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Downloading vs Streaming

There is a reason why music and video stores hardly exist anymore. Gone are the days where watching a movie or series required you to rent it from a video store. CD players have become less popular as the digital age has grown and music is freely and easily available on all of our electronic devices through download. The digital age has completely changed the way we consume content and listen to music and radio through streaming and downloading. If you have a fibre to the home internet connection, you can watch, listen to and download all the movies, series, music and videos you want!

Downloading vs. streaming

Understanding the difference between downloading and streaming is important if you regularly download or stream online so that you can use your fibre to the home connection in the best way. When you download a file from the internet, you are downloading a copy of the file which will be available on your device. You can watch or listen to this file as many times as you want, even when you are not connected to the internet, as it is hosted on your device and not the internet anymore. Files that can be downloaded include documents and folders, video files like movies or series, audio files like songs, programs and applications.

Streaming a file is different from downloading in that the file you are watching or listening stays hosted on a server on the internet instead of on your device. You don’t physically have the file on your device – and when you watch or listen to the file, you are only receiving portions of data at a time. This is why, if your connection is poor or slow, your file will pause and buffer until more portions of data have been loaded. Once you have finished watching the file, you won’t have access to it anymore like when it is downloaded to your device. Generally, streaming only occurs with audio and video files like movies and music. 

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The Pros and Cons of Downloading

  • Downloaded files remain on the device used to download it indefinitely until it is removed, meaning you can access it at any time, even without an internet connection. 
  • There are many legitimate sites where you can download new music, movies and series from. 
  • Downloaded files are available instantly for use once it has been downloaded. 
  • Some downloads may be unsafe and carry viruses and malware – it is important to use malware scanners and make ensure files are safe for use. 
  • If your device is stolen or breaks, you will lose all downloaded files hosted on the device and if you did not create regular backups, your files will be lost. 
  • In order to download big files often, you need a reliable, uncapped fibre to the home connection. 

The Pros and Cons of Streaming

  • Streaming allows you to listen to music or view programs without the files taking up space on your device. 
  • Multiple devices such as smart televisions can be linked up to your fibre to the home connection and used to stream movies and shows directly on the device. 
  • Multiple devices can be linked to the same accounts so you can access your shows or movies from different devices with the same logins. 
  • If you have a slow or capped internet connection, you will be limited to how much you can stream. If your connection is slow, buffering can become an irritation, specifically with video streaming. 
  • If you do not have access to the internet, you will not be able to listen to or view any music or programs. 

There are thousands of different sites and services that allow you to stream shows and movies straight from your smart television, desktop or laptop, or even phone. Some of the most popular streaming services in South Africa include Netflix, Showmax, Amazon and Amazon Prime Video. Internationally, there are many more services available like HBO, Hulu, CBS and more. Streaming music is even easier than streaming video if you use services like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud and more. Some streaming services are more data-intensive than others. Netflix and Showmax, for instance, will be more data-intensive than iTunes or Spotify. This is because video files are much bigger and use a lot more bandwidth. 

Whether you prefer downloading or streaming, both will require a reliable and fast fibre to the home connection. Let us help guide you into which Home Fibre line you should be using!


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