Television has attracted and distracted me my entire life. These days it seems as though there is so much content available that it is impossible to keep up. people are always asking me “Did you watch ______? (fill in the blank) and most of the time my answer is No.
I actually keep a list of shows to watch. This is part of this era of streaming options, on-demand and binge watching.
And then there is cutting the cord that tethers you to cable and paid services. I have Netflix and Amazon Video and have some free offer access to HBO and Showtime, and just those offer way too much to consume.
I tend to stick with only a few series at a time. Too many and I can’t keep track of what episodes I already watched or what happened in them. Too many times my wife and I have returned to a series after a week or two and watch the “previously on” clips at the beginning and asked each other “Did we see that already?”
If you really want to cut the bills for content there are plenty of sources for free movies and TV shows. YouTube has a lot of free stuff (and now has low cost content too), and there are mostly free older movies and shows in the public domain in various places.
There are channels designed to provide free content. Crackle (now owned by Sony) was a channel I discovered a few years ago when it popped up on y smart TV and was showing the first seasons of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I have since watched all those episodes and now the series has moved to the paid land of Netflix. Crackle has movies, TV shows and some original series.
The big networks have taken note of the free and the cord cutters and now offer some free online content and have been moving into their own streaming networks.
AT&T recently merged with Time Warner and launched a new low-cost streaming service, WatchTV. You can stream through the WatchTV app or on some browsers at no extra cost with AT&T’s two latest unlimited wireless plans. For everyone else, you can purchase WatchTV for $15 per month. It has over 30 live channels and 15,000 TV shows and movies on demand. It’s like a mini-cable subscription with A&E, AMC, CNN, Food Network, TBS, TNT, BET and Comedy Central.
But back to free… Have you seen Tubi TV? It offers some popular shows and films without a subscription. The selections are updated weekly. You can get the app for your Apple devices and Android. That points to two trends: entertainment at zero cost, and watching TV (or should I just call it video?) on smaller devices like your phone.
Of course, we are still buying big TV screens and throwing content up there too. This week I was showing friends a slideshow of my son’s wedding photos by plugging a USB flashdrive into the side of the big TV.
No lack of alternative entertainment.