Mobile Media: Getting with the program

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How we get and consume our favorite TV shows and movies has completely changed over the past few years. My brain still thinks it’s the old world and I keep saying I don’t have any TV shows I’m addicted to because I can never sit down to watch them when they air at the same time on the same day each week. But really I’m so wrong and I need to catch up with the latest ways to watch TV and movies.

So far the whole DVR world has passed me by, but that is something everyone else I know is using to catch their favorite shows. I’m suspect of how effective it really is for people, though. Most everyone I hear talk about it are enjoying saving their shows, but very few of them are actually finding the time to sit down and watch them. They’ve got multiple seasons of many shows, but never seem to view them. So it appears to be a great way to collect shows and movies, but still doesn’t help the when to watch issue.

The traditional choices for programming appear to be Comcast, xfinity, Dish Network and DirecTV with the additions of movie channels like HBO, Showtime and Starz. Most everyone I know has one version or another of these and no one is exactly thrilled with any of them. These programming options provide just enough to cover the hassle that everyone feels in dealing with them. And this seems to work great for people who just want to watch shows on the giant TV in their family rooms. On top of these options people seem to have one or another programming service as well.

One of these is Netflix, of which I am a total fan. They are straddling the physical media and streaming media worlds for now. I get three DVD delivered to my house at a time and I have the instant viewing option too. My kids are totally messing up my recommendations because they view all their nutty kid shows through the instant option. Messed up recommendations are a reasonable trade-off for commercial free programming. I like it much better when the kids watch the Netflix instant shows instead of the cartoons we get on our Dish feed. I almost always find something to watch through the instant choices or what comes in the mail. And lately, Netflix has become my main source of programming.

So what else is out there? I know some people who no longer have cable or even a dish provider, but they are totally up on all the shows. And all the 24-27 year-olds I work with don’t even have televisions. They watch their programming on laptops, tablets and smartphones. So not only has programming changed, but so has the vehicles we use to consume our entertainment.

A friend of mine has signed up for Roku, which is a wireless streaming media player. She says it’s great, but she keeps her DirecTV subscription because it doesn’t include one of the networks yet and it doesn’t carry her favorite college football games.

There’s AppleTV which seems to be pretty awesome. It’s limited to what’s in the iTunes store and it’s on a pay-per-view basis so a real TV junkie can rack up a large bill. It’s hard to resist though since it will stream content from any iOS device or computer running iTunes.

For movies there’s Vudu which claims to stream movies “years before Netflix.”  Available without a subscription, this service costs $2.00 for two nights. It’s available through popular wireless gaming systems, Blue-ray™ players and the iPad.

How about Hulu and HuluPlus? I don’t know anyone in my circle who’s signed up for the plus version. The basic Hulu seems to satisfy most TV fans that I know and the video quality is great. But if I were really into a few TV shows the monthly $7.99 subscription doesn’t sound too bad.

You can also get apps from the networks and watch their programming through the apps or direct from their websites.

I think my archaic ways are going to get a reboot. I’m ready to explore some of these and make some changes.

About the author


Is a west coast gal who has settled down in Colorado. She loves to write, cook and play outdoors. If you don’t find her at work, she’ll probably be out riding her bicycle, at the pool with her kids or curled up on her couch with her face buried in a book.

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