No App To Watch Them All

When Disney announced that it would be leaving Netflix to start their own streaming platform, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought “great, another streaming service.” I’m sure some people are thrilled with the idea of service that will host old and new Disney movies and shows, and not having to navigate through the massive amounts of other content available on other services just to get their Disney fix.

I, on the other hand, am looking at this from the perspective of cord cutters, something I’ve been thinking about doing recently. Now that Hulu, Youtube, Playstation, and Sling all have services that include live TV, it’s something that is becoming increasingly easier to do. However, there are two different reasons people are “cutting the cord”. I believe the most popular reason is the cost, with the second being mobility, being able to watch your shows when you’re not at home.

When it was just Netflix and Hulu, cost wasn’t really an issue. For around $20 a month, you could watch a ton of movies and TV shows whenever and wherever you wanted, as long as you had a decent internet connection. The only problem was dealing with the archaic self-imposed rules the studios and networks used to decide when they would put their shows online.

I remember like five years ago I was working on a TV show in New Orleans and the house I was renting didn’t have cable service. A number of shows I watched had this weird thing where the first few episodes of the season were available next day, but the remaining episodes wouldn’t be put online for a month. It made no sense to me at all. The days of that are pretty much over, but we still have to deal with some networks not putting their shows up until the day after it airs, which, yes, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t matter, but in the world of entertainment, it doesn’t make any logical sense.

Why force me to wait to watch it online? HBO is perfectly happy with putting their shows up at the same time they air on the east coast, so why is it that I have to wait until the following day to watch The Flash? Then there are channels like SyFy and USA which only leave up the first half of the season, I recently tried to catch up on season two of Colony, but the first eight episodes are no longer available.  As time progresses I’m sure that will change as well and everything will be available everywhere at the same time (at least in the same region).

The problem is, even though it’s getting easier to watch TV on your computer or mobile device (when are we going to stop calling it TV?) it’s also becoming an ever more convoluted process. Now, in addition to Hulu and Netflix, there’s Amazon Prime and Crackle; there are all of the premium channel apps; each broadcast network has their own app, which up until now had been free, but CBS is trying to change that with CBS All Access, which you’ll need to pay for if you want to watch Star Trek: Discovery. DC has their own streaming service coming out and now Disney is getting into the mix, too (. . . not to mention all of the anime services out there).

So if you’re one of those people who has to be up to date on all the newest shows (no judgment, I can’t count myself out of that group), there are so many more apps that you need to get and pay for. Some of the services are making it a bit easier; for example, you can add Showtime onto your YouTube TV, Hulu, or Amazon subscription, but that’s only a minor help overall. So what is someone like me supposed to do?

For me, the answer is easy. I’m going to keep my cable subscription and my DVR, at least for the time being. Once the Time Warner/Spectrum merger is wholly complete, they’re supposed to be adding a cloud DVR service sort of like what Dish Network has, so as long as I remember to record the shows I want, I won’t have to worry about missing them or not being able to watch them when it’s convenient for me. With the cable service, I have access to the apps for all the premium channels, and some of the broadcast and cable channels provide more content to you if you have cable. I still have Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix, but I’m going to have to really weigh the pros and cons of picking up the DC, Disney, and CBS service.

Let me know what you guys do. Keeping things legal (not pirating) how do you guys get your content?

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