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How we watch television has changed dramatically. Shows can be viewed on a range of different devices. They can be watched live, recorded for later, or downloaded from the Internet. And then there is piracy.

With all of these options to choose from, we feel a healthy debate about TV is long overdue.

Square Eyes Squared

We want to know, How Do You Watch TV? It’s a simple question with a multitude of possible answers. Whether you’re a traditionalist watching TV on a square box in your living room or a hipster watching TV on your tablet in a coffee shop, we want to hear from you.

The act of watching TV has morphed from families sitting together enjoying collective experiences to individuals watching on whatever device they have to hand and wherever they happen to be at any given moment. How has this evolution changed your television viewing habits?


In terms of devices, do you watch TV mostly on a television set? If so, how big is your main television set? And how many television sets do you own? Do you also watch on a computer? Or a tablet? Or a smartphone?


In terms of content, do you pay for a cable service? If so, how much do you pay for the privilege? Do you pay for any streaming media services 6 Of The Best Streaming Media Services Compared 6 Of The Best Streaming Media Services Compared Streaming media has become the way of the future for many consumers, and as a result there’s no shortage of services to pick from. Let’s compare five of the best streaming media services to see... Read More , such as Netflix or Hulu Plus Why Hulu’s Cable Subscription Requirement Is A Harbinger Of Things To Come [Opinion] Why Hulu’s Cable Subscription Requirement Is A Harbinger Of Things To Come [Opinion] An alarming New York Post article has stirred up a hornet’s nest by suggesting that Hulu will be slowly moving towards a business model that requires authentication. In other words, users who want to watch... Read More ? Or do you watch television programming on legal websites such as YouTube Hate YouTube's New Layout? Try Out YouTube TV Instead Hate YouTube's New Layout? Try Out YouTube TV Instead Enjoy a streamlined version of YouTube that's usable from your couch and lets you follow the channels you love, easily. YouTube's TV version just might be the best way to use the web's best video... Read More ?

Finally, there are the less-than-legal options. Do you pirate television content? If so, why? Is it all to do with availability, either because of your location or prohibitive costs? As we do not – cannot – condone piracy, please avoid going into too much detail.

Have Your Say

All comments will be read and most will be replied to, before a follow-up post is published containing the We Ask You ResultsOne reader will even win Comment Of The Week, which will be included in the follow-up post!

We Ask You is a column dedicated to learning the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Ludovic Bertron via Flickr

  1. Leah
    April 30, 2014 at 1:42 am

    How do I watch TV? I watch shows when they air live. I tape shows using a VCR when I can't watch them live. If I miss being able to tape I wait for it to be available On Demand or check out the channel's website for a streaming video. I also watch shows on Netflix I would love to get a DVR for I think it would be easier to get the recorded shows however I would not be able to watch them during the commercial breaks like I do now.

  2. Tom W
    April 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

    There are only about 5 shows that I watch every week. Three of those I record on a dvr and two I watch on the online catchup service.

    Those shows take up about 13 hours a week, and I watch them when I'm not working. Far more of my time is spent watching YouTube or Twitch while I work, mainly the gaming channels.

    I like YouTube because it's always original content and it's easy to follow along without having to watch the screen the whole time. Twitch is something that I've only gotten into recently, and I tend to only watch it when I get to the end of my YouTube subscription list.

    Even though I only watch YouTube as background sound, I think I prefer it as a medium. There's one channel in particular that I place above all others because I'm excited to watch every video and it always makes me feel happy when I'm stressed out or tired. That's not something that happens from traditional tv.

  3. Nonny Mouse
    April 26, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Used to be, everything was scheduled around the TV schedule, since there was no way to watch it once it was gone. There were only 4 channels, and one of them was NET (later PBS), so it didn't really count. Cable changed everything, and then VCRs changed that, but they were cumbersome. Early in 2000, I built a PVR out of a used PC and some (then) very expensive Video and Tuner cards, and I was hooked.

    SageTV was the bomb, and it utterly changed how we consumed media. Any shows we wanted, we watched at our leisure. Commercials? skipped. Most hour-long shows could be viewed in under 10 minutes, since 5 minutes at the beginning and the end told you everything that actually happened, and the middle was usually filler. Then we had time to savor the shows where the writing and production actually mattered. Stuff that was worth keeping could be burned off to DVD.

    Things change. With HD came DRM, and no more free ride. We've been stuck with Time Warner's cable-box DVR, and it truly sucks. I've been struggling to get my wife to agree to cable-cut, and I've been ready for years. All I need is broadband internet. TWC wants a high price for just one service, but it's worth it. The torrent will provide. (TWC wants an even higher price for several services, even though they are individually discounted. They try to make us feel that we're saving money.)

    It's interesting to watch how my kids consume media. In general, they don't watch broadcast TV at all. They watch whatever interests them via YouTube or Vimeo or Netflix or Amazon Prime on their iPads or computers. They will occasionally request a movie that's on cable, and when recorded, sit with us to watch it on the big TV. (Yes, we often have 'movie night.' I make the popcorn.) We have only ONE big TV, and it's in the living room. It gets as much use for Wii as it does for anything else.

    I run Plex to serve what I get off of the torrent, and I've been stocking a lot of old TV shows as well as current ones for those binge weekends. Once it's been watched, out it goes. As for clients, we have AppleTV, Google TV, and Roku.

    If any of this may seem pirated, it's a gray area. I'm often getting recent content that we missed, or didn't have room for on the PVR, or is otherwise unavailable. Sometimes we watch 'throwaway' or ephemeral content that is not otherwise available here. Then we erase it. Right now, we're paying full freight for HBO and several other premium channels, so we're already paying for a lot of it anyway.

    We're probably ahead of the curve here. But the channel between the content creators/owners, the distributors, and the consumers (that's us) is getting shorter all the time. I'd rather pay a studio directly for my content, then pay a considerable markup to a distributor that forces me to use their really lousy PVR with limited space.

    As for 'purchasing' movies or TV episodes, the value pales. Very few of these are worth watching a second time. I've got a huge stack of DVDs and VHS tapes that I bought and will probably never watch again, but at least they're physical artifacts. The thought of putting down money for a 'license' to something I haven't yet seen, might not be good, and I will probably only watch once (if I even finish it) is starting not to make sense. TV networks have made this gamble in the past, but they have commercial time to sell, and eyeballs to collect. I don't.

    But really, most of the content that's available at any given time isn't that good to begin with. As it always has been, since the dawn of media. The good stuff, I'll happily pay for. The bad, I won't. But I'll decide that AFTER I've watched it.

    You want my money in exchange for your content? Simple. Tell me a story worth hearing, and do it well. Truly entertain me. It can be done. Nothing would make me happier. I'll pay for that.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Advertising is the most obvious way of paying for something after you've watched it. Apart from a system whereby all content is available and you only pay what you want for individual shows. I can't see that happening anytime soon.

    • Nonny Mouse
      April 29, 2014 at 1:21 am

      True about the advertising. Most stuff available from the torrent has had the ads stripped out. Something like Game of Thrones doesn't have ads to begin with. I'll torrent that, and buy the box set later. Ditto Mad Men, ditto Fargo. Shows of that level of quality deserve to be rewarded.

      Cable companies here are coming under increasing pressure to provide 'a la carte' access to individual channels, at least. They're resisting: their profit model is built around bundles. However, Time Warner here already has 80% of the series they carry available on demand. They could easily move to a subscription model for series or episodes, they just need to see a profit model where it would work. (100% of cable programming is just a series of digital streams anyway now, realtime or not.)

      Funny thing is, I actually enjoy a lot of the advertising I see. They know they have to work to make it funny or meaningful so we'll watch, so the quality is often good. The real kick are commercials from another region of the country, or even another country. (I find British ads wonderful to watch. Even though we share a language, we are very different countries.) This is a glimpse into how another culture lives, and what's important to them. (Seriously, if you want to know how a different area thinks, go into one of their supermarkets. You might be surprised.) But I digress.

  4. Michael Dowling
    April 26, 2014 at 1:00 am

    I've got a 47" flatscreen Sanyo in the den,but never watch anything during the week.I PVR the few shows I like through the week,and watch them on Friday evening.I have my TV connected to my desktop in the next room via an HDMI cable.If there is nothing on TV,I will stream a documentary from YouTube to the TV.I have a wireless keyboard and mouse,so the TV is basically a remote monitor.This arrangement keeps me happy,at least till TPP is passed: and then I will have to look into a VPN setup,I guess.

  5. KT
    April 25, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    60" plasma hooked to an HD cable box, a gaming pc, and an xbox 360.
    36" crt tv hooked to the same cable box with s-video, and a PS2 right beside it.
    If we're gaming on one tv (say Diablo 3 on xbox) we mute it and turn on the other tv to watch shows or movies at the same time.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      I hate you, purely for having a 60-inch plasma. I'm guessing that makes for a good viewing experience.

  6. Angi G
    April 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    When we signed up for our high-speed internet out here in the boonies, we got the cable tv package too. It is nice to be able to turn on the tv whenever, but we rarely do. If we were to remove the cable tv from our account, our internet would actually be more expensive. Weird, I know! But it's ok for us. I've setup one of our older desktops to record our favorite shows (we named him Peevo). We try to sit down once a week and watch them. Sometimes my husband, who is working on his Master's Degree, likes the house quiet, so I put on my headphones and watch whatever tv show I'm feeling at the time on my own computer by streaming it from the tv computer. When I hear of a new show, I find it online and watch a couple of episodes where ever I find them. We have tried Netflix and Hulu, because our tv has the built-in apps, but I always felt like we didn't watch it enough, so we cancelled them both. If we want to watch a movie, we just find it and watch it.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      I've heard that in the U.S. the cable companies effectively have people over a barrel when it comes to Broadband, which sucks.

      When you say you find them online, are these legal sources or just whichever corner of the Internet you find them?

    • Angi G
      April 28, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      We like to support our little cable company. They at least employ locals!
      When I "find them online", it depends on the show. Sometimes I'll hear about a show that has been on for a while and I'll want to start at the beginning. That's when torrenting comes in handy, with a VPN, of course! Especially if the show isn't out on DVD yet. :)

  7. Robyn McIntyre
    April 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I use Roku primarily to watch Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Instant. I watch anime on my laptop because Hulu and other commercial sites often provide only the dubbed version of Japanese shows, and I detest the American voices so often used for that. I am not really a fan of any sports other than baseball and have a subscription to MLB, which I watch via Roku. Shows that I'm interested in but that aren't available via a Roku channel I will watch on the network's channel on my laptop, which is 17". That happens seldom, though. I read more often than I watch TV, and my digital library is stored on a Nexus 7, though I have a hard copy library of a few hundred books.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Pretty much all legal streaming then, which is a good indicator of a growing trend.

  8. Ed
    April 24, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    When my cable bill hit $150 per month, it was time to leave.
    I bought a Roku 3, subscribed to Aereo and Amazon Prime for my Roku, and supplement the rest with XBMC.

    Aereo ($13 per month) is great for local channels, but the wife wanted Food Network. So I got rid of Aereo, which was a great service, and got Nimble TV. On Nimble TV I get twice the channels for $29 per month. Nimble TV will get their channels from Dish Network and you get a remote DVR that records 4 shows at once. Aereo allowed recording of 2 shows at once.

    Which is better? Aereo had fewer channels, but better quality and less down time. Nimble TV is best described as a beta product. I lose service about once a week. Satellite TV sucks with constant pixelation on Nimble TV. If it wasn't for my wife, I would switch back to Aereo because their service is rock-solid and inexpensive. Both work off the Roku box. The DVR on both is in some remote server data center.

    So between Nimble TV, Amazon Prime, and my internet bill, I pay about $86 per month instead of $150. Between this and XBMC, I get what I need. All watched on a TV.

    If the network broadcasters pulled their heads out of the ground and offered their stations with live and on-demand broadcasting on the internet, Roku, and other platforms (with ads) with cloud-based DVR and a small subscription fee, I would be all in.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      That's one hell of a saving. I can't help thinking more and more people will go this route as knowledge of alternatives to cable subscriptions increases.

      Are you concerned that Aereo will be deemed illegal by the Supreme Court?

    • Ed
      April 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      I don't have Aereo any longer, as I now subscribe to Nimble TV.

      I am afraid Aereo will be deemed illegal. Yes, they are getting around the law by subscribing an individual antenna to each subscriber, which is legal. The problem is, they can say all they want about how they are just renting an antenna and dvr service, and not retransmitting broadcasts. I do think they ARE piping and retransmitting the free broadcasts over the internet. If a user does this on their own with their own antenna/dvr solution, it is not being broadcast to a separate entity. Aereo sends this broadcast from their location to a separate entity (the end user). As much as I want the courts to find it all legal, I do think it will be found illegal. I hope I am wrong.

      Aereo says there is no plan B if they are found to be illegal. My question is, how much would it really cost Aereo to pay the networks the retransmission fees? Nimble TV gets their feed and DVR service from Dish Network. For $29 per month on Nimble TV, I get all local channels, plus another 15 or so including HGTV, Food Network, MSNBC and History channel. I would think Aereo could do just local channels for $20 per month. That would be reasonable, and I would think a lot of people who can't get a good antenna signal and also want DVR would love local channels for $20 per month. I know I would.

      Aside from Aereo and Nimble TV, Dish Network is going to provide their own internet TV solution come this summer (I guess they are screwing over Nimble TV by doing this). I'm curious as what the pricing will be. We need choice. If Aereo and Nimble TV can provide economical choices, it can be done. It doesn't seem as retransmission fees are all that expensive. I think the cable companies are making it appear expensive so they can charge more.

      The recording industry slowly adopted to mp3s. Book publishers slowly adopted to ebooks. The TV networks will slowly adopt to internet streaming and on-demand. It will happen, it will just take time.

  9. R A Myers
    April 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    We watch TV/video (cassettes and discs) on our upstairs or living room TV's. They have bigger screens than our computer screens and have better sounding speakers. Their remotes are single purpose built devices and have only TV related keys. Channel surfing is much easier the doing it with a computer.

    The computers are Multi-Purpose devices. Fore example, it makes a great amateur radio data modes controller. Many of the purposes I don't use. I'm sure there are purposes we don't know about. By reading the comments we learned of many more things we could do with the computer. We might try some of them.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      VHS cassettes? That's old-skool! It's good you're learning of new things to try via the comments. That's what we're here for :)

  10. Holly
    April 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    How Do You Watch TV?

  11. Don Preston
    April 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    My wife and I watch a LOT of network and cable television. We have two TiVos with a total of 6 tuners along with our cable DVR. We have no subscription services however, I watch HBO GO using a friend's login and Chromecast it to my 70" TV.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Is that not overkill? I must admit I'd jealous of your 70" TV though. I only have a mere 42-inches :(

    • Don Preston
      May 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      It might be overkill if I watched all of it. We record the first half dozen or so episodes of any interesting looking show and if it stands that test of time we'll binge watch it to catch up. And delete them all if it doesn't make the cut. We also record the news shows every night for later scanning as well as O'Reilly and Red Eye every night. But only limit it to three stored copies. The TiVo's primarily function as a filter from all the extra programming that I've determined I don't wan to see.

  12. Aaron
    April 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    We stream the great majority of our content. For the rest, we use Aereo. Typically the TV set is the default device, and we use others (tablets, smart phones, PCs, in that order) as needed.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      As the first person to mention Aereo, are you worried about it potentially being killed by the Supreme Court?

    • Aaron
      April 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Not really. My financial commitment is $12/month, and if the service gets shut down, then I would call up my local cable provider and subscribe to a basic package. I tried Simple.TV, but that didn't work for me because I could not get a reliable signal from my local PBS station.

      So worried? Not really. But I do hope the Supreme court gets the decision right on the first try. From my point of view Aereo is clearly a non-infringing technology. They host my DVR in the cloud and make the free TV signal I am entitled to easier to use. Broadcasters are just worried about losing their re-transmission revenues, and that is why we are here. Either the business model will adjust to cover that gap, or a new status quo will be established with different economics. Ain't the free market grand? :)

      VCR makers were sued based on the same concept in the early days of that technology. I can only hope the Supreme Court sees it the same way, so we can get on with bringing TV into the 21st century.

  13. David M
    April 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I stream tv shows from DailyMotion to Chromecast.

  14. Vighnesh V
    April 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Well...I watch TV with my eyes....Light from stuff that is shown on TV falls on my eyes, the optical neurons get activated and send a neural impulse, the brain processes it and I watch TV...:-D

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I knew I'd get at least one smartass. Well done on being that person ;)

  15. Robert
    April 24, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I have cable TV/internet but no premium channels. I do subscribe to Netflix. Almost every TV program I watch is by TiVo time shifting and fast forwarding through commercials so I can watch a 1-hour show in 45 minutes. Once a year we watch the super bowl and fast forward through the game and watch the commercials!

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      I do the same. I can't remember the last time I sat through commercials. Mark my words, the television companies will think of a way around that... which may be an interesting debate for another time.

  16. A41202813GMAIL
    April 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Here, Cable Blackouts, On Purpose, Some Shows Of Their Own International Channels ( Channels That Customers Are Paying For ), Because They Broadcast Sports ( Like My Favorite F1 ), So The Sports Premium Channels Can Have A Monopoly.

    Tough Luck - That Is A Reason For Me Not To Be A Cable Customer Never Ever.

    Until Early 2012 We Had Old Analogue FTA Television - The Image Quality Was Acceptable And Transmission Failures Were Really Rare.

    Now Analogue Was Discontinued And We Have Digital FTA - When It Works, The Image Quality Is Better, But The Transmission Failures Are A Curse, Sometimes Several In A Single Minute.

    When I Am Desperate Enough, I Watch Both FTA And Low Quality Images Using Internet Streaming.

    Good Shows Only Broadcast Well After Midnight, Which Is A Deterrent To Anyone With A 9 To 5 Job.

    During The Day We Have Almost All The Time B$ Shows For Seniors With Some Sort Of Lobotomy - Each Country Gets What It Deserves.


    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      "Shows For Seniors With Some Sort Of Lobotomy."

      That's harsh! :)

    • A41202813GMAIL
      April 29, 2014 at 5:59 am

      I Am 57, So, Maybe I Am Referring To Myself, In Advance, In A Not Too Long Distant Future.


  17. Aibek E
    April 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Apple TV eliminated the need for cable subscription on our end. For news I go to the websites directly and stream it from there. For movies and TV shows there is Amazon, Hulu etc. That might not work for everyone but works for me)

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      You're a complete cord-cutter then, Aibek! It's a growing trend that is only going to go in one direction.

  18. kimberly
    April 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I am a dedicated TV-less TV watcher. Laptop, iPad and AppleTV connected to a 30" cinema display are the devices, equally used and loved. I buy TV shows & movies from iTunes and Amazon, I pay for streaming content through Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu+. I stream free content from all of the major TV networks from their websites and/or iPad apps, although because of their dubious stability I sometimes resort to downloading that content via torrents instead. There are a few shows I love and would happily pay to access if it were an option, so I regularly download those via torrents.

    When it comes to TV content on YouTube, the poor search function and quality issues (people video recording their TV) simply make it not worth the effort.

    I tend to save series or shows and binge-watch over a few days.

    Most of my TV show watching is done passively while I am using another device, except for the few shows that are "appointment television". Movies on the other hand are mostly active watching.

    I've just started ripping DVDs to a local media server in the AppleTV format, because sadly the streaming services I pay for are running out of content that interests me, or the things i want to watch are DVD only. DVDs work fine if I am watching on a laptop, but not so much for the other devices.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      You're proof that you don't actually need a television set to watch TV, even the most up-to-date shows, these days. I find myself passively watching more and more, usually browsing the Web at the same time.

  19. Xoandre
    April 24, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    When I was a child, I would get up every morning before school to watch Scooby Doo on my Granny's 20" Color TV. I (and my siblings) would sit on our legs mere inches from the TV so we could not be blocked by other family members getting between us and the TV.

    Later in life, I stared in shock when we went from 4 channels to 19 with Cox Cable. All that selection, all those shows - how would I ever be able to keep up with everything?

    Then during High School and College, I recorded shows on a pair of VCR's whenever I was in class or had to mow the 10-acre lawn with the push mower.

    Over the years, as technology changed, I know many people burned their cash on DVD recorders, which were a flash in the pan as DVRs and Tivo took predominance.

    The Superbowl Janet Jackson event put Tivo on the map more than any other event in television history. And millions of people went out and sought DVR options less expensive than Tivo.

    As more and more cable subscriptions became ever-more competitive, they began to have DVR's as part of the cable box. Nowadays, the DVR is an integral part of television entertainment in most homes.

    Most of my life, I have watched television alone. I've either been a bachelor or - once I was married - had completely different tastes or work schedules than my wife.

    For a while I would watch TV live for important events, but eventually I got around to pre-recording (buffering) my shows and watching them later or on delay enough to skip most of the commercials.

    Now that my divorce is complete, I am living on a far tighter budget and alone again. My television can only pick up the 3-4 stations the digital antenna gets, and I rarely watch TV at all.

    Some shows I am able to stream on Netflix, and I have caught up with shows that eithe never aired in the USA, never aired entirely, or had absolutely no promotion, exposure, or conflicted with more important shows I used to watch.

    Streaming to my 42" HDTV from my PC (via analog cable direct from my built-in PC graphics card), I am able to ejoy such rare gems as "the 4400" and mind-boggling flicks like "Mr. Nobody" as well as the classic missed episodes of "Justice League Unlimited" and others.

    Through the years, technology has changed, life events took place, and I find myself staring - as I did when I was 8 - at a color TV mere inches from my face.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      That's poetic, and rather depressing! Great comment though :)

  20. Tara M
    April 24, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I usually watch tv by cable or either by netflix . Most of the time there really isn't much on cable anymore but a few shows that I just have to watch. Netflix is more for weekend watching for me.

  21. Jim Gibson
    April 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

    The sad fact is within our family we watch far too much TV. After a long day I tend to relax in front of the tv and watch news, films or soaps until I'm ready for bed instead of going out in the fresh air or meeting people. Now that we have 'catch up' tv it got a lot worse because we can watch content that we missed whilst at work.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      You're not alone there. TV on demand services mean I watch a lot more shows than I used to previously. 10 years ago I wouldn't have worried about missing an episode, but now I'll download it and watch it. So, a positive and negative, I guess.

  22. James Bassett
    April 24, 2014 at 8:04 am

    We don't really watch broadcast telly any more in our family. Sport would be about the only thing. We'll record the odd program on Sky+ but 90% of what we watch (1-2hrs a day) is Netflix. The kids DVDs are all ripped to a NAS box so they can watch those from any device around the house. We learnt from when they were little that favourite DVDs get scratched and become unplayable very quickly so we have been ripping them for years. The Wii has WiiMC installed as well as Netflix and is hooked up to the main TV in the lounge so that is probably the main entertainment centre.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      That's a brilliant tip re: ripping kids' DVDs to prevent scratching. What kind of stuff do you watch on Netflix? What do you think of Netflix' push towards making its own original content?

  23. Meena B
    April 24, 2014 at 6:04 am

    now i rarely watch TV.. i don't really have much time and if i want to watch something, it's probably available online so i can download it and watch it whenever i want.

  24. likefunbutnot
    April 24, 2014 at 6:02 am

    I use a combination of RSS feeds and some scripts I wrote to automate collection of anything I want to watch from release groups like EzTV and PublicHD. I have effectively infinite local storage and I torrent through a dedicated anonymous VPN
    Once it's in my home I can watch it through Plex if I want (though I only do that for truly throwaway content like the Daily Show since Plex clients have issues with audio fidelity), through XBMC or in a long playlist if I'm binge watching.
    Every TV in my home has some kind of computer connected that can handle Plex and XBMC and I can run them all from my collection if mobile devices, which means I can do stupid tricks like moving a show from my bedroom to the bathroom if I really want to.
    I have access to both Amazon and Netflix and I never stream from either. I generally don't like the interfaces or search options available to either service, even on ideal platforms. I don't even stream the Daily Show since it's easier to watch the episodes I download automatically.
    I do typically purchase DVD or BD collections of shows I enjoy once they become available. I haven't opened such a set in years, but I do undertake an effort to demonstrate financial support for content I like.
    Most TV I actually watch is binged as a whole season at a time. I almost always have a playlist of something or other, but truthfully I spend a lot more time reading and listening to music or podcasts.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Wow, you're connected wherever you go! So, do you feel buying DVDs or Blu-rays is enough to balance out pirating? Is there anything that would stop you pirating at this point?

    • likefunbutnot
      April 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      I really don't care about the idea of "balance" between my media collection habits and what I actually watch. I do voluntarily support the things that I like, just like I give money to PBS, NPR and community arts organizations. I don't think that the things I do watch are bad, but I'm also aware that a certain very large percentage of that content would be produced whether or not I download it. I don't feel any ethical obligation to support EVERYTHING that content producers create as I would by paying a cable or satellite TV bill. As a matter of resource allocation, I'd rather that my media consumption dollars go to an independent podcaster or local orchestra than to, say, Viacom.

      That said, I do buy discs for the content that I enjoy. If I could directly give money toward the production of Game of Thrones, I would. Recently, a Veronica Mars movie was produced through money raised from Kickstarter, a project I was more than happy to contribute to.

      Would anything stop me from pirating? I don't know. Truthfully, I'm not THAT interested in visual entertainment in and of itself. I started working on all of this more out of interest in some of the associated technologies and for the enjoyment I get from organizing data. It certainly isn't a question of the legality. Netflix and Amazon are at least technically convenient and usable and they don't even register to me as viable (though I do use Netflix to obtain discs via mail). At the end of the day, I just like maintaining my own library of content and I have the resources to do so. I don't see that changing unless it actually becomes entirely impossible for me to obtain content that I can control.

    • mark
      June 27, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Great post likefunbutnot.
      Im just getting into watching shows online.
      Would you care to share or pm me some of the scripts you use to obtain and automate?

  25. MrX
    April 24, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Don't watch TV at all. I do own a 46" LCD television set but it's used as a monitor for my ps3. So as for watching actual TV shows, nope. Doesn't happen. I lost interest in it all a couple of years ago. Why I lost interest? I don't really know, I think that I felt somewhat disgusted by all the messed up reality shows. It was all bad TV as far as I know. It kinda reminded me of how messed up our world is. We sit and laugh at people that are less fortunate than our self's and then call that entertainment. You know who else did that? The Romans with the gladiators.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Most reality television is pretty hard to watch, especially the shows that belittle individuals. However, I'd argue there's still good options, especially in terms of drama, which has improved immensely in recent years. Do Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and/or Mad Men not appeal?

    • MrX
      April 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      They do appeal very much so Dave. I just don't watch them in the regular "TV" fashion. I stream all my content =)

  26. Christian W
    April 24, 2014 at 2:02 am

    My partner and I mostly watch TV on a TV set. We don't have cable TV where we live so that isn't an option. If we miss a show then sometimes it is available online via the TV station's website that showed it and we'll plug the computer into the TV and watch it that way. Many of the streaming services such as Netflix are not available in Australia so that rules out those (well, rules them out if I don't want to faff about with finding a US address and setting up VPNs). If I've missed a show and it's not available via the TV station's website then we have previously downloaded the show from another source, but this isn't too often with us.

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Just broadcast TV then, in the main? I'm not sure I could cope with so little choice at this point in time.

    • Christian W
      April 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      I grew up with three channels and have not had high speed internet long enough to be addicted to anything online so it's not something that fazes me much. I'm sure in the future I'll want a larger choice but the 10 or so channels we have are fine for now.

  27. Daniel V
    April 24, 2014 at 1:43 am

    I have different ways of watching television. My family (myself included) doesn't usually watch as a family, but we do watch together. Our current ways are pretty rough when it comes to TV. We cannot record things because there's an error with our cable box, so we keep a strict schedule. TV has gotten worse over the years from, say, 2010; in my opinion. But whenever I watch TV I always keep this wise quote in mind "Why watch it, when you can do it?" - Unknown. As the years go by this quote will probably be our near future. Hence why you shouldn't be addicted to TV, because you never know when something might fade away. ~~~

    • Dave P
      April 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      In terms of content TV has sadly dumbed down. And isn't it weird that this has coincided with an increase in the number of ways of watching?!

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