Beyond the Box: Television and the Internet

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Several national projects were developed during the early eighties; however, the DBS projects were rapidly superseded by major technological advances that created room for a far greater number of TV channels to be broadcasted by medium power satellites using a different part of the radio frequency spectrum and at much lower costs. Decoder Device also called Converter that decodes digital transmission signals and converts them for display on to the TV set. Decoder interface Interface between a meter and a set-top decoder that permits the monitoring of signals passing through the decoder.

Definitive viewing data Final complete set of viewing statements from which quantitative estimates of viewing are generated. Delay The elapsed time between the instant when user information is submitted to the network and when it is received by the user at the other end. Demographic variable Population variable for classifying individuals or households in terms of personal or family characteristics.

Descrambler An electronic circuit that restores a scrambled video signal to its standard form. DFM Direct frequency measurement TAM methodology that identifies channels through metering their frequencies and comparing their records against the channel map for the TV set or other input source being monitored. Dial-up Method of Internet access that involves hooking up the PC to a telephone network using a modem and telephone line.

Also known as narrowband. Dial-up was the early form of Internet access and is significantly slower than broadband, which is now superseding it. Diary measurement Family of TAM methodologies in which survey respondents record their viewing in diaries. Diary samples may be discrete or they may constitute short or long term panels. TAM diaries normally consist of booklets with one page, or a double-page spread, for each day of the week. There is considerable scope for variation in terms of format, unit intervals of measurement e.

Digital General term for all radio frequency wave signals that have been transformed into binary units of data bits. The transformation of all video and audio signal information into bits is fundamental to expanding the opportunities for multimedia and convergent applications sharing the same output source i. TV or PC screen. Digital audio player Device for playing, storing and organising digital music files. Digital set-top box A device which accepts digital encoded television broadcasts and converts them to display on an analogue television set.

New boxes with added functionality provide local storage of programming on hard discs, and Internet access. Digital switchover DSO Process of replacing analogue with digital TV broadcasts, for which prior analogue switch-off is a prerequisite condition. Digitisation Process of converting an analogue signal into digital format.

Disaggregated viewing data Same as Elementary or Respondent level viewing data - Processed viewing data held at the level of individual respondents. The basic components of disaggregated viewing data are individual viewing statements consisting of complete time records across each broadcasting day of all viewing sessions by every family member and guest on all metered TV sets in the home. Dish antenna A high-grain antenna, shaped like a dish, which is used for the transmission and reception of ultra-high-frequency and microwave signals. Disproportional sampling by selected region s is quite common in TAM research.

Distribution platform Operating system for distributing TV services to viewers. Distribution platforms are typically classified according to whether the signals are in analogue or digital and delivered to the viewer via satellite, cable, terrestrial, DSL, FTTH reception. Further distinctions may be made according to whether the services are free or pay, and whether packaged or delivered by a particular platform operator, which markets its TV services as a single entity.

DLP Digital light processing Rear-projection technology developed and owned by Texas Instruments for projecting video images on a large screen by means of a matrix of microscopically small mirrors on a semi-conductor chip. DMCA Digital millennium copyright act A US copyright law which criminalises production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.

DNS Domain name system Stores and associates many types of information with domain names, but most importantly, it translates domain names computer hostnames to IP addresses. It also lists mail exchange servers accepting e-mail for each domain. In providing a worldwide keyword-based redirection service, DNS is an essential component of contemporary Internet use. Docking station Recharging device into which participants in portable peoplemeter research place their meters overnight. DOCSIS Data over cable service interface specification An international standard developed by CableLabs that defines the interface requirements for cable modems involved in high-speed data distribution over cable television networks.

DOG Digital on-screen graphic Channel identification logo, usually appearing in top left or right corner of the screen. The definition is independent of the point of origin of the broadcasts. At the same time the same TV channel may be broadcast as a domestic service to more than one national market. Downlink Signal pathway from the satellite to the earth. Download Reception of data from a remote system, such as a web site or FTP server and related systems. Upload is the exact opposite. Downstream Term used widely in interactive TV iTV terms to refer to the signal pathway from the service provider e.

This will usually have higher bandwidth demands than the upstream return path from the home to the service provider. Opposite of Upstream. Drip Continuous low intensity advertising over an extended period, usually aimed at giving regular reminders to viewers. One of the key aims is to prevent unauthorised duplication of content and transmission to other parties via file sharing or portable storage items such as CDs.

Drop-down menu On-screen text menu offered by interactive digital TV channels that viewers can call up with their remote control handsets. DSL Digital subscriber line Generic term for technologies that permit the delivery of broadband services over voice telephony networks. DSLAM Digital subscriber line access multiplexer Network device, usually located in the local exchange, for aggregating the data connections of multiple end-users.

DSP Digital signal processing Study of the digital representation of signals, often involving the digitisation of analogue signals, which may subsequently be de-converted into analogue form for onscreen display. DSP may take place in a number of different domains, such as time, space and frequency. Applications include digital image processing and video compression. DST Daylight saving time Daylight saving time also summer time in British English is the convention of advancing clocks so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less.

Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn. Many countries have used it since then; details vary by location and change occasionally. DTH Direct-to-Home Direct-To-Home satellite transmission and reception - TV transmissions via satellite intended for "direct-to-home" reception in households equipped with parabolic dish antenna. Also called DMB-T. DTV Digital television General term for TV services that are transmitted into the home digitally, where they are received either by a set-top box decoder, which converts them into analogue form for display on a conventional analogue TV set, or by an integrated digital TV receiver.

Duplication Audience overlap across successive unit intervals of measurement. Each standard may exist in SD or HD formats. DVB standards are widely used inside and outside Europe. DVD Digital video disc player Device for playing, but not recording digital video discs.

DVDR player Device for playing and recording digital video discs. DVR Digital video recorder Devices that allow TV viewers to timeshift, pause and fast forward until real time using hard-drive video storage. Dynamic variable Variable that is unstable in terms of a rapidly changing population profile. This is most likely to apply to equipment and other TV related variables e. EB End break see also Between programme break. EBU Europe European Broadcasting Union: International professional and trade association of national television and public radio service broadcasters in 52 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and 45 associate members in 28 countries from other regions.

It is generally classified as a 2. The rules may either be for editing data in varies largely for assigning uncovered viewing or for editing data out e. Effective frequency The level of exposure frequency at which reach is deemed "effectively" delivered. Effective reach The number or percentage of a target audience that is exposed to a schedule of advertising spots at a set level of frequency. This will typically specify a lower threshold value indicating the minimum level of exposure deemed as sufficient for "effective" advertising purposes e.

Effective sample size The size of random sample that would provide the same standard error as the actual sampling plan on which a survey result is based. In practice, measures of effective sample size are usually calculated by examining the effects of panel weights alone. Efficiency see also Cost efficiency. Electronic diary Diary where respondents record their viewing on a small portable display screen using a light pen. Elementary viewing data Same as Disaggregated viewing data - processed viewing data held at the level of individual respondents. E-mail Multimedia correspondence over the Internet.

E-mail advertising Banner ads, links or advertisers sponsorships that appear in e-mail marketing communications. Embedded gap Term used in data editing to denote an interval of uncovered viewing sandwiched between two intervals of covered viewing. Embedded signal Supplementary signal e. TAM data suppliers may use it for channel or programme identification purposes.

EMRO Europe European Media Research Organisations: International group of experts in national media audience measurement mainly representatives of market research companies engaged in media research or members of industry committees overseeing media research. Many domestic satellite channels, whether subscription or free-to-air, employ encryption for reasons of copyright. Pay-TV services employ additional conditional access technologies in order to restrict access to authorised paying customers and prevent signal theft or piracy.

Enforced panel turnover Homes dropped from a panel on the initiative of the data supplier. Entry package Minimum basic package of channels and services to which subscribers to analogue or digital pay TV services must sign up. Enumeration surveys may be conducted on their own, independently of any other survey as in USA or as the initial phase of an establishment or other survey phases, where they are used in order to a update population estimates and b provide a sampling frame of addresses for designating the establishment survey sample.

The EPG is an on-screen listings guide of TV programming and other on-demand content and services which users may navigate by means of their television remote control handsets or other devices. The information contained in the EPG is broadcast metadata received and read by applications middleware in a set-top box. They may also be related to viewing habits e. ES Establishment survey Large-scale survey for collecting establishment, demographic and other household data.

The ES provides the basis for deriving population profile estimates and determining target profiles for selected panel control variables unless taken from other external sources. The ES samples are also generally used as a source of addresses for panel recruitment. Ethernet Generic term for wide range of computer-based technologies underpinning communications between devices over local area networks LANs. Originally devised for communication between computers over a cable co-axial network, it has developed into a complex technology that underpins the vast majority of local computer networks.

Ethernet stations communicate by sending data in small packets that carry information about the address and source of the packet. Deployed globally, the Ethernet defines a set of wiring and signal standards for the physical communications, as well as two means of network access and common address formats. Event trigger Information included in a transmission stream that indicates the start and end points of a programme, commercial or promo.

Event types: Classifications of broadcast types found in the TV environment. They can be major, like commercial and non-commercial, or detailed like spot, sponsor, announcement or programme. Excess viewing Measured daily individual viewing that exceeds TAM system threshold criteria of extreme length e. Many TAM systems employ excess viewing as a quality control criteria during data validation. Exclusive reach Individuals who, during the period of analysis, have watched only one channel for at least one minute.

Exit interview Interview conducted with home leaving the panel, usually for future panel management purposes. Expansion factor see also Weight factor. Export AGB Nielsen Media Research's TV Events system module used to save the monitoring data in a format required by external applications such as analysis software and third party database systems. Exposure A person's physical contact with an advertising medium or message. In the case of television, exposure to an advertising spot is treated as equal to the measured audience for that spot.

Extension option Extra period typically one or two years that a TAM contract may run beyond its initial expiry date at the discretion of the contracting party. FDDI technology is being made redundant by the Ethernet.

Fibre optic to the curb Variant of FTTH where fibre optic cabling extends to the street, but conventional copper wiring is used for entry into the home. Fibre optics Technology of data transmission that involves the passage of optical signals along bundles of glass filaments with extremely low signal attenuation.

Field strength survey A survey which is conducted by TV stations for measuring the transmission power of their broadcasts. Fieldwork control A procedure for checking the quality of data collection and ensuring that the survey procedures are being adhered to. Fieldwork period Interval over which fieldwork is being carried out. File-sharing Making files available as downloads over the Internet or other smaller networks. The term originally applied to client-server downloads, whereby PC users clients could access and download content from web sites servers.

Today, the term is used to describe peer-to-peer P2P exchanges or networks, by which files are stored on user PCs rather than on central servers, allowing files to be downloaded from multiple PCs. Users wanting to join P2P networks must download and install file-sharing software. Some organisations have adopted the P2P file-sharing model as a way of reducing demand on and cost to central host servers. P2P file-sharing has raised major concerns over piracy amongst rights holders, particularly music labels due to the ease of sharing small music files.

Account Options

Finger-printing Technique of inserting an extra signal code in a source appearing on the TV screen that enables later recognition. The technique is typically used during video timeshift recording of TV channel transmissions for later identification of timeshift video playback. First run Or Premier; a term used for a programme that is broadcast for the first time in television. Fixed potentials Apply to demographic groups used in the weighting matrix. Flat screen TV TV sets, lacking the conventional cathode ray tube, that can be hung on the wall like pictures. Flighting The scheduling of advertising for a period of time, followed by a hiatus, then another "flight" of advertising.

FM Frequency modulation The transmission of audiovisual signals in which the frequency of a transmitting wave is modulated as a function of its intensity. Footprint Geographic, elliptically-shaped reception zone covered by the signal beam of a satellite. Forced turnover Refers to the process which stipulates a maximum period of time that a home can be on the panel.

Fragmentation Audience When broad television audiences break into smaller segments due to multiple viewing choices and niche programming that targets particular demographics. Free-to-view Television channels or services for which viewers do not have to pay a subscription or other fee in order to receive them.

Freeze frame Pause display of a single frozen frame of video. Frequency The average number of times that members of a target audience who have been counted at least once as viewers to a schedule of advertising spots or sequence of programmes , have counted as viewers. Frequency discount A rate discount given to an advertiser who purchases a specific schedule within a specific period of time, e. Frequency distribution Distribution showing the percentage of the target audience population who have viewed a schedule of advertising spots or sequence of programmes at each level of frequency.

FTA Free-to-air Broadcast television channels that are free at the point of consumption. This category includes publicly funded channels e. It excludes any form of subscription or pay-per-view TV. FtF Face-to-face interview Methodology of data collection by means of a questionnaire, which an interviewer administers face-to-face with the survey respondent. FTP File transfer protocol Commonly used protocol for exchanging files from one computer to another over the Internet.

FTTH Fibre to the home Wired broadband communications technology in which the entire network to the home is constructed out of fibre optic cable. Benefiting from a significant decline in material prices, FTTH is emerging as a viable two-way residential communications technology in several countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Italy and the Nordic countries. This is done at the individual respondent level to create a single, unified database.

From a business perspective, fusion is a way of making the best use of existing marketing information. It is a cost efficient way of getting the most out of existing databases to improve decision making. It is mainly used as a planning tool by agencies or as a sales tool for media owners. Although fusion has only been used in the US for a relatively short time, most European countries use fusion in media research and have done so since the late s. GB Gigabyte Unit of computer hard disc storage capacity equal to one billion 1,,, bytes; not to be confused with Gb gigabit , which relates to data transfer speeds.

C94 see also Bit rate. Generalist channel General entertainment TV channel without specific thematic content. Geodemographics The demographic description of people living in specific geographic regions and types of environment e. Gold standard Industry declared correct audience values, most often used in connection with viewer ratings. The object of laying down "gold standards" is to prevent disputes between buyers and sellers of commercial airtime over the correct audience figures that have arisen on account of them using different software yielding different estimates of viewing.

Google Verb denoting use of the Google search engine to find information on the Internet. GPRS General packet radio service Mobile telephony technology for GSM mobile networks that adds packet-switching protocols, shorter set-up times for ISP connections and offers the possibility to charge by volume of data sent rather than connect time. Gross impressions see also Impact. Grossing up factor see also Weight factor.

GRP Gross rating point Unit of audience volume, which is based on the percentage of the target audience population that has viewed a transmission across a unit interval usually minute by minute audience, but some TAM systems base their GRP estimates on the second by second audience. GRP totals or averages may be estimated for a wide range of different time periods, programme or commercial selections.


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For purposes of calculating commercial GRPs and making comparisons, commercial GRPs for each advertising spot are typically adjusted to a standard 30 second advertising spot interval. GSM Global system for mobile communications Most widely used 2G mobile telephony standard in the world that offers key benefits of high digital voice quality and low cost text messaging alternative to making calls.

The intervals in which the devices are programmed to record before and after the scheduled transmission constitutes the guard time. Guest Person not belonging to the household and in any case not part of the designated panel member set, who watches for a certain period of time a TV-set in a panel members home.

Guest viewing Viewing by guests. Guest viewing is registered through specific buttons on the handset together with a limited set of characteristics usually sex and age. Final data may be processed with or without guests, while target groups for which there is no information about guest characteristics may be processed only without guests. Guest viewing button s Button s on a remote control handset for registering guest viewing. Most importantly, the HD Ready label provides no guarantee that a TV set will actually be able to watch HD programmes; only that it can do so provided that it is also equipped with the necessary tuner for receiving HD images in the format in which they are being transmitted.


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The specification is proprietary, and implementing HDCP requires a license. In order to achieve higher resolution HD broadcasts, a much greater bandwidth capacity is required, which has been facilitated by the development of digital compression technologies. The term is also relative. The actual quality of HD broadcast will depend on several factors, such as how well operators follow the technical specifications. The superior quality of HD over SD signal quality also becomes steadily more noticeable with larger screen sizes.

Head of household Demographic category employed in TAM research that denotes the individual adult with main responsibility for the household. According to convention, the head of household will always be male where there are one or more male and one or more female adults living in the household e. By definition, each household has one and one only head of household. Headend The control centre of a cable television system where incoming transmissions are received, processed, converted and re-transmitted across the cable network.

Header Protocol control information located at the beginning of a protocol data unit. Heavy viewer Person whose average daily viewing levels satisfy TAM system threshold criterion for classifying that person as a "heavy" viewer. HFC Hybrid fibre-coaxial A wired network combining fibre-optic with coaxial cable.

HFC is the most commonly found wiring format of cable television systems, where the main trunk cables and larger feeds consist of high capacity fibre optic wires, whilst the local feeds to the home are coaxial. HH Commonly used abbreviation for Household or Home, the two terms being equivalent.

Hiatus A period of non-activity - the period between advertising flights. Hit Unit measure of download requests received by a server when users access a Web site. Each element of a requested page including the page itself, graphics, text and interactive items is recorded in the Web server as a hit. The object is to measure the workload at a server and the number of hits registered during a session may bear no relation to the number of pages being downloaded.

Home page Page designated as the main point of entry on a web site, appearing at the start of a user session. Home pages will typically offer a welcome, explanatory text about the site and offer links to other sites. Home shopping On-screen shopping services that may take the form of TV broadcast channels dedicated to home shopping as well as additional interactive text and services. Homes connected Number of homes connected and subscribing to one or more services offered by a cable network, including cable television.

Homes passed Number of homes passed by a cable network that can be connected to it and are available for marketing. Hours of transmission Number of hours per day during which a television channel is on air i. The total may vary by day of week or by region. Precise definitions vary.

What is IPTV?

Hover ad Online Pop-up ads that do not scroll with the page, but appear to hover above it, as the page moves underneath. HTML Hyper text markup language Predominant programming language for combining text with images that enables the creation of web pages, mostly for delivery via HTTP servers or e-mails. HTTP Hypertext transfer protocol Communications protocol for the transfer of information on intranets and the World Wide Web, whose function is to transfer information from a web site server for display on in the user's web browser.

Hybrid television services Television services that combine signals from more than one delivery mode: invariably satellite or terrestrial broadcast reception plus broadband DSL delivery of on-demand, Internet and other services. The IAB has taken a leading role in publishing standards of online advertising and measurement practice. IM Instant messaging Real-time instant text communications between two or more users via a network, such as the Internet. Impact Unit measure of commercial audience delivery, with one impact being equal to one person's viewing of one 30 second advertising spot.

Impacts also referred to as gross impressions. Impact delivery Sum of impacts across a schedule of advertising spots. Impact delivery is most commonly used as a measure of the total commercial audience delivered by a TV channel. Impact weights Weights applied to advertising spots of different lengths in order to adjust them to the standard 30 second length. Impacts may be weighted by a duration e. Impression see also Ad impression Internet. In directory sample Installed base of panel households equipped with meters less homes that are out of production for long periods and have been classified as off directory.

The in directory sample may include some out of production homes that are under observation e. In home viewing TV viewing that takes place in the home. In production sample Meter panel households that are available for polling and inclusion in the net daily reporting samples. In vision teletext Teletext superimposed on the normal broadcast picture as with subtitles for hard of hearing. Individual viewing statements Converted meter records raw data after data processing i. Each statement contains information concerning a Start and end time of the viewing session; b identification of signal source and TV set being viewed; c identity of viewer; d coded demographic and other information about the individual's identity; e the individual's daily weight.

Processed individual viewing statements constitute the basic components of disaggregated viewing data. Infomercial An extended commercial message, usually lasting from 90 seconds up to two minutes. Installation date The date when a recently recruited meter panel household is installed with one or more meters for measuring TV viewing. Installed base panel homes Gross panel sample comprising all TV homes equipped with meters setmeters or peoplemeters , including some off directory homes, which are out of production for long periods.

In-tab sample see also Net daily reporting sample in-tab sample.


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Interactive advertising Advertising which allows for viewer interaction with on-screen image using the remote control handset in order to access further information or other materials. Interactive advertising is restricted to digital television services. Interconnect Two or more different cable systems which are linked together to air locally sourced programming or commercials simultaneously. A "hard" or "true" interconnect is linked by cable or microwave. A "soft" interconnect is a group of systems with an agreement to insert commercials into programmes or time periods. Interlaced scanning see also Progressive scanning.

Interlocking variables weights Variables employed in cell-matrix combinations for weighting survey data e. Age x Sex x Region. Internet Worldwide network of interconnected computer networks that is open to everyone. The networks transmit data by packet-switching using the standard Internet Protocol IP. The Internet can be used to access the World Wide Web, along with file-sharing and e-mails. Internet backbone Refers to the main 'trunk' connections of the Internet.

It is made up of a large collection of interconnected commercial, government, academic and other high-capacity data routes and routers that carry data across the countries, continents and oceans of the world. Internet Television Television programming that is publicly available over the Internet.

Interview call-back attempt s Maximum number of attempts that an interviewer will make in order to request an interview at a designated household address or telephone number after receiving no answer on previous attempts. Interviewee selection Method of selecting interviewees using household addresses or telephone numbers. Invalid data capture Collection of meter data in a mode different from the established mode for data processing.

Invalid meter statement Meter statements from devices other than the established ones or statements that do not observe the established formats in other respects e. IP Internet protocol Protocol for sending data over a packet-switching Internet network. It is a network layer protocol contained in a data link layer protocol e. Ethernet that supplies the communicability between computers, using a unique global addressing system. In contrast to the Ethernet, which also works with unique addresses, IP specifies the final destination.

The Ethernet is only concerned with getting the device to the next link in the chain e. IPPV Impulse pay-per-view Variant of pay-per-view, which lets consumers order PPV programming directly via their remote control handsets and clicking at the TV screen rather than having to make a separate telephone call. IPTV Internet protocol television This is a system where a digital TV service is delivered using Internet protocol over a network infrastructure, which may include delivery by a broadband connection.

A general definition of IPTV is television content that, instead of being delivered through traditional broadcast and cable formats, is received by the viewer through the technologies used for computer networks. IPTV is typically supplied by a service provider using a closed network infrastructure. This closed network approach is in competition with the delivery of TV content over the public Internet, called Internet Television.

ISDN Integrated services digital network Telephone network that employs digital switching and transmissions. Compared with analogue networks, which they already replaced in many countries, ISDN systems offer much higher data transmission rates, but lower than the more recently introduced DSL technologies, which have become increasingly popular for fast speed Internet access.

ISP Internet service provider Company offering Internet connections to individuals, companies and other organisations. The tools presently include the management of assets and deployment and scheduling of field resources. ITU International Telecommunication Union Global international telecommunications organisation established to standardise and regulate international radio and telecommunications, including organisation of interconnection arrangements between different countries. The contents stored on iTunes can be transferred and played on iPods.

The concept of interactivity can be applied at many different levels. In the field of digital television, it currently refers to services that allow viewers to choose and control extra coverage options or make use of other interactive services directly with their remote control handsets.

Java Widely used general purpose computer programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. CrossRef Google Scholar. Barnett, E.

Brooker, W. Burgess, J. Cambridge: Polity Press. Byerly A.

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Beyond the Box: Television and the Internet / Edition 1

Caldwell, J. Cinema Journal , 45 1 , 90— Carter, C. Carter, M. Channel 4 Corporation. Davies, J. Dun combe, S. Enli, G. Garde-Hansen, J. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Gray, J. Greenhow, C. Learning, Media and Technology , 34 2 , — Gwenllian Jones, S. Jancovich and J. Lyons, eds. London: BFI, pp.

Beyond the Box: Television and the Internet - Sharon Marie Ross - Google Libros

Jenkins, H. Jermyn, D. Johnson, D. TV streaming services these days offer giant online libraries tailored to all kinds of tastes, with the competitive pricing and easy streaming to make the jump to an online subscription a no-brainer. You still get traditional broadcasters and cable companies bringing out certain shows out over live television first — such as Star Trek: Discovery on CBS, or Killing Eve on the BBC — but the convenience of having so much content at your fingertips, much of it now skipping TV broadcasts entirely, is understandable seeing viewers sign up to the likes of Netflix and Hulu in their droves.

It's no longer just one or two TV streaming services to choose from, though — and it's getting progressively harder to divide our attention, as well as our budgets, between the lot of them. You've got the market leader Netflix, which has become the default streaming service for many. The new Disney owned subscription service will be sure to host a big helping of Marvel, Star Wars and a host of other content. To help you choose from the best TV streaming services out there, we've put together this guide to the essentials and how to finally cut the cords to your TV and go completely online with your streaming.

It is, unequivocally, the biggest and best streaming service, despite not always stocking its digital shelves with must-have new movies and TV; that said, this is the staple streamer you need to own if you ever plan on cutting the cord and surviving without it. These days, most smart TVs have Netflix apps and finding a streaming box without it is the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. But don't forget you can also give Netflix a spin with the 1-month free trial to see if it's worth your money. Amazon and Netflix are two sides of the same coin.

That's not to say they're identical — they're not — but the differences are few and far between. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime video has its own set of original series - Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, and Mr Robot among others - but, generally speaking, they don't receive the same fanfare as their Netflix-bred brethren. Although Netflix is as guilty as dud programming as the rest of them, it's worth mentioning Amazon Prime does get some pretty terrible new additions from time to time.

So always check out guide to the best Amazon Prime TV shows before you dive in head-first. It's also the only streaming service app on the Nintendo Switch aside from the newly-included Youtube app. Hulu comes in two flavors: the standard on-demand streaming service you've always known and loved, and the new Hulu with Live TV -to learn more you can read our full Hulu review here.

Sure, it'll air with a few advertisements, but it's nothing you're not used to coming from traditional cable. On the homepage you'll find highlighted shows based on your past visits to the site as well as curated content from Hulu HQ. This includes game trailers, new movie trailers, popular clips from last week's new episodes as well as a few themed playlists. You can sign up for a free trial on its website.

The service lives up to its name by offering you a bevy of live TV channels and 50 hours cloud DVR service and two simultaneous screens. The biggest problem with Hulu is that it lets users run head first into the paywall, keeping you from the content you're most apt to pay for.

Some call this good business. Some call it extortion. Wherever you stand on the subject the fact that you get so much free content upfront means that the old adage of "you get what you pay for" definitely does not apply here. Unlike some of the other options on this list, PlayStation isn't exactly synonymous with TV streaming. But the giant of gaming has stepped out of its comfort zone and taken a leap into the world of TV, quite successfully we might add. Launching PlayStation Vue way back in , PlayStation has been trying to compete with the big names of streaming like Netflix and Hulu for a few years now but until recently, the service hasn't had much to offer.

Jump forward to and PlayStation Vue has become a competing force in the cord-cutting scene. And not just for PlayStation owners, either.

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