TV shows without paying nearly $100 a month for satellite TV, and soon we’ll be able to stream all of our live shows as well.

All of that makes the future of the home theater very exciting. Make sure you keep up with the latest in home theater technology by taking a trip to Cinemagic Home Theater. At Cinemagic Home Theater, our home theater design consultants stay up to date on the latest in audio and visual technology to bring you the best home theater equipment on the market. Call us today for a free home theater consultation and get started on your custom home theater installation!