In the early days of the internet, media streaming services were simply an idea in the minds of many. If you were young enough to have lived through it, television and cable packages were all the rage; it was your only option for watching the shows you had interest in.
While many service providers still offer cable packages–Comcast and Charter Communications, to name a few–oftentimes you’ll find individuals that completely cut their cable bill in lieu of a streaming service.
The major force in this decision is convenience. You can’t take your cable box with you wherever you go, but you can take a streaming service everywhere. With the advancement of Wi-Fi and faster, stronger connections, you can cut your own cable cord and pick a streaming service that fits your wants and needs.
Before you decide on a streaming service, it should be noted that many streaming services aren’t available in every country. If you travel a lot and missed out on a few episodes of your favorite television show, well, there isn’t much you can do.
Not every country is made equally which means every country has its own set of censorship, enforced by policies and laws, and some media content can even be considered an illegal offense. Citizens of Russia and China are very familiar with those policies.
Depending on the streaming service, and your country of origin, you may need to invest in a VPN.
VPN – Virtual Private Network
To watch American TV from another country, a virtual private network is a perfect solution. One of its popular properties is to provide you access to websites that would’ve been blocked otherwise.
Your real IP address will be hidden from view or completely changed which will allow you to access American TV sites. Also, you can decide where your internet connection originates from, effectively masking your location.
It is highly recommended you consider using a VPN if your country of origin doesn’t offer your desired streaming services. It would be a shame if you missed out on your favorite television shows simply because you reside in a country that doesn’t allow it.
If you are familiar with what streaming services are all about, Netflix is most likely one of the first few that comes to mind when you think of them; it’s practically synonymous with streaming services. And rightly so.
Hundreds of movies and television shows have found roots in Netflix’s library, as well as several award-winning movies and television shows. Their library contains any niche interest you have: documentaries, science, comedy, horror; if you like it, Netflix might have it.
Its easy-to-use interface welcomes newcomers and even offers suggestions built around your interests. Netflix offers several options for streaming their content like your phone, computer, tablet, gaming consoles, and even some cable packages have Netflix built in.
2. Amazon Prime Video
Prime Video is a streaming service that was originally offered to Amazon Prime members, a perk of their membership, but has since changed to be a stand-alone service.
Prime Video is very similar to Netflix; it streams shows and movies, however, the major difference is the opportunity to buy specific shows and movies that Netflix may not have in its library.
Netflix shuffles movies and shows every month, which means one month you may have set aside a movie to watch, only to find out that it’s no longer available. To be fair, Prime Video shuffles its own movies and shows, but if you miss out on a movie that was available before, you always have the option to rent or buy.
The Prime Video app can be downloaded and installed onto devices such as: gaming consoles, smartphones, computers, and tablets.
3. Sling Television
Sling TV has its focus strictly on live television, shows and movies are streamed in real-time. Sling TV foregos traditional, physical cables and instead, relies on streaming like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. It’s baseline package offers many popular channels right out of the gate, such as: ESPN, CNN, Cartoon Network, CNN, to name a few.
Sling TV is great for individuals seeking a handful of live channels, and with its very affordable plans, many users even supplement shows and movies they miss with other streaming services. Sling TV can be used on a range of devices: Xbox One, smartphones, computers and tablets.
4. PlayStation Vue
If you were wondering why Sling TV wasn’t available on the PlayStation 4, it’s because Sony has their own streaming service with the same features: PlayStation Vue. But don’t let its name fool you, PlayStation Vue isn’t strictly for PlayStation 4 owners.
PlayStation Vue offers live streaming service on any of the same devices as previously mentioned streaming services–smartphones, computers, PlayStation 4, and tablets, except one: Xbox One.
5. Hulu And Hulu Live
Hulu attempts to combine the attributes of live television and a dedicated library of shows and movies. Its plans are tiered, with its cheaper plans offering Hulu’s library with and without commercials.
The higher tiers, Hulu Live, also give you Hulu’s entire library, but with the added live channels that follow, with and without commercials. However, live channels will still showcase commercials.
Devices compatible with Hulu’ app works with standard devices: gaming consoles, smartphones, computers, and tablets. But again, Hulu Live TV is not offered on PlayStation 4, just like Sling TV. You can happily enjoy Hulu’s entire library on your PlayStation 4, just not their live TV service.