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Upgrading to fibre means upgrading the way you consume media and entertainment. With a faster download speed, it makes the most sense to stream the bulk of your entertainment, from TV series to movies and music. It may be the best time to re-assess what services you’re paying for, including satellite TV subscriptions, and switch to something more suited to a fibre connection; and in that process, save a fair amount of money.
Here are some options based on your current lifestyle and the gadgets you own.
If you have a smart TV, chances are you have an app store tied to it. Some of the larger manufacturers have stores with a wide selection of apps that are usually free to download, region dependent. One of the draw cards of signing up to a particular streaming service is having easy access via your TV, straight from your remote. Do a quick search on your app store to see what options are available to you. Showmax, for example, currently has smart TV apps for Samsung, LG and HiSense. A subscription of R99 a month for up to five devices, being able to stream different shows on two devices simultaneously, with separate profiles, is good value for money.
If you have a non-smart TV (one that doesn’t connect to the internet or offer “smart” services like video-on-demand, messaging or social networks), don’t despair. You have two choices. The first is to buy a media streaming stick or device that would plug into your TV via USB or HDMI. An Apple TV works with any TV that has an HDMI port, and a Google Chromecast or similar device works via USB. Showmax also has apps for the Xbox One and PS4, which act as media streaming devices. These turn your regular TV into a “smart TV” by bringing the Apple or Android ecosystem to your TV, which connects to the internet, giving you freedom to download whatever apps you want. The second option would be to upgrade to a smart TV; perhaps it’s time?
Social streaming apps using streaming devices
If you’re big on social networks, some of your media streaming devices will allow you to access services like Periscope or YouTube directly. Just login via Twitter or Gmail and get access to your existing subscriptions or make use of the discover feature to find new content. Periscope, for example, lets you discover content via location, so you can follow protests overseas if you can’t find a local news channel with sufficient coverage.
We’re in the age of social media, so we should take advantage of it. The upside to logging into a YouTube account on your smart TV or media streaming device is having access to existing subscriptions, without typing unnecessarily on a remote. If typing can be bothersome, look at getting a Bluetooth keyboard or find an accompanying smartphone app (with iOS, it’s built in).
Mobile and tablet
If you have an iPad or Android tablet, it would work the same way as having a smart TV or getting a media streaming service. Stream content directly onto your mobile or tablet if you prefer. Make sure that whatever paid-for on-demand service you subscribe to gives access to each member of your family (the ones that are old enough to watch, of course).
Showmax, for example, allows a single subscription to access the service on up to five devices, with separate profiles. This also allows kids to watch shows for their eyes only, and not age-restricted content. This allows mum and dad to enjoy their shows in the living room, while the kids watch on their own device in another room at the same time.
In South Africa, we’re lucky that YouTube gives us the option to download videos for “offline” play, as well as other streaming services including Apple Music, and Showmax itself. Queue up your favourite movies, series, music or how-to videos on a mobile device or tablet while you’re on Wi-Fi so you can access them without an internet connection when you’re away from home.
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