Years ago, software TV online downloads made their way to computers to watch all kinds of television programs online. Many 3rd party, free and cheap pay-to-use services sprung up over the Internet later on and appealed to a small market (individuals) worldwide. Most TV software downloads were only compatible to Windows computers, and still are today, leaving many Mac and Linux computer users left out.
Nowadays, anyone can go online and do a search for free TV software. Many download websites will be listed but many of these freeware products are not safe to use. Many are not supported very well, if at all. Many are not compatible with new computers and operating systems. And many of them cause computer crashes, freezes, viruses, malware, etc.
What has become safer to use and more entertaining are 3rd party web-based TV/VOD services that are low-cost. Unlike free or low-cost TV software, Internet based TV/VOD services offer better entertainment. Of course, there are good some good freeware out there and pay-to-use software but web-based has more of an upside.
However, there are some gray areas to consider. Web-based TV/VOD services bring together live TV and/or on-demand TV at your fingertips. You can access all the content from one location and use any streaming device that has a web browser. An individual can watch live premium TV channels from popular networks with live sports, movies, TV shows, and news broadcasts. Or watch on-demand movies and TV shows. Some web-based services offer both live and on-demand TV.
If saving cost comes is at the top of your list, then paying as little as $40 one-time or $30 annual fee is a lot of savings compared to cable/satellite TV. One could use the savings to invest in a faster Internet connection to avoid buffering and playback issues. A fast Internet connection will allow connecting more steaming devices to ones wifi networks, without a major decrease in Internet connection speed.
A faster Internet connection of 25 Mbps or higher will also help when more people are online watching the same streaming content. What this boils down to is avoiding buffering and playback issues. The best streaming device to use, believe it or not, is a computer. But any Internet-connected devices with a web browser can also access a web-based TV/VOD website — this includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc.
Software TV online downloads have limited content to watch. Although there could be 1000s of channels, many dont work/play. Overall, the entertainment isnt that good. Unless you live outside the US or living off a very tight budget, free software may be the only way to go. But paying $30 or $40 would be the ideal thing to do, if wanting the ability to watch any live sporting event worldwide instantly. Or want to watch entertaining old/recent movie and TV shows.
If getting access to many news broadcasts are of any interest to you, then a web-based TV services would be better to use. Less problems occur with these services. You download nothing, so nothing eats up hard drive space. Theres no virus to be concerned about or computer crashes, unlike those old un-supported TV software downloads.
Web-based TV services work well when connecting a computer to TV. You simply log into the web-based TV members area, point and click to a channel link name, and start watching the program. The picture quality will either be SD (Standard Definition 720p) or HD (High Definition 1080p). With a fast Internet connection speed (25 Mbps or higher) there shouldnt be a problem watching any streaming content online.
With a wifi network, any steaming device can be connected. An Internet-connected computer can be connected to a smart TV wirelessly or HDMI cable (or compatible cable). A computer can be connected to any TV or HDTV via HDMI cable (or compatible cable). And the same for any smartphone, though some of them may not connect wirelessly without the use of an app, if at all.
TV software doesnt offer the best option to watch TV online. A good web-based TV/VOD service can offer the next best thing to cable and satellite TV.