Sunday, September 25, 2011
How I Watch Most Of My Weekly TV Shows Without Cable, DVRs, Or Other "Traditional" Methods
When the new Fall television season rolled around, I didn't think I could keep up with the new shows and returning favorites without our former cable hookup. We had been sitting pretty watching chunks of reruns like Family Guy, American Dad, Star Trek, and one billion Marvel Comics cartoons, but I didn't think this arrangement would work for first-run shows. The shows would take too long to get on the Web or on Hulu, or they might run in weird buggy online players that would diminish my enjoyment of said programs to the point it would not be worth it. But this largely turned out not to be the case.
All of the major TV networks -- CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, and CW -- have full episodes running on their sites. CBS seems to be the fastest, with new episodes showing up on their site often the morning after first run on a nicely-sized, bug-free (as far as I can tell) online player. ABC, NBC, and FOX have the advantage of running on Hulu Plus, which means we can watch first-run shows day-after, or a couple days after, in the comfort of our livingroom TV set. CW is the slowest to run new shows, with a gap of about 4-5 days (at least for the new show Ringer); I've had some problems/browser issues with their player, though they have seemed to work their way out.
HBO is a tricky animal. They generally don't run full episodes on their site, and instead offer something called HBO GO, which is free if you have an HBO subscription. It sounds expensive, but I think if you are a big fan of everything HBO, this is probably your best option. It's ironic because when we used to have cable, a lot of HBO material was free on-demand. I find that any programming that falls under the Time Warner banner, such as HBO and CW -- as well as any movies made by the company -- are just going to be harder to access without having cable (which, since Time Warner also owns a cable co, is not the most surprising thing in the world). This also means that while we have Marvel Comics cartoons up the ying-yang through Netflix, it is extremely hard to find the animated adventures of Superman, Batman, and the rest through any of the options I've outlined, except buying them (and not a very comprehensive list of offerings at that) through a place like Zune.
Suggestions are welcomed!
Posted by Verge at 9:03 AM