We’ve reached a point now where media is as often streamed as it is owned. Buying albums has become a more niche pastime in the face of services like Spotify, and Netflix paved the way for a number of other streaming services that are currently dominating the TV and film world.
Thanks to all of that, we now expect that all of our latest devices will be optimized for streaming, whether that’s smartphones, tablets, or full-size PCs. So how well do the latest mobile devices stack up to their stationary peers?
As far back as we’ve even had video capabilities on our mobile phones, there has been an expectation that we’re trading visual quality for convenience. A smartphone naturally can’t put out the same graphics as a PC GPU that’s four times the size of it, after all. Thanks to some cunning engineering, however, you’d be hard-pressed to see a major difference these days beyond the smaller screen.
We’ve seen an increasing number of media platforms optimizing for mobile streaming, such as in the online casino world which has been a champion of mobile-first presentation for a long time. The streamed games you find there such as roulette and blackjack come through in full high-definition video like you’re in the room with the host, making it no surprise that a live blackjack offer for new customers at somewhere like Paddy Power proves popular with mobile players.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll know that 5G is the newest and biggest technology when it comes to mobile connections. This is particularly critical for streaming as those higher-quality graphics inevitably take up more data and more bandwidth. While fibre broadband looks set to keep the edge over wireless connections for a while to come yet, the two have never been closer in terms of speed.
More and more, it’s coming down to how you use it. If you’re streaming indoors with minimal movement then broadband is still a better option, but as soon as any movement is involved then 5G is a solid option now with comparable speed as long as coverage allows.
This is probably the one area where mobile streaming inherently can’t compete with a PC. Even with a more basic keyboard and mouse, you’re going to have many times more control options than can be crammed into a small screen. We have had multi-touch screen technology for over a decade but compared to pressing a big chunky button that says ‘play’ or ‘pause, most tend to find ‘old-fashioned’ way more user-friendly for the time being. With that said, we’ve been on the verge of several hands-free options for years now so this may switch up in the near future.
The short answer about mobile streaming is that it still may be behind very slightly compared to desktop, laptop or even smart TV options, but those differences are becoming less and less obvious with every year that goes by.