Now Internet-delivered TV is real. Live streaming TV has captured the attention of a wide audience. Here we give you an easy guide to 24/7 streaming in the Middle East.
Channels and hit series that were once strictly bound by the confines of a cable subscription can now be accessed for a small monthly fee with no contract, no equipment rentals, and no crappy customer service to deal with. There’s never been a better time to cancel your cable subscription.
Here is our quick easy guide to 24/7 entertainment online, hassle free and AWESOME!
First things first: You have good Internet?
Living in the middle east has pros and cons, but one of the biggest disadvantages is bad internet. Well for streaming good quality, you’ll need at least 2 Mbps which is not hardly expensive (~$15 per month in Egypt).
Netflix and other similar streaming video services suggest downstream speeds of 5 Mbps, but that’s simply not going to cut it for most people, especially those with families that might want to stream more than one show or movie at a time.
But consider that 4 or more Mbps to get you HD video stream, as you may experience loading and buffering delays if your network is getting choked up with any other traffic. Avoid the buffer delays and upgrade your internet speed if you can.
Of course, if you’re looking to get into the streaming big leagues to access the growing array of 4K Ultra HD streaming content available, you’ll want to raise the stakes even higher when it comes to internet speed. For streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon you’ll likely want to have at least 25Mbps on hand (which is what Netflix explicitly recommends).
In conclusion, fast and reliable Internet is an integral key to a positive streaming experience.
Getting a real streaming device
You might have a Blu-ray player or smart TV (JUMIA (BUY here) or Souq (BUY here)) with streaming apps on board, but if you’re going to transition to a full-time streaming entertainment plan, you’ll want a device purpose-built for the job. Samsung and LG smart TVs are relatively cheap in Egypt and you’ll find many on SALE like from JUMIA or Souq who that give you the convenience of delivering to your doorstep avoiding traffic and parking hassle with free returns.
Depending on where you live in the middle east (or the world`) we will give you a few options for steaming devices that convert any TV to a smart one. These devices play all sorts of apps and are essential for streaming.
Perhaps the best value for money is the Google Chromecast. The Chromecast costs about $35 but is sold for about 500 EGP at JUMIA (BUY here) or Souq (BUY here for 500 EGP in Egypt or AED 129 in UAE or 169 SAR in KSA) depending on your country.
Chromecast, the wildly popular streaming USB doesn’t have a remote or on-screen menu, but it lets you use your smartphone or tablet to “cast” content at your TV, and it’s constantly being updated for new ways to play. Your mobile whether Android or iOS controls the TV but you can also mirror content from your PC to the TV screen.
The device finally got an upgrade in hardware last year, as well as a much more prominent app that adds new features like voice-operated search, all for the same $35 price point as the original. That said, search is still relatively limited via the app, and those who want to be able to exchange their phone or tablet for a more prominent interface on the big screen will want to go with one of the more traditional streaming boxes on our list.
Another excellent option is the Roku. And thanks to the Roku 4’s speed and ease of use, its addition of 4K Ultra HD support, and Roku’s comprehensive catalog of content, the latest from the brand is our favorite device on the market right now. With thousands of available “channels,” Roku connects to virtually every major streaming service online. More importantly, the interface is very intuitive; you can quickly search for content from any provider by actor, series or movie title, or the genre you’re looking for. Roku will even tell you which services offer what you want for free, and which will charge for it. The remote is also super handy — you can even connect a pair of headphones for wireless listening late at night.
The Roku4 is sold at Souq (BUY here for 2400 EGP in Egypt or AED 950 in UAE or 799 SAR in KSA) or Amazon (BUY here).depending on your country. It does come in a USB only version or Roku3 that is cheaper at JUMIA (BUY here).
While the Roku 4 is awesome, checkout the Apple TV ($69-$200). After years of waiting, Apple finally debuted the latest version of its streaming box, which began shipping in October 2015. The new device comes in two versions: a 32GB version for $150, and a 64GB version for $200. The big seller for the latest Apple TV is its revamped touch-pad remote, which is designed to operate much more like an iPhone than its predecessor and it can also be used as a gaming remote. The new system is also faster, and more focused around integrating music and gaming, but it does not have 4K Ultra HD support. As such, many will want to go with an alternative like the Roku 4 or the latest Amazon Fire TV (below), or stick with the old version and spend a lot less money.
Priced at half the price ($69), the previous generation Apple TV is definitely showing its age, but it’s still very handy for Apple fans thanks to Airplay, which easily allows you to stream media from your iPhone or iPad to the TV. If you’re a big-time Apple fan who won’t be getting into 4K in the foreseeable future, either the old or newest Apple TV may be a viable choice as your streaming hub.
The last on the list is Amazon’s Fire TV which also offers voice-activated search, and a wide selection of games. The second-generation of devices from Amazon (released in the fall of 2015) offer a whole new bag of tricks, including an updated Fire TV streaming stick with voice-activation ($50), 4K Ultra HD streaming support for the standard streaming box ($99), and an upgraded bundle for gaming that comes with a dedicated controller ($140).
Fast, easy to use, and integrated with Amazon’s clever voice assistant, Alexa, Amazon’s streaming boxes old and new make for enticing choices when setting up your cord-cutting system.
Choosing your video streaming services
Now that you’ve gotten all of the hardware you’ll need, it’s time to consider which streaming services will best meet your entertainment needs. We suggest aiming to strike a balance between variety and cost.
Netflix’s streaming service costs $8-9 per month for single users, and extends up to $12 per month for a family plan that allows up to four users at once, with the added bonus of access to 4K content. Netflix’s catalog is loaded with full TV series (past seasons only), scores of movies both licensed and produced in-house, and original shows like House of Cards, Marvel’s Daredevil, Master of None, and so many more, all of which come commercial free. Must I warn you, the global version of Netflix has a limited library than the US one but it does have thousands of shows and movies yet.
While Amazon’s Prime video service often crosses over into Netflix’s catalog it does have exclusive rights to a host of classic HBO series like The Sopranos and Oz, along with its own original series such as the critically-acclaimed Transparent. The service has been working hard to close the gap with Netflix, and beyond, including the addition of bundles like Showtime and Starz networks at reduced prices with a Prime account, along with some of the first streaming content available in both 4K and HDR, though the reception of the latter especially has been mixed so far. Register now to Amazon Prime.
The company is even rumored to be looking to add live TV from the likes of AMC and ESPN, and Amazon also offers video on demand content, allowing you to rent or buy newer movies and TV shows. Finally, Amazon has introduced a new monthly plan for $9 per month. However, if you tend to do much shopping at Amazon at all, Prime’s free 2-day shipping makes the $99/year subscription a much better deal.
Other services as Hulu and HBO and many apps offer online streaming but are blocked in the region. Which leaves us to other websites where you can easily stream for FREE!
Check out watch-series.to and putlocker.is, these two websites used by thousands of middle easterns have ALL the series and movies you can think of for free. Note that we are not endorsing any of these websites, we’re just pointing that they exist.
If you want to stream from any website using your mobile to your streaming device either use Chrome for Android or an extension as Momocast for iOS. You may use other apps as AllCast to stream stuff from your mobile.
All Google applications are compatible with Google Chromecast especially YouTube. YouTube has thousands of documentaries and movies that stream perfectly on average internet bandwidth with no problem. Watch the video here below.
Facebook now allows you to stream its videos to streaming devices. Imagine watching all those funny videos on playlist on widescreen instead of staring into your tiny phone screen.
If you have any movies on your PC or laptop , you can stream them to your streaming device easily. Macs stream to Apple Tvs in a glimpse and Chrome browser has many extensions to load the videos onto the Chromecast.
In conclusion, to stream you’ll need a good connection, choose any hardware that fits your need and budget, stream from wherever you want and you get 24/7 streaming entertainment in the middle east for peanuts!
If you have any questions, leave in the comment section below…