A lot of people are into on-demand TV nowadays. This is because it’s just easier to watch content from online services like Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. But, a lot of people don’t really know the difference between torrents vs. streaming. That’s why we wrote this guide to demystify the subject once and for all.
What is the Difference Between Torrents and Streaming?
Basically, torrenting is the ability to download files straight to your computer. Unlike streaming which requires you to watch content on-demand, torrenting enables you to store files so you can watch them at a later time. In the meantime, you can keep them in your computer’s hard drive or even on an external storage device. Torrents vs. streaming is similar to live vs. recorded programming.
Anyone can stream content legally using paid subscriptions on platforms like Netflix, Hulu and NowTV, with the exception of YouTube which is free. Torrenting is often seen as a risky and illegal activity. This is because there’s no subscription involved but this is only half the story.
What is Torrenting?
Torrenting allows you to share really big files through a particular network. It’s called torrenting because the software you use is a torrent client. This is what enables you to look for different kinds of content. This allows you to download content from different user computers who’re connected to the network. This means the pressure is distributed across many different servers so users can enjoy fast downloads. But the catch is that you have to pay it forward by sharing the files you’ve downloaded with other users as well. This is seeding.
Torrenting is not illegal and it’s actually a reliable and convenient way to share and access content online. You can even access a large number of Linux operating systems through torrenting. Or the more popular files like movies, series, freeware apps etc.
However, issues arise when people try to use torrenting as a way to access copyrighted material. This may include music albums and blockbuster Hollywood movies. This is obviously illegal and you should avoid doing it because you could face criminal charges. That’s because downloading copyrighted content is the same as stealing intellectual property. Not only that but this content comes riddled with ransomware, viruses, and malware.
Attention: Read before you continue
Governments and ISPs across the world monitor their users online activities. If found streaming or browsing content on your Fire TV Stick, mobile or PC, you could get into serious trouble.
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- Your ISP: Amazon Technologies Inc.
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What is Streaming?
Next in our comparison of torrents vs. streaming we’re going to explore the latter. With streaming, you basically use your computer to view content from another device. Streaming allows you to watch said content in real time through an unbroken data stream, hence the name. This is how all the popular streaming sites work. From Netflix and iPlayer to Spotify, YouTube, Vimeo and Amazon Prime Video to name but a few.
Streaming is safer than torrenting. This is because you won’t need to download anything, especially if you use the services we mentioned. The only downside to streaming is that it requires a strong Internet connection. Otherwise, you will have buffering issues and poor visual quality.
The good news is there’s a number of streaming websites that allow you to download and store content in a similar manner to torrenting so that you can listen to it or watch it later. This includes sites like Netflix, iPlayer and Spotify. It’s important to note that not all streaming services are the same and some are more reliable than others. For instance, you might see messages from certain websites that ask you to update Flash or click on certain mysterious links. This never leads to anything good. You should also consider the moral aspect of watching copyrighted content that you should be paying for.
Technically, streaming pirated material isn’t actually illegal because you’re not downloading anything. But, if you’re the one providing the stream to copyrighted content then you can be tried in a court of law. There’s also the fact that you’re contributing to content theft by watching copyrighted content for free, thus robbing someone else of their livelihood.
What You Should Choose?
Torrents vs. streaming, what’s the best option? For the best results, we recommend you stay away from torrenting anything because it makes you vulnerable to illegal viewing of pirated content, which is an illegal activity. Rather watch free content on YouTube and Vimeo or just use a legal streaming service. That way, you can rest easy knowing that you’re watching paid-for content that’s diverse and most importantly safe.
Let us know in the comments section below which you think it’s safer – torrents or streaming?