Multitude of ways to see your favourite TV shows

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

It’s a fact that we do not watch TV as much as we used to.

We still watch TV shows, just not necessarily on the TV. Services like YouTube, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Sky Go, BT Sport and many others all allow us to watch our favourite shows online.

We can do this either by downloading entire programs to our computers and mobile devices and watching them at our leisure, or by streaming video content to our screens.

Streaming, in case you were wondering, means watching a show while it is downloading. Live streaming means watching something as it is being broadcast, which is similar to the way we consume content on a traditional TV set.

When you are downloading anything to watch, there are two main things to bear in mind. The speed of your connection and the capability of your device to display the video properly.

Your connection speed depends on two things as well. A good broadband speed is the first obstacle, the second is the speed of the connection between your computing device and your broadband router. If you aren’t plugged in using a network cable (otherwise known as an ethernet connection) you will need to make sure you have a good WiFi signal.

Thanks to calling plans it is fairly easy to get a good smartphone that can display video well. You will be limited to a teeny tiny screen though, which will not suit most people. A decent tablet doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, although I would advise against tablets that are below the £150 price bracket if you want to watch films or stream TV.

I would offer similar advice when purchasing a PC or laptop too. I was recently asked by a relative to connect a laptop to an HD TV so that they could stream live football matches on BT Sport. The WiFi connection was great, the fibre broadband was excellent and the TV displayed the laptop’s screen with perfect clarity. The picture was really jerky though and poor compared with an older PC with less RAM sitting nearby. The reason being the built in graphics processor and CPU weren’t up to scratch. Laptops can benefit from upgraded RAM, but that’s as far as it goes, so make sure you get one with decent graphics and processor from the start. PCs really come into their own when it comes to upgrading, as it is relatively simple to upgrade the RAM, the CPU and dedicated graphics card. That is fine if you are upgrading an older machine, but if you are buying something new, then spending a little more at the start can save you a lot of hassle later.

Alan Stainer