Entertainment through Online Streaming – What’s the General Consensus Today?

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

The world of today is one in which everybody’s entertainment needs are easily accessible and available with the touch of a few buttons. It wasn’t too long ago that televisions were programmed to receive four or five channels but now there are endless networks separated by genre, and programs can be consumed on demand. Long gone are the days of picking up movies from a video rental store, as these are now streamed on hugely popular services like Netflix. And gaming online has become so advanced that players can log on and be competing against people in other countries in a matter of seconds. Here, we examine some of the best ways to enjoy films, television, and games in 2018.

Watching Films – Netflix

The meteoric rise of Netflix

Netflix has recently taken the world by storm, emerging as the number one method of consuming television serials and movies at home. But while some may have only heard of the service founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in the last few years, it has actually been in existence since 1997. Netflix was originally a DVD distribution company, designed to replace the format of rental giants Blockbuster. Users could select which films they wanted to watch from a vast list of options and have them delivered to their homes through the mail. By 2002, it was reported in the New York Times that Netflix mailed around 190,000 discs per day to its 670,000 monthly subscribers. At the time, the company was worth $85.2 million. Even so, it was failing to turn a profit, and the company founders even tried to sell up to Blockbuster at one point. In hindsight, they will be eternally thankful that the now-non-existent video rental company refused to take their offer.

By quarter four of 2017, Netflix had 117.58 million subscribers. This is an increase of nearly 100 million in six years. While their DVD delivery service was a novel and original idea, it was streaming and producing unique content that helped the company to thrive. Netflix is now becoming renowned for producing a number of its own shows and films, while at the same time offering content from other networks and production companies.

One of the most notable and classically binge-worthy Netflix creations is House of Cards, which began in 2013 and was initially directed by esteemed filmmaker David Fincher. With Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey starring as the protagonist, the dark political thriller was destined for success and has an impressive rating of 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix have also been behind other critically acclaimed series such as Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, and Master of None.

The world-famous streaming company, which is available in more than 190 countries, is now trying to change the game in the way films are released and watched. In 2017, Netflix released its first “blockbuster”, in the form of Will Smith-led supernatural cop thriller, Bright. The service paid $90 million for the movie, and it has become one of the most-streamed programs ever. There are plans to release many more films in this fashion going forwards, and it seems Netflix is now trying to usurp the cinema too.

Online Gaming – Playing Poker

Poker has come a long way over the years

Online gaming is prevalent in every genre nowadays, mainly thanks to super-fast internet speeds, which have improved massively in the last ten to fifteen years. One gaming sector that has arguably reaped the greatest benefits from this is poker because it has continued to flourish since the introduction of broadband internet. In fact, the years between 2003 and 2008 have been described as the “poker boom” because so many people became aware of the game, and started playing in the online poker rooms that were cropping up all over the web at the time.

You only have to look at the number of entrants to the number one poker event of the year, the World Series of Poker, to see what kind of effect the internet had on the number of people playing the game. In 2003, when Chris Moneymaker won the epic contest with 5/4 off-suit there were 839 entrants. The following year, when Greg Raymer topped the pile to win $5 million, there was an astonishing increase to 2,576 participants. A year after that, the number had shot up to 5,619.

Sites like 888poker are leading the way in terms of creating the perfect online gaming experience. There are over 10 million users playing at the site, which has won the EGR Best Poker Operator award three years running, meaning it’s always easy to find a game instantly. The site creates a social environment for users to enjoy while playing poker and has also introduced some modern formats of the game such as Flopomania, where players can skip straight to the action. Poker sites like this have shown that they can evolve alongside technology, and players should expect them to become even more advanced in the near future, as things like augmented and virtual reality become engrained in mainstream culture.

Watching Television Shows – TV on Demand

The BBC iPlayer is a hugely popular on-demand service

While Netflix may be changing the way people watch films and well-produced television series, the streaming service hasn’t yet tapped into everyday soap operas, reality TV shows, or news features. For these things, on-demand players from different networks reign supreme.

It wasn’t too long ago that people had to study TV guides to be able to plan their viewing for the evening ahead. If you missed a program or were unable to record it, you’d have to wait for repeats. Now, thanks to the internet and TV on demand, there is no risk of anyone ever missing out on watching the programs they love. Many channels now have their own streaming services and offerings such as the BBC iPlayer and Channel Four’s All 4 are enabling viewers to watch programs any time they want. Usually, programs are only held for a specified period of time but, still, there is much less chance of missing anything by having a service like this. With smart TVs now coming with internet capabilities, watching TV on demand can be done from the actual TV, rather than through a computer.

There is still live TV available but the question is, with all of these streaming services, will it continue in the future? TV viewing has changed so drastically that viewers almost find it strange to watch things live now without being able to pause or rewind. Also, if Netflix decides to take on soap operas and news, this could drastically affect established TV channels.

In only a short space of time, the way we get our entertainment has evolved massively. Now that everything is available to us at the mere touch of a few buttons, what could possibly improve this moving forwards? These are certainly extremely exciting times for lovers of television, films, and gaming.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

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