Why Do We NeedůStreaming Sites?

Why Do We NeedůStreaming Sites?

Anthony Marris reveiws tech ideas, gadgets, and websites to tell you how they will help or hinder your life

Streaming sites like couchtuner, watchseries, putlocker and xhamster are what the world wide web was built for – the freedom of information and sharing of ideas. 

This sharing of information and knowledge helps to inspire the next generations. Star Trek forecast the invention of the cellphone, tablets (and thus the iPhone), and voice to computer communication (Siri, Cortana). How many of you will branch off and change the world from an idea, a throwaway line, or a gimmick you will see on television? 

I did not include Netflix in that list because it is a limited paid service. Netflix is arguably the largest subscription-based streaming company, boasting a market share of 75 million subscribers. But if a show is not licenced to play in certain regions, their subscribers can’t access it. Hence the need to use VPN (virtual private network) services.

While Netflix has greenlit some noteworthy shows like Daredevil, their business model is unsustainable. Seriously, their last quarterly report noted that they were -$921 million in cash flow for the year. They might have the market share, but they are running at a massive loss. I would not be surprised if 15 second adverts pop up before each show in the next six months to pay the bills.

So why do we need streaming sites?

Here are the upsides: 

  1. It’s free. Enough said.
  2. You choose the time and place you can watch them.
  3. Wait Time. The joy of sites like these is that we can see content like the latest episode of your favourite show without having to wait until it ends up on NZ screens. You can catch references before they become outdated and avoid spoilers.
  4. Variety. Political news shows like The Rachael Maddow Show, or manufactured drama like Real Housewives of Atlanta not shown on the mainstream channel are all available. 
  5. No adverts. You can watch a program for 22 minutes (or 44) and not have to put up with screaming interruptions about “Public Holiday Sale”, or “Back to School Specials”. 

What are the downsides...?

  1. Pop up Adverts. You can fix this problem with some pop up ad killing software (or a quick reaction with the mouse).
  2. Technically it is illegal, but not really. My understanding of the current law is that streaming is okay, but downloading and sharing the content is not. Just keep an eye on copyright law. 
  3. Quality. The compression algorithms can vary between programs. Often shows are shown in 144p, 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p and upwards (p stands for pixel aspect ratio). Given that most viewing screens are only about two feet from the face, it does not matter a huge deal. You pick the resolution you are comfortable with, and how fast your connection speed is.
  4. Over Consumption. You can watch what you want, when you want, for as long as you want. So if you end up binge watching entire seasons of The West Wing, that essay comparing Avicenna’s Floating Man and Plato’s Cave analogy might not be as well thought out as it could have been. 

In sum, streaming sites provide a chance to develop a new audience. You might find a show or movie that you would have never been exposed to before. It is short sighted of studios and television networks to think “argh…pesky pirates” and then try and block access. 

TL;DR – Free streaming sites are great.  

This article first appeared in Issue 2, 2016.
Posted 1:32pm Sunday 6th March 2016 by Anthony Marris.