Ever heard about Netflix, UFC, Crackle, Cinepolis, Google Play, TuneIn, Spotify… one of those streaming channels? Nowadays there isn’t a soul with Internet access that hasn’t used this benefits. But what are streaming channels and how are they taking overt TV?
Streaming channels are multimedia that is continuously received and represented to users while being distributed by a provider. The verb "to stream” refers to the procedure of broadcasting, the method of delivering the medium, similar to file transferring. So, when a user begins to play the files (for example a movie, TV show or radio), the complete data hasn’t been yet transferred. Most of the transmitting systems are innately streaming (TV, Radio) or inherently nonstreaming (like audio files, games, and books). For a live streaming, we need a source media, a certain encoder to digitize the files, a broadcasting commissioner, and a linkage to provide and distribute the content. Streaming channels turn out to be widely held in the late 2000s when the bandwidth was reduced enough for a lot of the populace. Nonetheless, with the technology of broadcasting a file can be transferred and watched at the same time, not having to wait at all.
Before streaming technology was launched on April 1955 (with the release of RealAudio), multimedia content playback over the internet necessarily implied having to completely download the "container file” to the local hard disk. As audio files and specifically those of video – tend to be huge, their download and access as complete packages turns into a very slow-moving operation.
Since the nineties, the Internet has revolutionized the cultural industries, destabilizing the dichotomy between mass media and interpersonal communication. One can say that the Internet has become a medium that gives us experience in our daily lives, both as consumption, as well as leisure and has entered the phase of progress and maturity over recent years with the help of technology.
The Internet in general and the consumption of TV and entertainment through the network, in particular, have been a decisive step in the history of humankind where the complex scenario of new users who enter the web daily in order to find news and be entertained for a while.
A few years back, transmitting a live event (Streaming and Broadcasting) needed a technical team, several people, who would be responsible for the transportation of the equipment, recording, editing content, and rental of a satellite. Nowadays, thanks to the advances in technology, broadcasting has become something much simpler and inexpensive thanks to computers that do not need to be transported by more than one person and streamed via satellite, using 3G and 4G with SIM cards (the same as the ones in our phones). A clear example is the broadcast backpacks or appliances in a small size that fit in our pocket or are attached to a camera through the battery system.
One of the best examples of the streaming and broadcasting channels is Netflix, founded by Reed Hastings, known by his capacity for innovation and adaptation to the changes on the market. His main business model is DVD rental online, delivered by mail (not the digital one), his second business model is the original service but by streaming movies, online rental for DVD. Netflix has a system of recommendations for movies rental according to the profile of each client. The company is well positioned on the market reaching to 81 million subscribers worldwide, 47 million customers only in the United States. The wide acquisition of securities offered is what makes satisfying the customer and it brings profits to the business. The spreading of Netflix outside of USA has caused much excitement and curiosity on the network, and they aren’t who have agreed to give their payment information so they can test the package for free for a month. It’s a king service in its category, and therefore has not gone unnoticed. But, no, Netflix is not the "golden” dream where we can see everything that we can imagine: there are a lot of TV Shows that have captured the attention in the past years, and a lot of productions outside of USA. Every day they only add more and more TV Shows and movies. Their policy is regular innovations. Netflix has appeared out of nowhere and now is well-matched with the majority of mobile devices, on millions of televisions and on practically every possible computer thanks to its web interface with HTML5. This is where other services are lacking, they have taken longer to have such support.
And it is for that purpose that Netflix shows very well the "binge-watching” factor: when you finish a chapter of a TV Show, the same interface encourages you to start another one quickly skipping the opening. And it happens on every screen you have. This, mixed with its recommendation engine makes it easy to check regularly what you can see. No other services have been able to have this formula as effectively. Finally, we must highlight the quality of streaming. Netflix takes a few seconds to offer you a TV Show with 1080p (some have glitches, but it seems a problem of Movistar), and a few can boast of having contents with 4k quality. Suddenly, having a good internet connection is worth more.
But, what about Twitch? Have you heard about it, have you used it? This video streaming service has been in the news recently after the acquisition by Amazon, and has presented stratospheric numbers: it is being used by more than 45 million users each month. The first contact with Twitch occurs through our websites. This online streaming service always transmits video in real time on our home page. That is the main thing about Twitch: players can transmit their games, live or delayed, and share their experiences both with friends and with Internet users worldwide. But when we say public, we also mean competition. Twitch is the simplest and interactive way to follow major electronic sports tournaments. These competitions, where professional players are involved, sometimes distribute millions of dollars in prize money. Recently the site posted mobile applications for Android and iOS, letting your entree to all videos. Listed gamers can also make comments in real time. During real-time emissions on Twitch, the protagonists of the video are often filming themselves with a webcam while live broadcasting their games. In addition, gamers occasionally use an incomprehensible jargon for those who are uninitiated in video games, which closely resembles a lingua franca. There is no censorship, insults and profanities are part of the culture on Twitch. This video portal is aimed primarily – if not exclusively – to gamers. Today it is one of the most active areas related to the culture of video gamers.
Spotify is another streaming service, one of the best services to listen, download, share, and discover new music. It is an application launched in 2008 that consents users to listen to music directly from the cloud without having to download it first. It has an incredible database with over 30 million songs, so it is not an embellishment to say that whatever your taste in music is here you will be well taken care of. Today is one of the fastest growing music services worldwide. You can use the app completely free even on your TV, but it has a premium version where the best benefits are available. It is available in 58 countries, and only in Switzerland, his native country, has 70% of all musical income. The main advantages of Spotify Premium are that you don’t have to listen to ads that appear every five or six songs in the free version, also you can download music to hear it offline, which is advantageous when you don’t have an internet source nearby, such as in the case of flights or subways. The only thing you need to use this app is an Internet connection and a gadget where you can run the app, such as a tablet, smartphone, PC or TV connected to the network. Although the benefits on every gadget are different, Spotify focuses on playing music. If we rely on the good statistics, a good part of the population is using this application with a total of 60 million active users where 20% of them use the Premium version. Maybe it is true that Pandora has 80 million of active users, but only 3,5 million of them pay for the service.
If you are using any of these streaming services, we recommend trying others, because each of them has the opportunity for free trial, because although we all have different tastes, perhaps you will settle for it or find more material to your liking on another server. Because we have all seen how the streaming TV is increasing its spreading and more and more people are using it instead of TV. Even more with smart TVS where you have constant access to Internet connection and you can broadcast your favorite movie, TV Show or even listen to the radio at any time of the day or night. Streaming channels are the future of home entertainment.