Image: Roku screenshot by HD Report

Streaming TV is a term that basically describes the ability to watch television over the internet. In the past, internet bandwidths were not big enough to allow a consistent stream of video (at least high quality) over an internet connection. But nowadays, video can be streamed even in high-definition quality (720p, 1080p) to television sets, PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices.

4k, the next evolution in video resolution, is not quite there in terms of available bandwidth. At a recommended speed of 25 Megabits per second, not everyone has enough bandwidth to support the resolution that is four-times higher than Full HD (1080p) video. See below for recommended bandwidths for streaming video.

There are several ways to stream TV, but all of them require an internet connection.

PCs & Macs
PCs (Windows, Linux, Macintosh) can stream TV via web browsers or other video applications. Popular browsers include Chrome, Safari (Mac), FireFox, Opera, Edge, and the now discontinued Internet Explorer.

Streaming media players
Devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku allow you to stream television channels to a connected TV.

Tablets, Smartphones, Mobile Devices
You can also stream television on tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices via apps made for Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) platforms.

Smart TVs, Gaming consoles, and Blu-ray disc players
Believe it or not some people bypass traditional cable and satellite TV set-top boxes and stream TV through apps for Smart TVs, gaming consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and Blu-ray Disc players.

The television industry has not completely converted to internet, however. But many networks, including premium channels such as HBO and Showtime, are offering over-the-top programming through subscriptions without a TV service contract.

Recommended video streaming bandwidths for streaming:

  • 0.5 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
  • 1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
  • 3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for SD quality
  • 5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
  • 25 Megabits per second – Recommended for Ultra HD quality

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