Nowadays, when we want to watch something, we know that all we have to do is turn the internet on, sign into our streaming account and press play. But it wasn’t always like this; this has only been a new development over the last fourteen years!

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Online Streaming

So what exactly is online streaming?

Nowadays, when we want to watch something, we know that all we have to do is turn the internet on, sign into our streaming account and press play. But it wasn’t always like this; this has only been a new development over the last fourteen years!

Where did it all start?

The TV was one of the most significant inventions, especially of its time. In 1895 the French inventors, the Lumiere brothers, invented a projector that could show moving pictures. In the 1920s (over a hundred years ago), Scottish inventor John Logie Baird invented the television. The prototype for what we have now was born by creating moving images on the screen. With television came broadcasts and stations in the late 1920s, and there was a massive opportunity for more. The film came before television! 

With these two marvellous inventions, cinema and television were born. Everything was black and white in the beginning, and there wasn’t even any speaking! Eventually, ‘talkies’ became the fashion where actors finally had words to learn and perform. So how did we get from black and white ‘talkies’ to being able to stream The Office on our mobile devices?

As technology climbed further on our radars, colour crept into our screens, which happened in 1931! The first movies were filmed onto film reels, which projected light through each shot as it turned, making a moving image Television and movies grew, with great minds like Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock paving the way for future filmmakers.

Then in the 1970s, humans came up with the VHS tapes (Video Home System). These were thick rectangles with reels inside of them; you could purchase them for yourself. All you had to do was to put it in the VHS player, but if you wanted to watch it again, you’d have to rewind the film manually.

In 1996, the invention of the DVD came into our lives. (Digital Video Disc.) DVDs revolutionised movie watching, as you didn’t need to rewind them, and they were much smaller. These were easier to stock and became compatible with much more than just a DVD player. Laptops, computers, and portable DVD players all had disc space.

There are some key dates in streaming history. In 1991 Windows created Media Player, and Apple launched QuickTime Player, who worked with audio and video. Then in 1997, Netflix opened its doors and became a DVD rental site. It worked like you would sign up, and they would send you a certain number of DVDs a month, and you would watch them and send them back! In 2002, they had six hundred thousand subscribers!

In 2005 YouTube launched, and Amazon joined the online streaming craze just two years later; in 2007, Netflix became an online streaming service, and Hulu came onto the scene.

Spoiled for choice with a world of online streaming, movie rental stores like Blockbuster went out of business! By 2017 Hulu was winning awards for TV series, and Netflix hit one hundred million subscribers. Then we have Disney+ coming out in 2019, Apple TV launched, and HBO and Peacock come into our lives. 

With the advancement of technology, things like film reels, VHS and even DVDs are becoming or have become obsolete. Now we’re left as we are, with a mass of online streaming services, some free, some subscription-based. Now all you need is an internet connection.

As you will have experienced yourselves, streaming is immediate and does not require downloading the file to watch. You can get your favourite actor on the screen within seconds. You also don’t need storage space; this streams online and is then stored online; all you need to do is connect to the internet, and its infinite streaming time. It also plays them as you want, whenever you want, so you don’t have to wait for specific times like you have to with television channels. You can also pause, rewind and fast forward. 

But what are the disadvantages to this technology? 

Well, you need an internet connection. If you don’t have one, you can’t watch anything and might have issues during the stream. Imagine you’re halfway through a film, and the internet goes down! What’s going to happen to Harry and Sally? 

Secondly, we can see that streaming has directly affected the film industry. Fewer people are going to the cinema, and since COVID-19 has been around, online streaming has shot up! So movies are losing money because fewer people are paying to see them on release. 

Overall, the film and TV industry has given us more than we could have ever asked for, and aren’t we lucky to live in a time where we have the whole world in our hands? Where could movies go in the future?

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