When you watch movies online, you’re using a technology called streaming. The movie isn’t downloaded to your laptop; rather, bits of the video are streamed to your computer over your Internet connection. When you play a trailer in the Video app, you are also streaming video.
The plus side of video streaming is that you can watch videos — many of which are free — without overloading your laptop’s memory. The negative side is that, depending on your Internet connection, streaming can be less than smooth than playing a movie from a DVD. If you’ve tried watching a video online and gotten a message that the video is buffering, you know what this means.Try out YouTube and Hulu as a starting point. YouTube content is contributed by companies and people who want to share their shorter video clips, from the guy next door to movie studios and news stations. Hulu offers many movies and TV shows for free, or you can get a paid subscription to access more content.
Either service will give you a taste of how well your connection will deliver video to your laptop. Just go to their websites, use the search feature to find a video, and then double-click a video to play it.
Amazon.com recently added a lot of free instant video content to its Amazon Prime membership. If you pay the yearly fee for Amazon Prime ($79 as of this writing), it gives you unlimited second-day free shipping on anything you buy on the site and free video content. If you buy much at all each year from the online retailer, this works out to be a great deal.