With a global pandemic keeping people home more than ever before, right around the world, it’s no wonder that streaming services have become one of the most popular things on the planet. Netflix, for instance, surpassed a whopping 200 million subscribers at the end of 2020, making it the biggest video service of its kind. Disney+, which launched in late 2019, also managed to sign up close to 87 million subscribers in its first year alone.
Whether you’re a customer of Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or another company, it’s helpful to take steps to make sure you’re getting the most value out of your subscription(s) possible. On their own, these services seem low-cost, but they do add up over time and even more so if you sign up for multiple offerings. Here are ways to optimize your streaming service use in 2021.
Choose Options That Integrate Nicely
Make life easier for yourself and save money by choosing streaming products that integrate nicely with your home’s existing technology. For example, if you already possess a media player, dongle, TV, game console, etc., that’s designed to stream, you won’t have to worry about buying an additional tool to get set up.
Remember, however, that all the different gadgets work differently, so you have to test and research each. Don’t assume that the devices you own currently will talk automatically to the streaming service(s) you select. You should find all the info you need in the user guide for the products or online, via manufacturer updates, forums, and blogs.
Make Use of Freebies
Today, many companies have a free trial option for new users. You may be able to use a streaming service for free for one or two weeks free of charge to see if you like the option, if it has the kind of content you enjoy, and is easy to use.
Utilizing this trial period is helpful because not only does it give you a period where you’re not paying anything, but it also lets you check if you get the “bang for your buck” you expected. After the trial period ends, cancel your account before paying any ongoing charges or committing to a longer-term paid subscription.
Obtain Reliable Internet and Ensure It’s Secure
To watch streaming content effectively every day, you require reliable internet. Having slow, unsteady Wi-Fi with a limited data allowance won’t give you the kind of viewing or sound quality you need, and the content is likely to freeze, skip around, get blurry, or have other issues. Avoid this situation by upgrading your internet to a high-speed, higher-data option as needed.
Plus, for streaming time to go smoothly, you need a secure digital network that hackers can’t break into. Increasing numbers of cybercriminals use the internet and other means to cause mischief now, such as locking users out, crashing systems, and stealing data.
Keep your devices safer by setting up a secure network with a quality, comprehensive security software product. Also, use the firewalls likely already pre-installed on your computers. Furthermore, lock your modem, other gadgets, and streaming accounts, etc., with hard-to-crack passwords at least eight characters in length. Keep all software up to date to stop hackers from breaking in via security gaps that open up in older versions over time, too.
Set Up Individual Profiles and Watchlists
Another way to get the most out of your streaming service use this year and beyond is to create your own profiles and watchlists for each company you access content from. Using individual profiles for everyone in your home or within your group who utilizes a service means you can personalize multiple factors.
For example, enjoy personal viewing lists, recommendations, show ratings, “continue watching” features, and more. These elements save time and ensure you keep seeing the kind of content of interest to you and don’t have to remember where you’re up to in programs.
Share Subscription Fees with Others
If you’re looking to cut costs on streaming services, access more of them in total, or generally save money, it’s often possible to share subscription fees with other people. For example, if you only ever need to watch content on a single screen in your household at a time, you could share a subscription with a friend or family member living elsewhere. Alternatively, if you have housemates, share the costs with them.
These days, most platforms have monthly or annual plans that provide access to content on a set number of devices, regardless of the location of those machines. There must be a designated primary account holder, in most cases, though.
Streaming services have been a must-have for millions of people over the last year and are likely to be as popular in 2021. Follow the tips above to help you get the most you can out of your subscriptions.