Watching Anime: Streaming vs Downloading

[Mazui]_Boku_Ha_Tomodachi_Ga_Sukunai_-_13_[FF6E0982].mkv_snapshot_08.32_[2012.09.30_03.48.04]

Many people watch anime and out of the people that do, there are differences in how one decides to watch anime. There are 2 general sides to this, streaming anime and downloading anime. The difference between the 2 is when you stream, you are watching it through your browser’s cache similar to youtube. When you download, you are keeping the file on your disk and it does not take any wind up time compared to when you stream where you sometimes have to wait for the video to load and other nonsense. 
Here’s a little about both sides and then a conclusion to what I think is the best and why I think that.

Downloading
– Downloading anime can be done in many ways. You can grab it off torrent index sites like Nyaa and TokyoToshokan or you can download them off DDL which are usually shared by Anime Download sites like Animetake. DDL’s are usually files from their original torrent’s just reuploaded into the filehost for people who can’t or won’t use torrents for whatever reason.
– Releases are usually released by the fansubbers themselves. When you download those releases it supports the fansubbers and shows them how much you appreciate the work they put in to the releases.
– Downloaded anime via official fansubbing groups usually come in the best quality available (HDTV) along with proper encoding done.
– You can archive the downloaded files for future use in whatever scenario that maybe such as when you get a internet outage you can always just watch the stuff you have downloaded whereas to streaming, you actually need internet to watch the stream.
– 1080p Blu-ray releases are available and are definitely eye candy and something every anime lover should once experience. Streaming sites will usually NEVER stream blu-ray stuff in full quality.
– If you have slow download speed you can always leave the download on overnight or while you’re doing something else.
– When watching a downloaded file you can pause anytime you want, you can take easy screenshots with the MPC player, you can skip to and rewind easily without any lag or other disturbance.
– If for some reason you have to leave during the middle of an episode you can just close it and come back later to re-open the file and easily skip to the part where you left off without any fuss.

Streaming
– Generally streaming sites use streaming software or streaming hosts that contain any advertisements and annoying disturbances while watching. These advertisements support the streaming sites themselves and give no credit whatsoever to the people who worked on those releases.
– The quality of the streams are usually reduced to utter garbage. The reason for this is because streaming sites like to take official releases, chop the quality up to reduce the filesize and then upload them to the streaming software or host they use. This saves them time for uploading and also makes loading the stream faster.
– If you have slow downloading speed you often run into lag and freezing troubles while streaming. Sometimes the entire stream can freeze and you end up have to re-loading it again.
– If you like a certain scene of the show it’s hard to take a screen shot of it since there’s usually no function on the stream itself to do that for you.
– If your browser crashes during the middle of the stream or for whatever reason you need to leave or close your computer, you’ll have to re-load the video all over again.

[UTW]_Accel_World_-_24_[h264-720p][1DF1511D].mkv_snapshot_16.09_[2012.09.27_21.35.46]In conclusion, downloading has way more benefits than streaming. It may seem like downloading takes a bit more work but it isn’t really the case. I have changed at least 10 people I know in real life from streaming to downloading. In the beginning they tend to whine about how it’s a pain to download but when they actually start doing it, they thank me and never touch a stream again.
I personally prefer downloading over streaming because of many reasons. The main 3 reasons are 1. The quality is ridiculously unwatchable especially when you’ve experienced the quality of downloaded anime. 2. Downloaded anime usually releases first since the fansubbers themselves are the ones who releases them for download. 3. When watching a downloaded file versus a stream, downloaded stuff usually don’t cause any trouble for the watcher while when you stream you sometimes run into annoying events such has the stream freezing, not loading, and other disturbances. I’ve streamed anime in the past when I first started getting into anime. After a good year of streaming I was introduced to downloading and after that I’ve never touched a stream fully again.

People say it takes a lot of :effort: to download when it really doesn’t. It takes 3 clicks to start watching a stream and it can easily take 3 clicks to download a file. There’s no difference besides the extra 2-3 clicks to open the file itself.

I can say a lot more about how terrible streaming is but i’ll leave it at that.
Also, the ONLY exception to streaming is if you’re watching official streaming sites that actually subs the anime themselves such as CrunchyRoll and Funimation. But here’s the thing, you have to pay for those sites in order to watch stuff on time, meanwhile on the downloading side, we have something called “HorribleSubs” which are releases ripped off of sites like CrunchyRoll and Funimation.

The purpose of this post isn’t to tell every single streamer that they suck and they NEED to switch over to downloading but to inform people the differences and benefits between downloading and streaming.

Before I leave here’s a example of the difference streaming and downloading.
http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/11144

Note: Both screenshots are screenshots taken when the video was full screened. The download screenshot was taken with a 720p HDTV file and the streaming screenshot was taken with one of the more common streaming host sites use nowadays.

Here’s some extra’s about Streaming vs Downloading:
http://subarashii.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Whystreamingisbad.png
http://subarashii.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/streamingvsdownloading.jpg

16 thoughts on “Watching Anime: Streaming vs Downloading

  1. Suba

    Just pointing out, you left out the fact that legal streaming (not stuff like animetake and the like) actually allows the creators of the anime to get money (I.E supporting the creators), whereas when you download a fansub, no money is going to go back to the creators, which, for the most part, has always been the biggest issue nowadays, especially when anime doesn’t make a lot of money as it is. There are a bunch of issues with downloading/streaming, but either way, both rely on having a stable internet connection, the only difference comes down to how you want your anime — owned or not. That choice is up to you.

    Also, wanted to clear this up:

    Downloaded anime usually releases first since the fansubbers themselves are the ones who releases them for download.

    This mostly assumes everyone wants to use Horriblesubs/factoring in how Funimation is slow with everything. Otherwise, Crunchyroll has, at best, consistently everything streaming an Hr after it airs in Japan so I wouldn’t say usually. Fansubbers (not Horriblesubs) take a lot longer than that, but it depends on what title it is (example, Shin Sekai Yori airs a few days later than the stream for CR, but a show like Space Bros airs an hr later on CR, fansubbers usually wait). And lastly, it depends on how patient a person is when it comes to their show. Speed is a factor for people, since instead of waiting a day or two for their show, it’s best to watch it instantly 😀

    Reply
    1. Dao Post author

      Yeah that’s true for the most part but when I wrote that I didn’t factor in crunchyroll or funimation. I’m mainly directing this post towards those streaming sites that reupload stuff. I did leave an excerpt at the bottom say “Also, the ONLY exception to streaming is if you’re watching official streaming sites that actually subs the anime themselves such as CrunchyRoll and Funimation.”

      I do agree with what you’re saying, in both ways you’re not supporting the anime industry HOWEVER, when you stream off those sites you’re directly supporting the people who made the site and just reupload the content. When you download, you’re supporting the fansubbers who subbed the work. In both cases they don’t support the industry at all but I would honestly support the people who put in work to what you’re watching than people who just re-distribute. All in all, supporting the film industry (Movies, Anime, TV Shows, and etc) nowadays is really rare. Majority of the people just get everything on the web and it is hurting the companies a lot (See the not-so-maybe-recent SOPA PIPA acts). But nothing can be done about it with the state of the internet now. 😛

      Reply
  2. B-B-Banana

    I can see why they chose to never touch streams again. I live in a huge family and everyone uses the internet so there’s bound to be lag or connection lost here and there. Sometimes watching streams seem impossible so resorting to downloads was my only option. Though it may take up quite an amount of space depending on the quality it’s still worth it. So i’m siding with downloading.

    Reply
  3. LordSharpie

    I download everything but to still support the industry by paying for a premium account to Crunchyroll. Also buying the blu-rays help to. I’ve had that account since Crunchyroll started.

    Reply
    1. Dao Post author

      That picture wasn’t something I made, just something I found and shared cause I thought it was mostly true and easier to use for explaining.

      I am well aware that you can stream a partially downloaded torrent file, just that it’s kind of completely different from the streaming I’m talking about, haha.

      Reply
  4. CrossXWind

    Don’t forget after you download your anime you don’t need internet to watch them later on.
    If your internet goes down while your playing some Black ops 2 online – Just flip on your computer and watch some epic stockpiled one piece, or some light Oreimo, Tomodachi, or Sword Art Online. (Can’t watch 12-24 ep series all in one go- must savor it.)
    Not only that, you can do what ever you want with actual files- Convert them into your Nintendo DS or PSP! That’s right into your Nintendo DS or PSP. Chilling after class or work breaks with some God only Knows on your DS or some Black Rock Shooter on your PSP. (Both- game and show.)
    Streaming has it’s perks but I have to go with DL files.

    Reply
  5. Link

    I think this blog is not being fair…

    In Downloading, you only pointed out the advantages, what about it’s cons? it’s disadvantages? the bad things in it? If you don’t know any, I can point out some.
    – When you download the anime and a there is a bit of a disturbance in the internet, the anime may not play properly, or not play at all. I tried downloading an anime before and we have a bad internet connection, when I download an anime in anime download site this happens but when I download on youtube, the anime plays properly after download… most of the time.
    – I tried downloading overnight but that costs a lot of money and time and I hate it when I find out after downloading an anime overnight, it doesn’t play properly.

    In Streaming, you said:
    “If you like a certain scene of the show it’s hard to take a screen shot of it since there’s usually no function on the stream itself to do that for you.”
    – This is wrong because you said “usually”, it’s not “usually”, it’s “sometimes“. When have you tried streaming? Because before I agree that it’s like that but since 2012, it’s rare for me to experience that and I have a bad internet connection.

    After that you said:
    “People say it takes a lot of :effort: to download when it really doesn’t. It takes 3 clicks to start watching a stream and it can easily take 3 clicks to download a file.
    There’s no difference besides the extra 2-3 clicks to open the file itself.
    – It’s not just extra 2-3 clicks actually, It’s 2-3 clicks with an additional waiting time. Why? Instead of just watching it in one go, you have to wait because it has to download for a time depending on your internet connection.

    I think that if you have a bad internet connection, streaming is better but if you want quality, it’s easier to find them by downloading because even though there are good quality streams, they are rare (not sure if it’s the correct word).

    I’m not trying to say your wrong and Streaming beats Downloading. Just saying that you have to show every information that people has to see because it won’t be fair and the title of your blog is “Watching Anime Streaming vs Downloading”. If you are just going to say the advantages of Downloading over Streaming then you should’ve put the title “Watching Anime Downloading better than Streaming”.

    Reply
    1. Dao Post author

      You make an interesting point, but let me first address the disadvantages of downloading that you brought up.

      “When you download the anime and a there is a bit of a disturbance in the internet, the anime may not play properly, or not play at all.”

      This is not true, this only applies to certain downloads, mainly DDLs. But in my particular case, I was mainly talking about torrents which the majority use.

      “I tried downloading overnight but that costs a lot of money and time and I hate it when I find out after downloading an anime overnight, it doesn’t play properly.”

      Downloading a file and streaming is the same thing. By streaming, you’re still using your internet to download the video into your cache so it can play, hence “streaming”. The only major difference would be that when you download anime, the files tend to be bigger in size because the quality of the anime is much better. On the majority of the stream sites they take releases from fansubbers and compress the file into a much smaller filesize therefore making the quality more crap.

      Now the main point I want to address is your “bad internet”. I can understand why bad internet can be a down side in downloading because nowadays with the current encoding a 720p release will usually be 300+ MB in file size and with slow download speed, I can see why that’s a problem. So yes, it does vary depending on the situation and bad internet is probably the only reason I would use for streaming because in all honestly downloading doesn’t have much cons.

      You’re free to disagree, just make sure to bring up some good points to debate on!

      Reply
    1. Dao Post author

      That’s not necessarily true, when you stream, you’re still downloading the video to your cache, if your internet is hopelessly slow, you’re still going to be buffering and downloading the video slowly. In most cases, yes, the video will load and you’re able to “watch it immediately” BUT like stated in my post, download releases, presumably stuff on Nyaa, is released the fastest and streaming sites tend to get their releases from there, so you’re half right and half wrong. The only exception to this is of course, CrunchyRoll and other Simulcasting sites.

      Reply
  6. DevonM

    Yo!
    Bit late to the party.. just stumbled on this while surfing.
    Anyways, the ever-increasing presence of MiniMKV encodes (from the likes of darklegends, animeout and MT) kind of make the whole ‘size’ issue moot. You can easily get exceptionally good quality (almost rivaling the 300mb+ files) for about 60-120mb… And you get all the benefits of Dl’ing.

    Reply
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