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Evaluating live TV streaming service features

Last month’s article on choosing the right streaming service advised researching key service features. Here’s a guide to some of those features on live TV services — such as YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV — to help you determine what’s important.

LOCAL CHANNELS

Most live TV streaming services offer local broadcast affiliates, such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. The market your local channels come from depends on where you connect to the internet. Some services update local channels based on your location. For example: If you’re in Orlando, YouTube TV will provide local Orlando broadcast affiliates.

CONCURRENT STREAMS

Most streaming services limit the number of simultaneous streams. If you need more than two or three, see if the service offers additional (or unlimited) streams. For example: Hulu + Live TV’s Unlimited Screens add-on is an extra $9.99 per month. co-op news

DEVICE AVAILABILITY

You don’t want a service that’s not available on your streaming device! Most devices support all major services, but be sure to check before subscribing.

NUMBER OF PROFILES

Individual profiles let each user have personalized recordings and content recommendations. Most services offer between three and six profiles, but beware of sharing profiles with people outside your home. Some streamers are implementing or investigating plans to prohibit that or charge extra.

DVR DETAILS

Digital video recording (DVR) is great for watching your favorites on your time (and skipping ads)! Some services offer unlimited recording while others offer a set number of hours with additional space available for purchase.

PARENTAL CONTROLS

In days gone by, broadcasters waited until after 9 p.m. to air mature programming. Today, on-demand streaming means all content is available at all hours — which isn’t ideal for younger viewers. Most services offer parental controls; use a service’s free trial period to test them.

4K CONTENT

4K is ultra-high-definition content (or ultra-HD). You’ll need a 4K-enabled TV and a super-fast internet connection (such as our fiber internet). On-demand content (movies and shows) is often available in 4K, but not much live TV. Although many live TV streaming services charge extra for 4K, it’s generally not worth it (for my dollar).

Our free streaming tool will help you find the best service for you. Visit streaming.wintek.com to use the free questionnaire or wintek. com/livetvapps to research live TV streaming services.

Picture of Rob Ford

Rob Ford

Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015. Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.

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July 3, 2024
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