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Do You Prefer Streaming or Downloading?

As consumers access more online content, they must contend with two very different distribution methods—streaming and downloading. With streaming from services such as Netflix and Hulu, you select what you want to watch or listen to, and the provider sends it over the Internet in real time. The content is not stored at your end, except perhaps for buffering a few minutes worth to guard against short interruptions. As a result, the receiving device can be simple and relatively inexpensive, but the quality depends greatly on the available bandwidth to the device.

By contrast, downloading from services such as iTunes pulls a copy of the content from the provider—not in real time, but at whatever speed your connection allows—and stores it on a hard disk or other high-capacity memory to play once the download is complete. In this case, quality is independent of your online bandwidth, since the download can take as long as it needs to. However, devices with lots of storage capacity are generally more expensive, and there are copy-protection issues to deal with.

Which type of distribution do you prefer, streaming or downloading? Or do you avoid online content altogether?

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

Do You Prefer Streaming or Downloading?

K.Reid's picture

When it comes to streaming, I know going in not to watch the program material with a videophile/audiophile's eyes and ears. That's tougher than what it sounds. If we compare to BluRay discs, then disappointment will come easy. Certain movies that I expect to have reference quality video/soundtrack/score, I just will not stream - even if provided with Dolby Digital Plus.

davey49's picture

I suppose I stream as opposed to download. I also buy physical media
Audio only for the most part, my TV isn't good enough and too small to watch movies on.
Downloading feels too much like I don't own it.