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Streaming Video and media

General Information about films and documentaries available from WCU Libraries, as well as online open source, Pay-per-view, and educational use

So you want to stream a video

still shot of a multitude of small video screens streaming by from the left towards a vanishing on the right point


Netflix, Hulu, HBO+, almost everyone has watched streaming videos. In addition to these familiar subscription services, and many free sites, WCU Libraries subscribes to several databases that include streaming videos. So many choices! Even with all these resources some videos may only be available as Pay-Per-View or not at all. When you add in laws about how streaming videos may be used and shared, it can be downright overwhelming. But don't panic!  We can help you navigate the wide world of streaming!

Library Streaming fun facts

It's Complicated

Q: Why can't I stream everything?

A: Each streaming provider contracts with film makers and studios, many are exclusive contracts.  Most of the "born streaming" content, such as Netflix or Amazon original content, are only available using that supplier.  Some older content has not been contracted yet, and might never be.  Titles held by companies outside the U.S. may have contracts only in their country of origin.

Q:Why are there so many services?

A: It's all about the money.  Currently companies are making the decision to build their own streaming platforms to keep more of their profit. Smaller publishers have chosen to sell the streaming rights directly to institutions like libraries for the same reason.  Although we are starting to see mergers such as Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox and Warner Media's bid for Discovery.  We'll just have to see how this plays out.

Q: Can't you just copy the DVD and upload it?

A: Unfortunately, without the purchase of streaming rights or a Digital Site License, that would be illegal under the U.S. copyright laws.  For more information see The Legal Stuff.

Q:Why is my streaming video so glitchy sometimes?

A:You might know that WiFi speeds can effect the quality of your streaming experience.  But you might also have problems if there are too many devices using the same router or if you are in an area with weak WiFi.  So, if you are using your phone to post on Instagram and your room mate is playing a game on their laptop, you might have trouble streaming videos on your tablet.  Older devices could also have slower processing speeds, which could lead to streaming problems.

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