The Difference between Live Streaming TV & On Demand TV | WhyFly

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March 27, 2019 0 Broadband

The Difference between Live Streaming TV & On Demand TV

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The number of acronyms and terms used in the streaming and cordcutting circles can make cutting the cord seem elaborate. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Like any tech solution, descriptors pop up as a shorthand. The terms allow us to sort the many streaming solutions into categories and compare them to like products. Get to know the differences between Live Streaming TV services and a service that offers On Demand TV, and you’ll be one step closer to cutting the cord.

Timing is everything

The main difference between the two types of service is timing. Think of it this way; Live TV viewers scroll through whatever content the service chooses and select a program in progress. It’s very much like a traditional television or cable TV experience. When you turn it on, you surf up/down channels to find a program to watch that is already in progress.

In contrast, on demand TV has a library of titles that viewers can browse before selecting one to watch. You log in to the service or app and click on a title to start it. You can pause, stop, and resume it at your leisure. One on demand service you are likely familiar with is Netflix.

So, timing is the biggest element separating the types of service. There are also other differences, like content, price, available languages, and more.

Services by Type

Of course, with any rule comes exceptions. Some of the services offer on-demand and live streaming TV content. Here are examples of brand names you may recognize assigned to a service type:

What’s showing

Live Streaming TV services, like Sling TVHulu Live TV, and YouTube TV, are the ones you would likely choose to replace your cable TV provider. You’re less likely to see newly released movies or original content on Live Streaming TV. The provider curates and arranges programs in an order that is most likely to attract viewers, so you get a broad variety of channels with content showing 24/7. Typically there are more channels to choose from, and all of them show advertising.

On demand TV services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, allow you to select a specific show or movie from a library. These providers spend billions to amass a portfolio of shows, movies, and more. The content is stored in a cloud, available for each user to select start watching from the beginning at any time. There is typically limited or no advertising on these channels. On demand services often specialize in a type of content – Shuddershows a curated collection of indie and classic horror and psychological thriller movies.

Subscription price:


HBO Now allows subscribers to access HBO’s entire library of original content, as well as films, and documentaries from content partners. HBO Now doesn’t include access to live streaming programming on HBO’s linear cable channel. It costs $14.99 per month and can be downloaded from providers like Roku, Amazon Channels, or subscribed to directly.

Kanopy is an on-demand streaming platform that features a large collection of award-winning films and documentaries free to members of subscribing libraries. In the same way that libraries enrich people’s lives with books, the Kanopy service gives access to films that inspire, enrich, and challenge perspectives. If your library offers the service to members, log in and stream commercial-free content.

In-language options exist for both types of service

Sling TV is a live TV streaming service with two packages of about 40 channels from which to choose. On either the Orange or the Blue plan, you can add the optional Best of Spanish TV Extra package for $5/month for 20 Spanish language programming channels. Although both the Orange + Spanish and Blue + Spanish plans give you access to Spanish language channels, Orange includes ESPN Deportes. Blue includes Universo, ¡Hola!TV, estrellaTV, History en Español, de Pelicula, CineLatino, and more.

Univision NOW is a streaming service that includes on-demand and live sporting events, specials, and series. Subscribers can watch hundreds of primetime and library shows on demand, or catch up on the past three days of broadcast. Viewers also have access to live stream the broadcast. The Total Access plan includes live streams of Univision and UniMás and to all of the on-demand content for $7.99/month. The Collection plan gives you access to a limited library of shows including novelas, dramas, and comedies for $2.99/month.

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