The New Ways To Watch

Remember that days when there were only a few channels to choose from on TV? And the only way to see a movie was to go to the theater or wait for one of the networks to edit it for TV and show it on Sunday night? Or even the advent of cable with its hundreds of channels and going to the video store to rent your movies? All of that is "old school" now. We can watch what we want when we want and where we want, even in the car during carpool. So I would like to tell you about the myriad of ways that I consume media.

First let's start with an actual television. On my HDTV, I have AT&T Uverse. This allows me to watch cable channels and premium channels (I subscribe to HBO and Showtime). I can also set up my DVR to tape up to four programs at the same time to watch later. If I am watching live TV, I can pause and rewind. I can also program my DVR from my iPad, iPhone, and computer. I can rent movies and watch a ton of shows "on demand". I rarely sit down to watch a show as it is airing. I am definitely an "on demand" watcher.

But the TV isn't the only way that I enjoy my shows and movies. With my HBO and Showtime subscriptions, I get access to their mobile apps for my iPhone and iPad. This means that I can watch any of their shows and movies whenever and wherever I want for no extra charge on top of my subscription fee. I use these apps all the time.

Another source would be the instant streaming sites such as Hulu and Netflix. I became a member of Netflix from the very beginning. I loved the ability to have several movies out at the same time and no late fees. I also liked the ability to have a queue of movies waiting so that I didn't miss out on any of the new releases. But I did take a break from Netflix when they changed their pricing. At that time, I didn't feel that there were enough choices on the instant streaming, and I found that I let the movies I received in the mail just sit around unwatched.

At that point, I turned my attention to Hulu. Hulu is particularly useful when watching TV programs, although they do have some movies including the complete Criterion collection. I plan to review some of my favorite, obscure programs in a later post. Hulu is free if you watch on a computer. But if you want to watch some premium content or watch on a mobile device such as your phone, tablet, or Roku, then you pay for a monthly subscription at just $7.99 with the ability to cancel at any time. I take advantage of Hulu Plus on all of the listed devices. I love this service and use it just about every day.

Now back to Netflix. After a few months of offering expanded instant streaming, Netflix was able to offer a much better selection of movies and television than before plus they have an app as well. So I went back to Netflix, too.

Roku 2 XD Streaming Media Player - 3050R Amazon Prime is another great source. For a long time, I have been a member of Amazon Prime for their free Super Saver Shipping. But recently I discovered that along with my membership came access to a ton of movies through their Instant Streaming. You can watch these on your computer, some of the Smart TV's and through Roku.

I mentioned Roku earlier. This little box is great. Starting at only $59, you can use it to watch Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Streaming plus play games and listen to music, all through your existing TV. You can even link your Facebook account. There is no ongoing fee to use the box itself, only for the various subscriptions.

Other sources for media might include Redbox (a small kiosk outside your local store), Smart TV's that allow streaming, Apple TV, various BluRay players, and even some of the gaming systems like PlayStation and Wii. I don't use these services regularly so I'm not going to address them in my blog.
Sony Google TV Blu-Ray Disc Player - NSZ-GT1
As you can see, there are many options for the movie and TV consumer. A person could even get away with not having a TV at all if they have a computer or a tablet. Check out some of these programs and see if you like them. And keep coming back to the Buzz!