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During my childhood, watching television meant huddling round the TV in the living room as a family at a set time on a set day. Watching a movie meant either heading out to the theater or, for anything but new films, watching a VHS video on that same television. Things have changed somewhat since then, despite the fact I’m only in my mid-thirties.

Now there are multiple options for watching both television and movies, most of which have emerged over the past decade or so. In this week’s MakeUseOf Poll, Yaara is asking how you’re all following the London 2012 Olympic Games How Do You Follow the 2012 Olympics? [MakeUseOf Poll] How Do You Follow the 2012 Olympics? [MakeUseOf Poll] The 2012 Olympic games have started last week, and it’s the most exciting time for anyone who likes to follow the events. Recent Olympics have seen a steady rise in alternative ways to follow the... Read More , but I’d like, for this week’s We Ask You column, to expand the question to more than just this one-off sporting event.

This Week’s Question…

How Do You Watch Television Shows & Movies?

The range of options for watching television and movies has grown massively in recent years. So how have your viewing habits changed as a result?

There is no longer the need to be tied to the times the networks pump content out to viewers, with the likes of TiVo and Sky Plus offering everybody a chance to watch shows when they want to. Head online and the options open up even more, with streaming – both legal and not-so-legal options – websites, and torrents. Then there are the mobile apps on smartphones and tablets making TV a solitary pastime.

Cinemas and movie theaters still offer some distinct advantages to watching at home, but there are options aplenty for those who would rather not brave the crowds and pay through the nose to see the latest blockbuster at their local multiplex. The brand new releases are only available through not-so-legal methods, but in addition to DVD and Blu-ray, older movies can also be bought or rented via multiple websites.


Even your location is becoming less important, despite the best efforts of media companies in dividing the world up into territories, as we previously explored What Do You Think About Geo-Blocking & How Do You Circumvent It? [You Told Us] What Do You Think About Geo-Blocking & How Do You Circumvent It? [You Told Us] The Internet may connect the whole world in one glorious whole (assuming individual governments allow their people to be netizens) but that hasn't stopped media companies from trying to limit who can access their content... Read More . With all this in mind we want to know how you watch television and movies in this day and age, with all these glorious options open to you.

Do you watch television as it’s broadcast or catch up later on demand? Do you seek out content online to watch and/or purchase? If it isn’t available in your region do you seek out another way of obtaining it, even if it infringes on copyright laws? Do you still primarily watch visual content at home or do you increasingly use mobile devices to watch while you’re out of the house?

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told UsOne reader will even win Comment Of The Week, which will be included in the follow-up post! What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to start a conversation. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf social media obsession with anonymity social media obsession with anonymity Read More is nothing without you.

Image Credit: The Great 8

  1. Madred
    March 3, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Are you a movie buff and love collecting banners and posters of motion pictures? Search for them online at platforms like This website has a huge repository of movie banners and stills from motion pictures stored in the form of high resolution images. Add them to your collection and smile.

  2. Kari Singh
    November 20, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I'll be honest, most of our household viewing is done online. Streaming mostly, so boyfriend and I will be hooked up to our individual laptops/tablets watching gender appropriate shows. Except on "good TV night" (Dexter and Walking dead) being Sunday in the US and Monday here , then and only then...our TV actually gets switched on....and becomes a giant monitor so we can watch together. geek<3

    The country in which we live is starting to catch on I'm told. A friend has advised me of a regular ad, attached to every ad break, heralding, only on one particular channel so far: "See your favourite shows, THE SAME WEEK AS THE STATES!"

    The only problem with this.... We never have the TV on unless it's acting as a when are we supposed to see the ad? I think the marketers need to re-evaluate how they will reach the audience their target audience.

  3. venkatesh victory
    November 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I watch online movies in this site

  4. TODO
    September 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Happy to be completely out of the mainstream. Do not own a TV or subscribe to anything or listen to radio blather either. ALL information can be retrieved--information only I care to READ OR LISTEN TO-- online. Almost any TV show --old or new-can be accessed and watched FREE at . TV? NEVER AGAIN! Watching/listening to TV is essentiallyl the equivalent of mainlining raw sewage into your brain.

  5. aaron sadoff
    August 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I watch TV and Movies either through my laptop or Roku hooked up to my TV with a HDMI cable. But for new movies obviously the theaters.

  6. quickbrownfox
    August 10, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I watch TV shows on an analog TV set with an analog-to-digital converter box. The TV set is plugged into an open-air antenna (free) via coaxial cable. Reception for both VHF and UHF channels is excellent (and also free).

    I watch movies either at a local theater or on DVDs played on the TV set via the DVD player. Occasionally, a local library will screen classic movies to the public for free.

    My present ISP download speed is too slow to watch TV shows or movies online.

  7. excentric
    August 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Roku. I buy shows on Amazon, have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Roku has several free channels with older shows. Had Hulu plus, but commercials? That's why I don't watch shows on tv anymore. Ditched cable a year and a half ago, and have not looked back.

  8. Steve H.
    August 10, 2012 at 6:57 am

    I have my computer hooked up to my 42 inch Vizio. I got rid of the TV portion of Comcast and have Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix and whatever else online. This is my version of A La Carte TV. and so far it saves my about $50 bucks each month. I am going back to Vonage will save me yet another $30. I just got a Vonage offer in the mail for $9.95 a month for a year. So looks like I will save $960 for the year!! Woohoo!!

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Wow, that's a lot of money. Your story will become much more common in the years to come.

  9. Dalsan
    August 10, 2012 at 6:41 am

    We currently watch mostly on tv, whether it is steamed to our satellite receiver from our netbook, or from our satellite provider. We hardly have time outside the house to watch on our mobile phones and laptops. However, with satellite and cable fees being outrageously high, I am going to get the Android stick devices and several lcd tv's to connect them to and use Android apps to watch tv and movies from. With the Jetflicks app offering tv network content to stream for $50 per year and other apps and websites you can go to for free content, You really can't go wrong. The savings alone will pay for itself in a very short amount of time while still getting to watch just about all the shows we want to watch, and not pay extra for channels we don't watch just because it is in the package we need for 1 or 2 channels that we don't want to loose. If I could have done this sooner, I would have thousands of dollars left in our bank each year for a much needed vacation.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Cable fees are extortionate. If they don't become fairer, especially with the bundling in of crappy channels, then more people will cut the cord completely.

  10. Vociferous Carmichael
    August 10, 2012 at 1:22 am

    My family has DISH for their Tamil language and Indian serials and movie channels. Otherwise (especially since the AMC drop- Breaking Bad FTW!), I rarely find anything interesting in the listings. It's Netflix all the way for me. Hulu occassionally. I really love marathoning complete/mostly complete series. I rarely go to the cinema or watch movies for that matter. I can stand watching hours of TV in a series, but I can't say the same for movies. My alma mater had an amazing DVD library, but I failed to take advantage of all those free movies, and now I'm out of state!

  11. Tracie Bowe
    August 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I watch the news when I can. A few nights a week, we sit as a family to watch a show we all like or a movie on the big screen TV. I have one son that watches shows on his iPad via hulu, mostly anime. By myself, I never turn the tube on unless i want to see what is going on in the world.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Your son watching on his iPad is a sure sign of a generational change. The idea of a family sitting around together watching TV will be lost within a couple of decades.

  12. Fayz
    August 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    What the heck is 'Television' shows? Is that something hipsters and elderly people use to watch web episodes and online movies? Lol, just kidding. To tell you the truth, the last time I watched proper TV was when I was in high school, 5 years back. Nowadays I watch TV shows and movies online and to do that I actually made my 46" TV to my PC monitor. :D

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      I'm more elderly than hipster. ;)

  13. Raj
    August 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I usually go to for series
    and for movies

    I use

    Cheers < 333

  14. sonnylim
    August 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Mainly online for movies. Occasionally some movies on cable. Except some TV series mainly on Asian Food Network. For news - would be BBC and CNN on TV.

  15. Kevin Liske
    August 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I either record movies and shows from cable directly to the Tivo or download to my pc and transfer to the Tivo. Then I get to sift through my ever growing backlog to see "Hmmm, what do I feel like watching now?"

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      That's a very compelling idea. It seems strange to me now that only 15 years ago we were led by the TV companies, unless you wanted to have half-filled VHS videos lying around everywhere.

  16. Steven Kim
    August 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I always catch up my shows the day after airing..prefer downloading them into my laptop and watching them in the evening :-)

  17. achyut reddy
    August 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I watch my movies in my home theater.

  18. Carolyn
    August 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    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. :)

    • Meredith Gregory
      August 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Congratulations on your new baby! One of my granddaughters had a baby girl yesterday. That makes 2 great grand babies for me. OMG I'm really not old enough! Anyway, if the baby hasn't already, he/she will have you trained in no time.

    • Meredith Gregory
      August 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Can't help you out here dude. No TV watching here, not even on the computer. We do have 4 TV's though and my husband has the whole MASH collection which he dearly loves and watches. Maybe one day we'll start opening up & watching some of these DVD's we own.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      So, nothing is watched in real-time. Do you find you end up watching more because of DVR?

  19. Tom Sobieski
    August 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I don't watch TV very much , maybe a couple hours a week, and that I catch on HULU +. Movies are another story though, and Netflix is my drug of choice.

  20. Meidimi
    August 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

    i have a tv but rarely change the channel past bbc. most of the series and movies i watch are online or i download them. the ones i like are not shown on tv and i dont like adverts. i will occasionally go to the cinema and watch a movie that i consider worthy like The Dark Knight.

  21. Garey Boone
    August 9, 2012 at 8:23 am

    My household is a bunch of media junkies and we watch everything through the htpc whether it be as it's being cast or recorded or on demand a lot of the content we have been watching lately has been various shows on youtube like SourceFed, Philip DeFranco etc., we also tap into a lot of netflix and various other streaming options we keep our tv/internet bill under $100.00 a month by using a lot of free resources like hulu, crackle, youtube and believe it or not the public library. Cable tv is repetitive and it's really nice to have an insane amount of options these days.

    • Tug Ricks
      August 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Libraries are awesome! My local one lets me check out 10 DVDs at a time, and series with multiple discs in each case only count as 1. While their books are generally stale and outdated, they're an awesome resource for free movies/TV shows.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      There are an insane number of options online these days. Cable companies must be running scared.

  22. Josh Burkhart
    August 9, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I watch some tv but mostly use a few unnamed sites for obvious reasons, netflix and hulu occasionally. I completely cancelled my hulu plus, it just wasn't worth it with the ads attached.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      That was a strange decision by Hulu to make people pay but keep the ads as well.

  23. Aditya Roy
    August 9, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Favorite shows(which i can't wait to be on my tv coz they are broadcasted in my country only after the season ends in US or even later) at
    For the rest tv.

  24. Vipul Jain
    August 9, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Being totally honest.
    I really don't get time to watch movies as and when they release, and shows in India are telecasted way lagging behind.
    Also as i am still a student, i have absolutely no money to buy legit recordings.

    Thus, Proud Pirate I Am.. :D
    Download everything to hard disk, watch when i have time.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks for being honest. If there was a legal, fairly-priced way of obtaining the same content as quickly would you take it?

      • Vipul Jain
        August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        After i get a job, hell yes!

  25. Tug Ricks
    August 9, 2012 at 4:36 am

    The vast majority of my viewing is done online, as I don't even own a TV. I don't really see the point in having one when I can watch everything I care to see online. Netflix is my go to source for shows/movies, and I usually will watch an entire series marathon style before moving on to something different.

    I do like movie theaters, and I frequent the local cheap theater often. On Tuesdays, tickets are $2.50, and on top of that I have a BOGO card. So for $2.50 the wife and I can go see a movie, which we feel is a great deal.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      I'm a big fan of Netflix, but I don't think I could forgo a TV altogether!

  26. Mohammad Hamzani Salleh
    August 9, 2012 at 4:19 am

    in my case, i just watch show that i follow from the start if it sereis or more then 1 episode. i hated to watch partially and jumping episode.. for movie i choose the best siuted for me. the genre fall in my type n if not the plot are good and captivated me to watch till end. and mostly i watch anime in my pc

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