The Complete Guide To Streaming

Silence might be golden, but streaming is platinum. An increasing number of people are getting tired of the (really) limited options available on traditional television, and the fact that they’re missing out on the hype of some of the greatest currently airing TV shows as it happens – and, well, most people grew tired of 7de Laan years ago with no amount of resurrection able to save it, unless they try that alien abduction thing Days of Our Lives did somewhere in the nineties.

Here’s more about how streaming works, just how much data/bandwidth you can expect your streaming connection to use – and some of the best streaming services available for South Africans.

Streaming Boxes

If you want to stream movies and TV shows, you can see a streaming box as the modern equivalent of a satellite decoder – it just does stuff online. Streaming boxes hook up to your TV (smart, HD or not) and allow you to stream from online networks such as Netflix or Hulu.

Some types of streaming boxes and apps will allow you to upload files for viewing (in the same way as you would to a USB-supported TV), while some types of streaming boxes allow you to save shows and movies for later viewing. If you were wondering, Netflix only supports the save-for-later feature on mobile devices.

Some of the best, recommended streaming boxes on the market right now are the Google ChromeCast or Roku Streaming Stick . Both are affordable and easy-to-use, so you don’t need a course in IT to figure out how to use it.

Streaming Bandwidth: How Much?

According to the official Netflix Help section , streaming movies and TV shows through Netflix will use approximately 1GB per hour on standard definition – and 3GB per hour for high-definition quality video.

According to Android Central , streaming through YouTube will use approximately 0.7GB per hour on standard video. The highest set high-definition quality video is estimated to use about 3GB per hour.

This is an excellent guideline for just how much bandwidth your streaming will use; to cut down on bandwidth, switch to streaming video at a lower quality instead.

How fast should your internet connection measure for effective streaming? Also according to the Netflix Help section, a connection of at least 3.0 MB per second is recommended for streaming standard quality video – and the higher quality video you want to see, the faster internet connection you’ll need to do it without buffering.

Streaming: What Are the Options?

  • Netflix: Netflix is one of the biggest players in the entertainment market at the moment, and they offer a huge range of the best traditional programming – and a lot of Netflix original shows that are too good to miss! If you want to go with Netflix, their basic package costs R99 per month and their Premium plan R169 – it’s still cheaper than satellite, and it’s way better, too.

  • Showmax: Showmax is often mentioned in the same breath as Netflix, and the two have proved to be almost equally popular – and the two are often compared. Showmax will cost you R99 per month, and the only thing that really sets Showmax and Netflix apart is what shows they have to offer. While there’s a lot of matching content, there are some gems only available on one or the other.

  • Amazon Prime: Amazon Prime has only recently launched in South Africa, and they’ve already built up a strong customer base. Again, there’s a lot that’s the same as Netflix and Showmax, but there are many titles available (including very obscure ones) that are only available on Amazon Prime. It’s a great added subscription to your first, and should cost you only around $2.99 per month. 

  • YouTube Movies: YouTube has been dominating the personal video sharing (and probably cat video) market since its very beginning – and now they’re hoping to give streaming services a run for their money with the introduction of YouTube Movies, where you can stream a variety of popular titles and pay per flick. 

  • Sony Crackle: Love old movies and shows? Then Sony Crackle offers you exactly what you’re looking for in the form of free movies and TV shows from way back when.

What’s your favourite show or movie streaming at the moment, or what’s your favourite service that we haven’t mentioned here? Get in touch with us through the comments!