Streaming makes it easier for us to receive the entertainment we want, where and when we want it, and to interact with it – all of which older broadcasting technologies have trouble supporting. It also brings us closer to one another and helps us feel more connected to communities of others who share our niche interests, no matter where we are in the world – provided they have internet.

Streaming is a truly revolutionary breakthrough, both in business and in society generally. In that light, it is worth taking a look at where it has taken us and where it will take us next – from music to movies and television, then video games, and – further on the horizon – towards virtual and augmented reality.

Perhaps most obviously, we’re going to see a huge rush of competitors coming to the market. Netflix has been the leader in streaming for many years, with services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now not far behind. Now, Disney is planning to launch its own streaming service, and it’s likely that more media companies will be fighting for space in the market in the near future. This increased amount of competition will lead customers to a key dilemma; will it be worth it for them to subscribe to several different monthly services to get access to all the content they want? Or will they choose one service and stick to it indefinitely? The increased competition could lead to more innovation in the long term, but in the short term, it has more potential to frustrate consumers.