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1 . Introduction

In today’s world, much of our entertainment services are now available online and this provides users with access to more content than ever before.

In this guide, we look at everything you need to know accessing online entertainment.

  • What sort of content is available online
  • Identify the main online entertainment services you can use
  • Explain how to access online entertainment
  • Explain the safety and security which surrounds online entertainment

We also have a handy FAQ section at the back of the guide to help answer any immediate or pressing questions you may have.

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2 . Online Entertainment

Using the Internet has already revolutionised business, banking, personal communications and shopping. More recently the whole spectrum of entertainment media has started to be focused on giving online access as well.

2.1 What is online entertainment?

The phrase ‘online entertainment’ essentially involves accessing material such as music and films over the Internet. This can be either watching or listening to programmes as they happen (live streaming) or to keep it on your device to enjoy at a later time of your own choosing (downloading).

2.2 What is available?

Many different forms of online entertainment are available, including:

  • Online books
  • Online music
    (streaming or downloading from albums, playlists or radio stations)
  • Online TV and film viewing
    (streaming or downloading)
  • Online games

2.3 How do you view online entertainment?

Any modern internet-enabled device should be able to access online entertainment. A PC, laptop or tablet might be preferred by some for enjoying visual media as the screens are larger but most smartphones with good quality screens are fully capable as well.

Music can be played back on many devices and you can use the headphone socket found on most electrical devices to plug in speakers or personal headphones/earphones.

2.4 What are the benefits of accessing entertainment online?

Some of the benefits of using online sources for entertainment purpose include:

  • Convenience
    choosing from a wide range of easily accessed material
  • Cost
    making the most of free content
  • Timing
    choosing when and where you view or listen
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3 . Using online entertainment

There is nothing complicated about using or accessing online entertainment and any jargon or buzzwords can be easily explained.

3.1 TV H 3-tv

Online TV services are available for most major channels and there are a few different ways in which you can stream the content.

  • Watch recorded TV shows which are stored online after their original broadcast
  • Watch live TV which shows programmes in real time (you need a TV licence for this)
  • YouTube Massively popular for everything from music videos, full TV programmes and films as well as silly clips, YouTube is free and possibly the easiest streaming service to use. Visit Site

  • BBC iPlayer Streaming is becoming increasingly important to the BBC and by using their own iPlayer service you can access TV and radio output that is both live and previously recorded. If you stream any ‘live’ television content you must have a TV license although if you only use the service for archived material (i.e. shows that have already been broadcast) this doesn’t apply. Visit Site

  • Similar options are available from other terrestrial TV channels as follows:

  • ITV: ITV Player Visit Site

  • Channel 4: 4 On Demand Visit Site

  • Channel 5: Demand 5 Visit Site

3.2 Music H 3-audio

Music can be accessed online using various means and there are a vast range of genres available at your fingertips.

  • Listen to specific songs online using streaming services such as Spotify
  • Search for particular songs, albums or artists using these services
  • Create your own playlists on these websites to listed to your favourite songs
  • Purchase and download music online to enjoy at your home – these files are stored on your PC so you do not need to be connected to the Internet to listen to them once downloaded
  • Copy music files from other devices (MP3 players, mobile phones) to your PC and listen to them at your leisure – this also works the other way round
  • Spotify This is the currently most popular site for streaming music and it offers both free and paid-for accounts. Visit Site

  • Apple iTunes Apple’s iTunes is the biggest online music store but it also offers films and TV programmes, as well as apps and books. You can purchase something, download it to your device and save it to use time and time again. Visit Site

  • Soundcloud Soundcloud is a place where budding artists and existing stars to upload their music, providing you with an opportunity to find new sounds across many different genres. All that’s needed is an internet connection. Visit Site

3.3 Film H 3-film

Those with subscriptions to services such as LoveFilm and Netflix can also access a range of films online. Similar services are also available to subscribers of digital TV packages (such as Virgin Media or Sky) and allow users to login to their account and view films online.

  • Watch recent releases and old films online via streaming
  • A strong internet connection and plenty of data allowances will be needed to consume this amount of data
  • Most films require “buffering” to allow the content to be viewed and if you are in an area with limited connectivity then this might be affected

  • Netflix Originally started as a DVD delivery service, Netflix now offers a vast range of films, TV shows and a growing selection of original content all as ‘on demand’ streams. This is a paid for service although you may be able to get a free one-month trial Visit Site

  • Amazon Instant Video Formerly LoveFilm until February 2014, Amazon Instant Video offers a rent and buy service with access to more than 50,000 digital movies and TV episodes. A 30-day free trial can be available while Prime Instant Video offers a subscription service. Visit Site

3.4 Book H 3-book

E-books can be accessed online to provide users with the chance to read from devices.

  • Search for popular titles, new releases or old books
  • Enjoy a range of free downloadable books with certain service (Kindle etc)
  • Purchase new books to read on apps downloaded on your computer or specific e-reader devices
  • Download purchased books to your e-reader to enjoy on the move
  • Google Play Many people have tablets or smartphones which use the Android operating system and Google Play is the official outlet to download films, TV shows and much more. Visit Site

  • Windows Phone App Store This is designed for use with Windows Phone devices and also offers access to a great range of content to download on your device. Visit Site

3.5 Radio H 3-radio

As well as accessing music in the form of individual files, you can also access online radio stations to enjoy recent or old hits.

  • Visit the website of the radio station you want to listen to
  • Listen to live broadcasts to hear the latest music, news and commentary
  • Listed to podcasts or interviews stored on the radio website
  • BBC Radio Listen to shows from any of the BBC Radio channels, including live streaming and past shows. Visit Site

  • Internet Radio A live streaming radio site that includes many of the UK’s leading stations, Internet Radio provides a service that can turn any computer, tablet or phone into a radio. Visit Site

A number of radio stations can also be accessed directly online, including the following:

3.6 How to stream entertainment

Step 1

Visit the homepage

Log on to the internet and go to the homepage at You can either use Google to find it or simply enter the address into the search bar at the top of your browser.

Step 2

Use the search bar

YouTube’s homepage has its own search bar prominently displayed at the top. Enter a concise term of words or a phrase for what you might be interested in, for instance ‘funny cat’.
Step 3

Select video from results list

Now you will have a listed selection of videos. Simply click on one that you’d like to watch and it will open in a new window and automatically start playing.

NB Don’t worry if you see a short advert first, this is the way people who post material on the service can make money.

NB You should be aware that YouTube’s content is not regulated as strictly as TV broadcasting and therefore it is important that you view any clips with caution and do not allow children or other users to view the content unless you are confident it is age-appropriate.

Each YouTube video has a selection of similar offerings listed to the right-hand side of your chosen video so you view similar content quickly and easily.

3.7 How to download entertainment

You can download entertainment from many websites but we are going to use iTunes as an example. You should be aware that all sites will follow a similar system.

Step 1

Using iTunes

Using iTunes is a great way to choose range from a wide range of music, TV and film offerings to download. You can look at iTunes store with your usual web browser by going to or search for them using a search engine such as Google.

Step 2

Read reviews & ratings

Find out all the details you want about a film, including user reviews and ratings, by simply clicking on it.

Step 3

Making a purchase

To make a purchase, you need to install the iTunes programme or app on your device if you don’t have it already. Then you set up an account in the usual way as you would for any other website, choosing login details and password protection.

Once you have chosen a payment method you can go on to download the film. Payments can be made via credit or debit card but you may also be able to pay through secure services such as PayPal.

Other services may not require you to download their programme or app to download content but you will still need to register with them and have a compatible programme on your device which is capable of playing the content you download.

This is usually a virtual media player such as those outlined below (these can all be downloaded for FREE if you don’t have them):

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4 . Security

Security should always be an issue no matter what you are using the internet for and especially when you might be making a payment of some kind.

4.1 How secure is online streaming/downloading Section 4-01

Online streaming and downloading are both extremely secure as long as you are using a reputable site such as those we have already mentioned.

Sadly, the Internet is also littered with unofficial sites offering illegal downloads so you should always take care to only stream or download from a website you can trust. Look for signs that the website you are visiting is secure such as:

  • A padlock symbol in the address bar
  • An address that begins “https” (the ‘s’ stands for secure)
  • A green address bar

4.2 Top security tips for online entertainment users Section 4-02

As well as looking for these signs of security, you can also make every effort to stay safe when accessing online entertainment online. Tips to follow include:

  • Always make sure your anti-virus protection is up to date
  • Only use well known or reputable sites for streaming and downloading
  • Keep all login and account details safe, secure and private
  • Avoid downloading free material that may be illegal as it may also carry a virus
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5 . FAQs

Are there limits on downloading or streaming?
Where is streamed content stored?
Where is downloaded content stored?
What internet connection requirements are needed to access streamed/downloaded content?
What can you do with entertainment you have downloaded?
What devices can it be played on?

* Where this website contains links to other websites and resources provided by third parties, these links are provided for your information only. We have no control over the contents of those websites or resources and we accept no liability for their content. Inclusion of the third party website does not necessarily represent an endorsement of their views nor does it imply a business relationship between McCarthy & Stone and the company whose website it is. We will not be liable for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them.

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