How we entertain ourselves is constantly evolving, especially when it comes to new digital technology. While some people take advantage of things like new ways to watch television, others aren’t as open to change. But it’s more likely your TV viewing needs have changed over the years, and with changing needs comes a changing supply. That means it may be time to consider other options— cheaper, more convenient options for watching television.
If you’re not up-to-date on what’s available today, here’s a look at four trends in TV technology that can make life easier and your costs more affordable.
1. On-Demand TV Viewing
If you’ve been best buds with your cable provider throughout the years, you’re likely familiar with on-demand TV. If you have premium channels, you can watch select movies and programs that air on these channels on-demand, and some cable providers give subscribers the option of watching primetime TV on-demand after a show airs.
On-demand has come a long way. And today, you don’t need cable for on-demand viewing. Netflix and Hulu offer the best of both worlds—convenience and affordability. For a low monthly fee, you can watch movies and TV shows on your schedule. This is perfect for binge-watching entire seasons or catching up on the latest movies without subscribing to HBO, Showtime or CineMax. If you only watch a handful of shows anyway, it doesn’t make sense to pay a huge monthly cable bill.
2. Live Streaming TV
Unfortunately, Netflix and Hulu don’t offer live streaming. Cable has its advantages because you can watch live TV as it happens, which is ideal for televised sporting events or special TV presentations. If you don’t want cable, a live streaming service like Sling TV is an option.
Starting at just $20 a month, you can receive live multi-channel access for up to 30 stations anytime, anywhere. Available channels include the History Channel, the Disney Channel, HGTV, AMC, ESPN, CNN and more. There’s even upgrade options to add more programming based on your viewing needs and budget. Stream Sling TV from your television or mobile device. It’s better than broadcast TV—which has limited stations and poor picture quality— and cheaper than cable.
DVR technology isn’t new. It’s been around for some years now, but it has improved significantly in recent years. This service lets you pause live TV and record shows without using a VCR. If you’re not familiar with advances in this technology, here’s what you’re missing out on.
When DVR was first introduced, some DVR boxes only allowed recording of one or two shows at a time, and if you had multiple DVR boxes in your home, these worked independently of each other. That meant a movie recorded on a DVR box in the living room wasn’t retrievable on a DVR box in the bedroom. Now, this has all changed.
Many cable service providers—including Frontier and CenturyLink—offer whole-house DVR service. With this new feature, recorded movies and TV shows can be watched on any DVR box in the house. There’s also a new feature that lets you pause live TV in one room and continue watching the program in a different room. Newer DVR boxes allow up to four recordings simultaneously, and greater storage capacity lets you record and save hours of your movies and TV programs.
4. On-the-Go Mobile Apps
The next time you’re sitting in a doctor’s office, don’t grab an outdated magazine to keep yourself occupied. With on-the-go mobile apps, your smart phone is all the entertainment you need.
If you have Netflix or a Hulu subscription, download the streaming service’s app to your smartphone or tablet and keep yourself busy while sitting in waiting rooms or traveling. Search their selection of movies and TV shows, and then play programs directly from your mobile device anywhere, anytime.
Be aware that while mobile viewing is convenient, it can get expensive. Streaming movies and TV programs uses a lot of data, especially if you stream HD quality programming. It’s cost-effective to stream over Wifi. When Wifi isn’t an option, go into your account settings on the app and lower the streaming quality, which results in using less data.
Depending on your phone, set up data alerts to receive a notification when you’re about to exceed your cellular data limit for the month. Based on how much you stream outside of Wifi, an unlimited data plan might be worth the cost.
TV technology is changing—and as it does, so does the way we entertain ourselves. It’s only going to get better. The sooner you get onboard, the easier it’ll be to adapt to whatever comes in the future.