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Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions for Beginners

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Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions for Beginners
« on: October 03, 2015, 07:14:10 PM »
In this thread you will find common terms that are often used by those that have cut the cord. This will help new cord cutters learn the basic terms and lingo which are often thrown about.

Feel free to ask questions by posting in this forum if you need further clarification.



Cutting the cord does not mean taking a wire cutter to your cable TV line coming into your home. This wire is still necessary for your broadband cable modem or a TV antenna.

A cord cutter is someone that has made the decision to stop paying for cable TV from a satellite or Cable TV provider. They are tired of being told what to watch and when they can watch it. Instead they choose to watch their content from places on the internet which offer on demand videos.

Many cord cutters choose to subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant. This can result in a significant savings every month compared to what they were paying to their cable TV provider.

As an added benefit of cord cutting, much of the content that is found on the internet does not contain commercials.

Some cord cutters seek their content from other sources which are free but contain copyrighted material. These sites are often riddled with ads and some may even contain malware which can infect and harm your computer.



Be sure to bookmark this page, we will continue adding more terms and definitions that will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about streaming television and cutting the cord.


Additional Resources:
Beginner's Guide to Media Streaming
More Resources for Cord Cutters

« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 10:34:47 AM by Admin »
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Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (Streaming)
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 09:01:35 PM »
Streaming is pretty much the opposite of downloading. When you download a file, the entire file must be saved on your computer before you are able to play it. Streaming lets you watch the video content which is sent in a compressed form on demand over the Internet. This is watched in real time.



Streaming does not take up much space on your hard drive since you are only viewing files instead of downloading them. This brings up the question, if you stream a movie from a non licensed site on the internet is it legal?

This following article will help shed some light, but the short answer is yes... for now.

On the Legality of Watching Unlicensed TV Streams


In order to stream a video file from the internet and watch it on your television you will need to buy a media streamer. We will cover this in more depth in another post.

« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 10:01:15 AM by Admin »
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Re: Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (Buffering)
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 09:23:31 PM »
Buffering is pre-loading a small amount of data into memory before playing the file. By having enough data in the buffer it will prevent starting and stopping while watching.

 

Depending on the speed of the web server which contains the video file, or your Internet broadband plan, the file may need several seconds or even a few minutes before the video will start playing this is called buffering.

If you have ever tried to watch a movie on a slow connection, the movie will play for a minute or two and then stop while the buffer fills back up. Then play for a few more minutes and stop. This get's annoying pretty fast. Fortunately this hardly ever happens with sites like Netflix or Amazon unless you have a really slow Internet connection.


« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 10:01:55 AM by Admin »
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Re: Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (HDMI)
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2015, 08:00:12 PM »
The cable and port that transmits both the audio and high definition video signal from a media streamer to a modern television is called a HDMI cable. Some televisions only have one HDMI input. This is accessed by pressing an input button on your remote that will switch from your normal TV channels to another input which your media streamer or DVD player is plugged into.



For some people this may be confusing so let's try to make it a little easier to understand. Picture a a clock that only has 4 numbers, 12, 3, 6, 9. Now pictures that each of these four numbers on the clock represent one of the inputs on your TV. So 12:00 would become Input 1, 3:00 would become input 2, 6:00 would become input 3, and 9:00 would become input 4. Now each time you press the input button on your remote the clock jumps forward to the next number round and round in a circle.

Now let's say your Live TV comes from either a satellite or cable box that is attached by a HDMI cable to Input 1, and your Roku or other media streamer is on Input 2, and your DVD player is on Input 3. Input 4 has nothing attached to it and you would just get a black screen or a message saying nothing is connected when that input was selected. The clock example shows you that each input button press on a remote will keep advancing the television to the next input.

If your television has only one HDMI input, a HDMI switcher will allow you to hook multiple HDMI cables and devices to your TV. Since almost everything we buy today uses HDMI, a switcher is a good idea if you have limited HDMI ports.

The one we used in the past is made by Knivo and comes with it's own remote control. It worked really well. You can get it on Amazon for $30. Click here for more info.




Additional Resources:
HDMI Cables - Save Your Money Unless Your Rich

« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 09:56:31 AM by Admin »
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Re: Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (Antenna)
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 11:02:20 AM »
An antenna is a great way for Cord cutters to watch free HD television.
Most of the local channels you pay extra for with Satellite are available for free with an antenna.



Antennas can vary from the very basic like a small Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna to the giant roof top mounted antenna that you can rotate to obtain the best signal by remote control.


Some things to consider when buying an antenna, if you live closer to the television transmitters towers you may be able to get by with a small indoor antenna set behind your TV. The further away you live, the larger antenna you will need.

Besides distance other things that can affect the television signal are natural obstacles like trees and hills. Man-made obstacles like tall buildings can also adversely affect your TV signal. Check your location on the FCC website which has a map that will show the channels you can expect to receive with an antenna.




Enter your Zip code and move the red pointer on the map to the exact location where you live. It will show you which channels you can expect to receive.

Tips on Antenna Placement
When placing an antenna, the higher up you can get it, the better signal you will receive.
Placing an antenna in the attic as high as possible, will often provide a signal almost as good as if it was mounted on the roof. Plus you wont need to look at it and it won't require grounding for lightning protection. Also high winds won't affect it. The down side is unless your attic is huge, an antenna rotator will be next to impossible to install.


Antenna Cost Vs Quality
Don't be misled into thinking you need to purchase a super expensive antenna. It won't give you any better picture than an inexpensive or even homemade antenna. A better quality antenna will have better stainless steel hardware that will hold up better to the elements if placed outside.

HD digital signals are different than the old analog signal. It is less prone to interference and while a weak signal may come and go. A strong digital signal won't exhibit snow or other picture issues analog TV was subject to.


Setting Up Your Antenna
1. Plug your antenna into your antenna port on your TV.
2. You will then need to then go into your TV settings and do a channel scan. This will take a few minutes and when done all your digital channels should appear.
3. If you do not get any channels from a small antenna next to your TV is to try a larger antenna outside or in your attic. Before you go to the trouble of installing your antenna. First make sure it will work by laying it up on your roof and running a cable to your television, then re-scan the channels again.
 


Additional Resources:
Top Rated HD Antennas
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 04:15:46 PM by Admin »
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Re: Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (OTA)
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 01:55:09 PM »
Previously we talked about antennas. The term OTA and Antennas often go hand-in-hand as it is used and talked about in the streaming community.

OTA is simply an acronym that stands for "Over The Air" and is often used together with the word Antenna. An OTA Antenna allows you to watch many Free network broadcast channels that cable and satellite companies will charge for. These are channels that come across the air waves like radio. Network channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS contain some of the best prime time television series.



The signal quality from an OTA Antenna is breathtaking. Not only will you get full 1080p HD, it's not compressed like the signal from satellite or cable TV providers. The reason they compress their signal so much is because their bandwidth is limited and they try to squeeze in as many channels as they can. Many of their additional channels are not worth watching. Even though they may claim to offer 100 plus channels, a typical subscriber may end up watching only a dozen or so of the better channels on a regular basis.


These are some of the OTA Channels you can expect to receive depending on your antenna size and distance to stations.



Channel Master OTA Roof or Attic Antenna with a 100 Mile Range
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 04:36:56 PM by Admin »
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Re: Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (Broadband Modem)
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 03:58:48 PM »
Streaming content from the Internet requires a fast connection and a broadband modem.



The old dial up 56K modems will not work for streaming. A minimum of 3 Megabits per second (3Mbps) Internet connection or faster is required for streaming television. DSL is typically slower and is a service that is provided by your local phone company with average download rates of 3-12Mbps and prices that start at $30 a month. Cable broadband is much faster around 60Mpbs or more and also more expensive at approximately $60 a month.

While the people that already pay for the Internet, this should not be a problem. If you don't have the Internet and want to cut the cord, this cost should be figured into the price.

Cable modems can be rented our purchased outright. They are not interchangeable between DSL and Cable broadband. It is a much better deal to buy one outright as the costs associated with renting a broadband modem can really start adding up.

One of the top rated cable modems on Amazon, the ARRIS SURFboard SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 only costs $69. To rent a cable modem from a cable company can cost anywhere from $8 to $10 a month. You can see buying your own broadband cable modem is a much better deal.

How to Hook up a Broadband Cable Modem
1. Plug in either your phone line for DSL or Cable TV wire if you have Cable to the back of the modem.
2. Plug in an Ethernet patch wire directly to your computer or media streamer (your modem should come with one) if not you can order one the size you need... here.
3. Call your Internet company and they will configure your Broadband Modem on their network.


If you want a wireless network, you will need to buy a WiFi Router. This is not necessary if your modem has a Wifi Router built in. Our preference is to to keep these separate. In case one goes bad they cost less to replace or upgrade. We will cover Wifi Routers in more detail next.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2015, 07:04:42 PM by Admin »
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Re: Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (WiFi)
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2015, 05:28:24 PM »
WiFi is a simple way to connect multiple devices to the internet wirelessly. It will allow your media streamer to communicate with your computer to transfer files, or stream files directly from the internet.



Because WiFi uses a radio signal to communicate, it can be prone to interference from other household devices. It also is subject to distance and barrier limitations as well.

WiFi is also not as fast as a hard wired network connection. Although, with every generation of the WiFi standard the speed keeps increasing. WiFi is often used by those new to streaming for the simple convenience. Running wires under carpet and though walls makes it the simple choice for many.

Precautions should be taken when setting up your WiFi that you encrypt your connection. You would not want your neighbor's kid downloading and sharing music on your internet account or worse, so be sure to add a password when setting up your WiFi.

Here are some great instructions for setting up your WiFi network to make it secure.


« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 04:38:11 PM by Admin »
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Re: Streaming 101 - Terms and Definitions (Router)
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2015, 05:58:44 PM »
A WiFi Router is another tool streamers will need when setting up their home network.



Unless you only have one device like a media streamer plugged in by a hard wire and nothing else at home that uses the internet you would not need to buy a WiFi Router. For most households this is not the case. We now have multiple smart phones, tablets, laptops, game boxes and other "Smart devices" all needing access to the internet often at the same time.

Next to your broadband connection, a high quality wireless router is the second most important component for those wanting to set up a home network for their internet.  A router acts as a traffic cop of sorts to help forward data between the internet or devices. It will filter and send the data packets to the right device. It allows your computer to send files to your media streamer, while your kids are playing online games with their internet connected Play Station. All at the same time while Mom is sending a recipe to her sister across the country on Facebook.

Not only can they use WiFi to wirelessly connect to various devices. Routers have several ports that use Ethernet wires. This is the most secure connection as it runs a wire directly from your Router to your computer or streamer. This also provides the fastest internet connection possible.


802.11AC the Current Fastest WiFi Standard
When shopping for a new wireless router, make sure it supports the new AC standard. This is currently the fastest standard for WiFi and many new media streamers like the new UHD 4K Roku 4 and Fire TV now support this.



Top AC WiFi Routers. Click here for more info, read reviews and check prices.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 04:39:46 PM by Admin »
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