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How to watch streaming TV

There are dozens of paid streaming services, and what seems like hundreds of other free or ad-supported streaming channels out there these days.

The average household is subscribed to at least two different paid streaming services (as of this writing, it’s usually some combination of Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime… but Hulu is making a strong case for it so be in the mix too… and there’s always AT&T’s HBO MAX and Comcast’s PEACOCK service coming out later this month. And let’s not even start with YouTube’s free or paid services. Whew!)

But the biggest question that people ask Web Watch is “how do you know which streaming service has the shows that you want to watch?

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Will Apple Buy TiVo?

As long-time Web Watch readers know, we’ve been a huge fan and support of TiVo over the years.  We’re all set to pony up and buy the Tivo Premiere Elitewith 4 tuners and 2TB worth of recording space, once TiVo and the cable companies work out their On Demand issues.

But that was all before all the APPLE TV rumors started to crop up again this week.

And if these rumors about what 2012 will bring in terms of an Apple living room experience, we may need to reevaluate our decision to invest in another TiVo, no matter how much it pains us to consider this as an option.

So let’s dive into what the rumors are, as well as present our own wish list of what the ultimate APPLE TV experience should be, after the break.

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Possible takeover target TiVo has awesome customer service (not to mention easy TiVo upgrades)

TiVo Premiere XL

TiVo has been taking it on the chin lately.

The recent blog post in the New York Times entitled TiVO, Nice Service if You Can Get It, is the typical drivel written by somebody who hasn’t taken the time to properly research and use the product they’re talking about. 

As an example – the writer, Joshua Brustein, says that TiVo has an expensive fee of $19.99/month.  He doesn’t mention that you could purchase a lifetime subscription for $499.  If you’re planning on keeping your TiVo for longer than 24 months, the lifetime subscription is the way to go.  (Web Watch won’t mention the number of deals that are on the TiVo website that may lower the overall cost even further.)

The article goes on, with the writer’s cable company trying to pimp their own DVR over a TiVo — hey, that happens. Same thing with the account of what he went through to get a cable card, involving multiple trips, phone calls, and a service tech who never showed up.    Obviously not an issue with TiVo, but with the cable company the writer is using.  For our TiVo service, Web Watch drove over to our local Cable Shoppe and picked up the cable cards directly.  Installed them into our new TiVo ourselves, and were up and running in just about an hour or so.

Obviously each user’s experience is going to be different, but none of what the writer included in his article is specific to problems with TiVo.

Disney TV Websites

Disney theme park-related TV listings – Still waiting on Finding Kraftland

Modern Marvels - Walt Disney World
Modern Marvels – Walt Disney World

You shouldn’t have to guess that Web Watch has “Disney” coded as a search term on one of our TiVos, in order to record the latest television program about any of the Disney-theme parks.

With it, TiVo automatically records anything and everything that it thinks we might be interested in.  We’ve seen any number of Food Network-related programming, and practically every airing of  The History Channel’s MODERN MARVELS that seems to air about once every two weeks. 

And that episode where Full House visits Walt Disney World?  Yup – seen that more times than we care to, thanks to TiVo.

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Confirmation that TiVo Doesn’t Hurt TV Advertising

TiVo 4.0 Premiere XL DVR
TiVo Premiere XL DVR

Longtime readers should recall when Web Watch shared TiVo Viewing Statistics that listed what types of programs TiVo users were watching when skipping through commercials.  Those metrics indicated which were the most common shows to be watched live (such as American Idol) vs those shows that viewers would store up on their TiVo to watch later (such as Grey’s Anatomy).

There has been a long-standing debate among broadcasters and advertisers as to whether TiVo, DVRs, and the ability to skip commercials hurts advertising.  The belief was that if the viewer didn’t watch the commercial, then why bother to buy the advertising in the first place?

In the past year, we’ve seen more creative advertising pieces be put together, in an attempt to “TiVo-proof” the commercial.  Some movie trailers, for example, display static content in a black bar above the trailer being played — so even if the commercial is being fast-forwarded through, the viewer can still see the name of the film being advertised.

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You’re kidding – How can the top gadget of this decade NOT be TiVo?

Best Gadget HackingSo PASTE Magazine has come out with their list of the TOP 20 GADGETS OF THE PAST DECADE (2000-2009), and while Web Watch certainly agrees with the sentiment that such a list entails, we seriously question the validity of any such survey that places TiVo anywhere lower than #1.

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TiVo Statistics on Commercial Skipping for May 2009

TiVo: those who have never owned one will never understand. Those who have used a generic DVR think they understand, but they really don’t.

One benefit that many TiVo enthusiasts love to speak about is their ability to fast-forward through commercials. This has led to some advertisers trying to make their ads “TiVo-Friendly”, so that the core message of the spot will still be conveyed, even as the rest of the commercial goes by in a blur. As an example, you may have seen some movie ads that have the name of the movie displayed at the top of the screen for the duration of the commercial. TiVo users may not see the commercial content, but they know what the commercial was for.

Heck, even NBC CONDUCTED A STUDY THAT PROVED TIVO and DVR USERS DO PAY ATTENTION TO COMMERCIALS. In part, it’s because users who are fast-forwarding through the commercials end up watching the screen intently focused on when the commercial break stops, and if they happen to see an interesting commercial whiz by, they’ll rewind back to watch it.