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Definition

video streaming service

A video streaming service is an on demand online entertainment source for TV shows, movies and other streaming media.

These services provide an alternative to cable and satellite on demand service, often at a lower cost. Use of streaming services often requires fees, either per view or subscription. The videos come from a network that is typically cloud-based. The availability, content and price of services may vary from one region to another.

Some services feature wide hardware support for numerous devices such as smart TVs, streaming media receivers, computers, tablets and smartphones. Others may be more limited in the type of devices, like Hulu, or tailored to a specific brand’s devices, much like iTunes for Apple devices.  Other services are ad-supported, like Google video, or run on a freemium model and also offer some full feature movies at a cost.

Examples of pay video streaming services include Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Instant, LoveFilm, Baidu, NowTV and Vimeo. Free sources include the Internet Archive, Crackle, Engage Media, Retrovision, Uncle Earl’s Classic TV Channel and Shocker Internet Drive In.

This was last updated in December 2013

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