Help Streaming

Overview

It is important to realise that usually you will not be able to view a streamed film at the same high quality as a film you have downloaded. This is because streaming is totally dependent on internet speed which varies considerably from region to region.

Films are delivered by streaming to you in two situations by SteepEdge:

1. When you purchase a download, you also get the ability to stream the film that you have purchased. This streaming link titled Watch Now can be found in My Library when you log in and it is active as long as you remain a member of SteepEdge. It is a great way to view films on your computer, Internet connected TV or mobile device such as iPad, iPhone or Android, when you are connected to the Internet and are on the move. It can even work with a 4G and 3G cellular data signal (although the quality will vary).

2. If you purchase a film to rent, it will be available to watch by streaming only for the specified rental period (currently 7 days), but you can watch it as many times as you want during that time. Log in and go to My Library where you will find a list of the films you have purchased and rented and choose Watch Now for your chosen film.

Having successfully purchased a film, a confirmation will appear on-screen containing a link to the SteepEdge My Library section so that you can access the purchase. When you click on this, a separate window will open and you can view the streamed film. If you have purchased the film to own, the link to stream the film will stay in your library as long as you remain a SteepEdge member. If renting, it will remain for the specified period (currently 7 days).

Please note: in order to access My Library you will have to log in to the site with your user name and password.

For more details see Watching Films.

Streaming

The technology of streaming media is developing very rapidly. It is based on the principle of multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a streaming provider. The media is not held or stored permanently on your computer and cannot be copied onto your device.

If the film is being streamed then the size, bitrate and Internet speed are all factors which affect the success of streaming. That is why we deliver Adaptive Streaming, which automatically senses the speed of the Internet connection.

Internet speeds vary from place to place and also at different times of the day. At lower speeds Adaptive Streaming will deliver the film at lower bitrates (and lower quality) to help the film be viewed without interruption or buffering. As and when Internet speeds improve then the bitrate will be increased (and quality increased.)

An Internet broadband speed of 500 Kbps is essential for streaming, but in reality 5 Mbps or more is recommended. High definition content is really only successful over 10 Mbps. You can measure your Internet speed using a variety of free services on the web such as Internet Speed Test or BBC iPlayer Diagnostics.

The size of screen you watch a streamed film on will also effect the viewing quality. For example, at the same Internet speed a film may play well on a small screen, whereas it will break up and pause on a large screen. High internet speeds are required to stream successfully to large screens.

However, with recent developments in streaming and compressing films, we can now stream to mobile devices receiving relatively low Wi-Fi Internet speeds and even 3G and 4G cellular data signals.

Significant developments are occurring by using streaming to watch films on TVs connected to set-top boxes (connected to the Internet) in particular Apple TV, Boxee, or GoogleTV ( e.g. Sony Internet TV and Logitech Revue.) Additionally, Apple AirPlay is available and compatible with many devices.

System requirements for streaming are:

  • Windows 7, Vista, XP (Service Pack 1) OR
  • Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
  • 1 GB of free disk space
  • Screen resolution of 1024 x 768
  • 500 Kbps broadband Internet connection, though 2000 Kbps is much better
  • Browser latest versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari or FireFox
  • Adobe Flash version 9 or higher

Please note that iOS (iPhones and iPads) and Android devices do not need Flash, because the stream is delivered automatically in HTML5 if required.

When you go to full screen mode on the player, it has an effect on streaming. The film would typically change from 480 x 360 pixels at 512 Kbps to 1280 x 960 pixels at 1.8 Mbps. Crucially, to enable a successful stream at full screen resolution it requires the film to be less than 70% of the detected bandwidth. In this example a broadband speed of 731 Kbps is fine for the small screen player but when you go to full screen you require at least 2.58 Mbps otherwise interruption and buffering could occur.