Streaming TV

Streaming TV can be broken down into two basic components:

1. Streams
2. Devices

1. Streams

Streaming is the process of delivering video files to a device.

Streams can deliver live content or recorded content.

An example of live would be local TV news casts.

An example of recorded would be movies via Netflix or Amazon Prime video.

The format of streams — the digital composition of the data — can vary from one provider to another. This means that not all devices are capable of receiving all streams.

TV Content Providers
These provide what you might call traditional content channels that you might get over the air or over cable.

YouTube TV
Hulu Live but nearly always excludes local TV stations

Video on Demand
These are more on the line of movies and past TV series


Any of the services that provide local TV stations will do what is call geo-fencing or geo-location. The service checks via various methods your location. If you are not in the Seattle area, for example, you will not have access to those local stations. (Stupid, I know.) There are ways to overcome geo-blocking, but often involved more advanced knowledge of networking and devices and how to spoof locations on devices.

Interestingly, if you try to watch on a computer in the US, you are geo-blocked. But, if you have a Roku, you can go into the Roku Channel (Roku’s own channel), go to channel 190, and watch without geo-blocking. Odd, but it works.

2. Devices

There are all kinds of devices capable of displaying video streams.

Generically, these can include:

smart phones
smart TVs
dedicated, stand-alone, devices

For stand-alone devices — not embedded into a Smart TV — I recommend the following:

Roku Ultra — best performance, way faster than a Roku stick, best wifi radio, includes an ethernet port (use this whenever possible)

Amazon Fire TV Cube — — best performance, way faster than a Fire TV stick, best wifi radio, includes an ethernet adapter (use this whenever possible)

For smart TVs, I prefer Roku TVs, as they can be added into an existing Roku account used by stand-alone Roku devices. Roku add-on wireless speakers provide excellent sound.

I use a Roku way, way more than the Fire TV Cube because it has available a lot of free international world news stations, such as:
Al Jazeera (Qatar)
DW (Germany)
NHK World (Japan)
France24 (France)
SkyNews (England)

I have 20 Roku TVs and devices on my Roku account.

4. Devices for Local TV

There are a few devices that receive local over-the-air TV stations and convert into digital format that you can stream to your devices in the house to devices such as Roku.

I focus on two, which I own and have direct experience with.

Tablo TV

This is a very good device. TV Guide service is available at a cost. Hook up your own external hard drive for whatever storage amount you want.

The only hassle: remote access is difficult, as you need to associate your remote device to the Tablo device while both are on the same local area network.


This works, but is better for geeks.

On the plus side, you can use with Plex and remote access via Plex is possible.