Originally Posted by bondoben
My problem is I just don't know enough to answer your question correctly. Whatever contraption I need I would like to use it instead of having to depend on cable. My wish list ( pipe dream maybe ) would be able to store all - most - a lot - of the movies I would like to download - stream - whatever so as to access them whenever I wanted and if possible on whatever tv I wanted.... .
There's a difference between downloading and streaming a video. Both send a video file over the Internet to your PC or Network Media Player or video game console or Smart TV. But with downloading a video you have to wait until the video is completely finished downloading before you can view it. So you end up with a copy of the video stored locally so can do what you want with it including viewing it again or storing it on another device or making yet another copy. But the legal downloading services like ITunes from Apple.(They have a program for Windows as well as the Mac) cost money and have ways to limit what you can do with the video you downloaded. The illegal ones don't limit you at all.
Streaming on the other hand allows you to watch the video even as it's being sent over the Internet but you don't get a local copy of it. Only a small portion of the video is stored locally in a buffer. Generally just enough to cover delays sending the video caused by the Internet and to allow you to do some rewinding of the video. The video is stored on the streaming site so if you want to view it again you will have to stream it again. Most streaming sites keep track of where you are time wise in a video so you don't have to start at the beginning.
Many streaming services also cost money (Netflix $7.99 a month for streaming, Amazon $79 for joining Amazon Prime) or require you to watch commercials like Hulu or have both a monthly fee and require you to watch commercials like HuluPlus. Still other streaming sites allow you to purchase a video you want to be streamed on an individual basis. But if you drop the streaming service you lose access to all the videos you have or want to stream.
If you want to store downloaded (not streamed) videos (however you obtained them) you will need to store them on a hard drive. The hard drive can be in a PC or it can be in a NAS (Network Attached Storage). A NAS is basically a small dedicated computer usually running Linux (a non Windows operating system) that just looks like a bunch of hard drives to other devices on the network like a PC or Network Media Player.