Downloading music & films via broadband
Downloading music was a controversial practice for a long period of time as the legal issues around it threatened to kick up a storm.
Those issues are still being hotly debated, but the consumer has benefitted from a glut of new services hitting the market.
Official bodies such as iTunes and Spotify have a huge library of content which is all available to download – at a price.
Thanks to higher download speeds and internet packages with unlimited usage, it is now possible to get our hands on even more music than ever before.
The pros and cons of music downloads
One major positive to downloading is that individual songs can be purchased rather than a whole album, while it’s also possible to create playlists with just the music we like.
There’s also no need to make any real physical effort to gain access to the content you want, while there’s access to music from unsigned bands that would never be available otherwise.
That said, not all bands’ catalogues are available from download sites and there is no physical product to show what has been spent.
However, when all you need to get started is a computer or a smartphone, the world of music is quite literally at your finger tips.
Online music options
Apple and their iTunes store provide access to a wide catalogue of songs spanning the last six to seven decades.
Any devices such as iPhones, iPods or iPads must be synced to a computer in order to transfer content and receive updates but that process is relatively simple and requires minimal effort.
Streaming apps are an alternative, with Spotify being a great example of a site that allows you to stream and buy music.
There is a free version with adverts or a payable version which allows music to be brought and added to an existing library.
In this respect Spotify provides an easy means with which to access music, although certain bands and artists are unavailable.
Just ensure that you download from reputable sites in order to stay out of trouble and be careful not to infringe on any legal rights.
Downloading TV and films
Check with your provider
In Ireland Sky, eir and Virgin Media have exclusive video on demand services which allow customers to download a whole host of TV programming and film content.
With Sky On Demand, customers can download a large range of programmes and TV box sets at any time as part of their Sky TV subscriptions. Sky Movies subscribers can access hundreds of movies available for download as well as many more available to rent via the Sky Store.
With eir On Demand, customers can record and store 375 hours of TV with your eir Vision+ box and watch the latest movies.
Virgin Media customers can also download a feast of TV and film content via the Virgin TV Anywhere app, which is free for all Virgin Media subscribers.
With Virgin Movies and Boxsets, service customers can access an extensive library of box sets, complete series, latest movies and children’s content all available to download via a multitude of different devices.
Downloading and streaming video content
The internet provides access to a huge number of streaming and download sites which allow people to buy, rent and download video content.
With video players available on many different platforms, users can stream or download the exact video that they want.
To stream a lot of movies you’ll need a quick download speed and a large download allowance, while many files will come in high and low quality depending on the type of platform available.
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Where do I stream TV, film and videos?
Two of the most well-known sites in Ireland for streaming content are Netflix and YouTube, and both have plenty of music, videos, TV and film content available to stream online.
These are not available for download though, meaning you’ll have to stream each video every time you want to watch it.
However, YouTube does provide access to lots of content without the need to buy any of it, making it an affordable option for watching media.
Meanwhile the RTÉ player provides a streaming service for any programming shown in the last 21 days, which is ideal for catching up on anything you may have missed.
Another popular on demand video service with Irish audiences is the 3player, which is provided by TV3. It streams programmes broadcast on both TV3 and 3e.
These streaming services can be connected to a TV so that movies and video can be displayed on a larger screen.
A few tips for staying out trouble
The internet is a minefield of copyright infringement, and it’s important to stay up to speed. Remember that your provider can block your service and you can get taken to court for copyright infringement.
- Download only from reputable sources
- Avoid illegal file sharing
- Don’t duplicate anything without permission! Think of it like a DVD or VHS tape
- If in doubt, always err on the side of caution
Also if your broadband service is capped with a limited usage, you will need to be mindful of how much you are downloading on a monthly basis. Without doubt you will not want to pay extra charges for exceeding your download limit.
Subscribing to a broadband service with unlimited downloads is a good way to avoid any unnecessary charges.