How to Stream Movies and TV Shows on Your Smartphone
By Paul O’Reilly
I always used to think that streaming movies or TV shows to a smartphone or tablet would be the ultimate mobile achievement. Not only would we have broken free of our landlines and desktop computers, but we would have finally cast-off that one last connection to the living room couch – the TV.
As it turns out, the reality of streaming movies and other content to our mobile devices has come about much faster than I imagined. Although the major broadcast networks may still not be ready to allow us anytime, anywhere access to live programming, we can usually see our favorite TV shows within hours of their original broadcast time. And it’s never been easier to find great movies, with a variety of services offering thousands of choices, from all-time classics to the latest new releases.
Of course, the key to quality viewing is a super-fast network, and for serious TV and movie buffs that means 4G LTE. With Verizon’s 4G LTE network providing data transfer speeds up to eight times faster than 3G, there is none of that annoying buffering or lag to interrupt your mobile entertainment enjoyment.
If you’re looking to join the world of on-the-go streaming, there are plenty of options. Here are just a few of the choices:
Despite some controversial pricing moves last year, Netflix remains the most popular movie streaming service on the market. Free apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, and the first month’s service is also free. After that, you pay $7.99 a month for unlimited movies and TV episodes, which can also be streamed to your computer, gaming console, and yes, even your TV!
There are thousands of movies and TV shows to choose from. Although 4G or Wi-Fi produces the best streaming results, Netflix employs variable rate streaming, so it’s always smooth and viewable, even if you are watching on a 3G device.
Most people are familiar with Hulu, which lets you watch selected TV episodes and clips on your PC. But you can now get Hulu Plus, which is a subscription based service offering access to a much broader selection of hit TV shows across a range of connected devices, including the iOS platform and various Android smartphones and tablets.
Generally Hulu Plus will offer all episodes of the current season of a host of popular shows, including Glee, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Law & Order, and dozens more. Shows are streamed in HD where available and carry limited advertising. Hulu Plus costs $7.99 a month with a 1-week free trial.
Verizon has its own streaming option in Verizon Video, a subscription-based service with access to over 250 full-length episodes of popular TV shows, as well as local and national news and weather, and studio and live sports programming. Verizon Video is available for select Android and BlackBerry devices and costs $10 per month or $3 for daily access. You can also extend the Verizon Video experience to full-length movies with an additional subscription to Crackle.
One thing to remember with streaming movies and TV shows is to make sure you stay within your data plan. A two-hour full-length movie can consume as much as 500 MB of data, which means that just four movies are enough to use up a standard monthly data allowance of 2 GB. If you are a big movie-watcher, you might want to upgrade your plan or watch your movies over Wi-Fi, which doesn’t count towards your data allocation.
Do you use other video streaming services? Share them with The Online Mom!