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The way in which we consume content of all types – music, movies, television shows, games, news, etc. – has changed beyond recognition over the past few years. This is mainly thanks to the Internet, which allows us all to tap into ways of obtaining this content in a much more free, uninhibited way than was previously possible.

In terms of television and movies the means – both legal and not-so-legal – of obtaining this content has given us a multitude of options. We’re no longer governed by set times, release dates, or territorial licensing (most of which can be circumvented with a little effort). So with all of these options at our collective disposal, which do you choose?

How Do You Watch Television Shows & Movies?

This was the subject of last week’s We Ask You column. We asked you, How Do You Watch Television Shows & Movies? The response was good, with dozens of you responding with your personal preferences for consuming television and film content.

The biggest takeaway from the comments thread is that each household has a different way of doing things. Which is pretty much what we expected to find. But despite the lack of surprises it’s still interesting to read how this set of MakeUseOf readers consumes visual content.

It appears that most people do at least some of their television and movie viewing online. Both Netflix and Hulu were both mentioned several times, as were Amazon and Roku 6 Reasons Why You Need A Roku [Opinion] 6 Reasons Why You Need A Roku [Opinion] Electronics can be evil. A short time ago I wrote an article about using the Xbox 360 as a media center. I concluded that it wasn’t the best choice. Sensing my betrayal, the 360 promptly... Read More . And then there were the specific websites that may or may not be legal depending on your (and your government’s) stance on copyright laws.


There is a definite trend towards cutting the cord (canceling cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of a more fluid approach using online services), with many people having already taken baby steps in going the online route exclusively.

Comment Of The Week

Comment of the week goes to Carolyn, who won with this comment:

Our household is split about 50/50 between viewing shows on the computer (free) and viewing shows on the TV ($30/month). The caveat being that almost all of the shows that we watch on the TV are DVRed and watched later in the week, or at the end of a season when we can watch a whole series at once, two episodes a night until the whole thing is done. Online we use Hulu, Netflix ($8/month – no DVDs anymore), or Xfinity.

We really don’t go out to the movies anymore unless it is something with special effects that just cry out on the big screen, which works out to about four movies a year ($100, including snacks). If there is a movie we want to see, we wait until it is available online or on TV. We only buy movies if they are foreign or indie and therefore unlikely to be available any other way.

We don’t watch programs on mobile devices at all. If I’m out someplace and have time to kill I’d rather read a book – paper or digital. TV watching is not something I’m comfortable doing in public. I don’t want to think about people watching over my shoulder, and earbuds cut me off from my surroundings too much.

For your statistical purposes, our household consists of my husband and myself and a brand new baby.

This comment gets to the heart of the topic, with a detailed breakdown of how one family consumes visual content in this day and age. While Carolyn and her husband haven’t cut the cord completely, they split their viewing between online and offline services. But even their offline viewing has changed over the years thanks to the wonders of DVR. And the movie theater? That’s just too expensive for many people now.

We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. ‘We Ask You’ is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

Image Credit: The Great 8

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  1. Elizabeth Sebastian
    August 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I don't watch 99% of the newer stuff besides maybe two or three shows: Family Guy, the Simpsons and Leno. Don't care one bit about reality TV or whatever's on HBO or cable these days. I've heard that cable is the better option in terms of quality programming (NBC = Nothin' But Crap), but Mad Men and Breaking Bad just aren't my cup of tea. So I don't have cable or any of the subscription services like Netflix or Hulu, and just use a converter box to get my local news. Everything else in terms of movies is split 50-50 between DVD and VHS.

    Yup, VHS. Never bought a Blu-Ray and never will.

    I don't need fancy equipment to watch a John Hughes movie from 1986. Ferris Bueller on tape, that's the way to go. ;-)

  2. K.C.
    August 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    The comment of the week was great. Would be great to hear some #'s. e.g., x% of those responding preferred online (Hulu, Netflix) to cable, etc...

    August 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Long time cord cutter (since 2009). I have more content than I have time to watch using Roku, Hulu (rarely), Netflix, Miro, Crackle, Clicker, WMC w/antenna. The Roku has hundreds of channels (public and private) with stuff mainstream content providers will not carry because there isn't a big enough market. Unless you are a big sports fan or just HAVE to see a movie as soon as it comes out there is little reason to stick with cable.

  4. Blake Andreasen
    August 16, 2012 at 7:59 am

    We have one big screen TV that is connected to 3 Things: XBOX, Laptop, Internet. 90% of the time the laptop is on, 10% Playing games on XBOX. Internet sucks where I live so he Internet is only for fun. We just canceled our TV service because it was never used.