How to Channel Surf on Netflix, Hulu & YouTube (Like Cable TV)
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There are many reasons why you should get Netflix if you don’t already have it — such as the fact that it has many original shows in development and it can reduce your household expenses — but perhaps the most compelling reason is that it’s way more convenient than traditional television.

That being said, nostalgia can be a powerful force, and maybe you miss the “old way” of watching TV. On-demand entertainment is awesome, but there’s a strange appeal in being able to “surf channels” to see what’s “currently playing”.


If you feel like that describes you, then here’s the good news: there’s a new Chrome extension called OttoPlay that brings back the whole activity of channel surfing, and in addition to working with Netflix, it also supports Hulu and YouTube.

Once installed, the extension lets you pick from a particular theme (e.g. drama, comedy, girls, science fiction, anime, etc.) and will load up a “schedule” of shows to watch. It’s really simple and highly reminiscent of cable TV.

Those outside of the U.S. may experience regional playback issues due to content unavailability. It’s a bit inconvenient, but should work fine otherwise.

So if you want to cut the cord of cable but still want the magic of channel surfing, this is one way to do it. Hopefully in the future OttoPlay will support all of the other streaming services on the market.

Have you cut the cord yet? Do you miss channel surfing? Or are you 100% happy with on-demand entertainment? Share your thoughts with us below in the comments!

Image Credit: Netflix by scyther5 via Shutterstock

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  1. SteveJ
    December 13, 2016 at 7:35 am

    I finally got sick of being gauged by cable and cut the cord, and you know what, I really don't miss it. I already had Subscribed to Netflix, and Amazon Prime looking for content I actually wanted, on demand, so I was doing more streaming than channel surfing anyway, and I added on Hulu and HBO Now, and the whole thing brought my TV charges down about $60 a month. Is it worth it to lose the Home Shopping Network, FOX and the rest of the drivel I never watched anyway. I think so.

  2. Mike Vertx
    February 14, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    ottoplay is incredibly glitchy unfortunately and pretty frustrating to use, would recommend steering clear of it for the time being.

  3. david johnson
    February 12, 2016 at 4:35 am

    i still have dish. My wife is disabled and stays at home. I would want all the different streaming services on one guide. No idea how that would work. I will wait until this cord cutting is more user friendly.

    • Joel Lee
      February 18, 2016 at 4:21 am

      For on demand, streaming is way better, but for user friendliness across multiple services, you're right... there's still a lot of progress to be made. :( Hopefully it catches up sooner rather than later!

  4. JaneG
    February 12, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Cut the cord over a year ago. Don't miss it one bit. And since we weren't channel surfers anyway, we miss nothing! Best decision we ever made.

    • Joel Lee
      February 18, 2016 at 4:19 am

      I agree, one of the best decisions I've made as well. Thanks for sharing, JaneG. :)

  5. Al
    February 11, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Recently cut the cord. I miss the surfing sometimes, just a different way to watch.

    • Joel Lee
      February 12, 2016 at 3:28 am

      As much as I love Netflix and such, you're right. There's something comforting about channel surfing. Or maybe it's just nostalgia. I wonder what Netflix babies think about surfing! :)