If you own an Apple TV or Roku for your living room entertainment, try pressing the Siri/voice control button on the remote to find a show. Mention the movie/show and it'll find the streaming service where that title is available. Apple users with a HomePod can even go hands-free with a "Hey Siri" command, while people with a Roku Voice Remote Pro can yell "Hey Roku" if the slider is pushed to 'green' on the nearby device.
Don is going on a family cruise to the Bahamas soon. Has the internet gotten better for watching Netflix? Leo says that Royal Caribbean has spent a lot of money to improve the speed of their internet access. Called Voom, the speed has gotten fast enough to stream video, for sure. But remember that during peak times, that speed will drop dramatically, as everyone uses the available bandwidth. Keep in mind though, you will be paying for it, and it's not cheap.
Netflix reported this week that nearly 100 million viewers are tuning into their original programming, including The Witcher, and others. Leo says that streaming is apparently a thing!
Alan cut the cable and is watching TV with an antenna. But what about streaming? Leo says that's called "over the top," and he will need to still pay for internet service at least 100MB down to enjoy streaming in 1080p. Then he'll pay for Netflix and perhaps a second like Amazon Prime. But he can also get live streaming using a service like YouTube TV. Locast.org is a free streaming service, but they bug everyone for a donation of $5 a month. Even with using an antenna though, streaming can make it add up to the point where it starts to make cable look like a pretty good deal again.
Sundip wants to know how much bandwidth he should have. Leo says that it's obviously the most you can afford, but the thing is that the more you get, the more you tend to use. Download speeds tend to be faster than upload speeds with streaming video and other uses. But we're now seeing uploads on the rise as people work and do school from home via video conferencing. So an asymmetrical download speed is becoming the norm.
Jamie can't stand that Netflix streams previews while you're looking for something to watch. Leo says the good news is that you can turn that off on the website.
A VPN is a way to mask an online user's physical location, which is a great way to maintain privacy and security....while also allowing one to watch TV & Netflix in another country (Japan)! VPNs do what "incognito modes" in browsers don't. However, you don't want to sign up for a super low-cost or free VPN service, as those can be quite suspicious. They have to be making money somehow, and it is likely by selling user information (sort of the antithesis of what VPN users want).
Steve Martin also uses a Windows computer and an iPad, and often they don't talk well together. He's also been getting a lot of his emails being routed into SPAM. He's had to physically move them back to the Inbox, and he's worried that he'll miss an important email from business or friends. Leo says that the SPAM filters have gotten so good, that they're now starting to get false positives as ISPs get really aggressive with the spam filters.
In these tough times, everyone is using the internet to watch videos online since there is often nothing better to do. However, if you do not need to watch a video in the highest resolution available, try to tolerate a slightly lower clarity in order to save some bandwidth for others. Videos like podcast discussions, news shows, and vlogs can arguably be viewed just fine in 480p or 720p.
During this period of social distancing, everyone is streaming. As such, Netflix has had to lower the resolution quality of streaming down to SD in Europe in order to handle the load. That's a significant degradation if you have a 4K TV. Will it happen here? Scott wouldn't be surprised if it does. As more people shelter in place, they'll be watching more, and streaming more. Coupled with working at home, kids having virtual classes online, internet traffic is going way up. Leo says one way around this is to cache content.