Watching TV on Your Devices
- Streaming TV Shows on Your Computer's Screen
- Purchasing TV Shows to Watch on Your Computer
- Streaming TV Shows on Your Smartphone or Tablet
- Mobile Apps That Make Watching TV More Interactive
This chapter explains options for watching TV via the Internet using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. What’s covered includes
- Streaming on-demand TV shows to your computer
- Using mobile apps from TV networks to watch television programs on-demand
- Using an app offered by your cable or satellite TV service provider to watch programming on your mobile device
- Experiencing interactive elements of some TV shows using a mobile app
Chapter 3, “Television in the 21st Century,” describes how watching television on an HD television set has changed dramatically in recent years, and how programming can now be delivered to your television set in a variety of ways, including by streaming shows and movies from the Internet.
You can also stream or download television programming and movies to your PC or Mac computer, smartphone, and/or tablet. For example, you can purchase and download TV show episodes or movies so that you can watch them at your leisure on your computer or mobile device’s screen. You need an Internet connection to download the content, but then you can roam freely as you watch the downloaded video files.
Another option is to stream programming from the Internet to your computer or mobile device screen. From a computer, you visit the website for a television network or streaming service. On a smartphone or tablet, you need a specialized app to stream content. Apps for streaming TV shows and movies are available from several types of content providers, including
- Individual TV and cable networks (such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS)
- Cable/satellite service providers (such as Comcast/Xfinity, DirecTV, DISH, or Time Warner Cable)
- Subscription-based streaming services (such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix)
- Other online-based content providers (such as YouTube)
Depending on which of these options you choose, the programming may or may not include commercials, and a monthly subscription fee may be required. When specific programming (such as the most recent episodes of a TV series) becomes available for streaming after its initial broadcast varies. In some cases, you might need to wait 24 hours after an episode airs before it’s available to stream or purchase.
As long as your computer or mobile device has Internet access, you can stream current and classic TV show episodes on an on-demand basis. You’re also often able to watch live television broadcasts in real-time by streaming shows via the Internet to your computer or mobile device. As a result, you can watch television virtually anytime and anywhere, as long as an Internet connection is available.
Streaming TV Shows on Your Computer’s Screen
When it comes to watching on-demand or live television programming on your PC or Mac computer’s screen, you have three main options, which are described in the following sections.
Visiting a Network’s Website
Programs that air on television networks are often available on-demand 24 hours after they air as part of the network’s normal programming schedule. For each series, only a limited number of past episodes are typically offered.
A growing number of networks are also now streaming their programming live (in certain regions), or making shows available on-demand at the same time as they’re broadcast. All this programming typically includes commercials, but it is free to access. A continuous Internet connection is required, because the programming is streamed from the Internet to your computer screen.
Some of the websites for specific broadcast networks include the following:
ABC—http://abc.go.com—Click Shows to select a program, and then choose which recent episode you want to watch, or click Watch Live to stream programming the same time it airs on the television network. (Watch Live is available in limited markets at the time the book is being written.) After clicking a show title, click the Watch button associated with a particular episode.
- CBS—www.cbs.com—Click the listing for the show you want to stream. A limited number of past episodes are available for each program. If you pay a monthly fee of $5.99 for CBS All Access, live streaming, as well as access to episodes of current CBS series (and classic CBS series no longer airing on TV) become available. Starting with a brand-new Star Trek TV series in 2017, CBS All Access will also begin producing and offering exclusive and original programming.
- FOX—www.fox.com—Click the FOXNOW Full Episodes option to watch episodes of recently aired series on your computer.
- NBC—www.nbc.com—Click the Full Episodes option to see what series and episodes are available to stream on-demand, or click the Live option to stream live programming from the NBC television network to your computer. (The Live option is available in limited markets at the time the book is being written.)
- PBS—From the website’s main screen, click the Video option, and then click the Programs option to view episodes of popular PBS shows.
Navigate Networks’ Websites
Every popular television and cable network has its own website from which you can stream full episodes of shows that air on that network. These websites also showcase the network’s programming schedule and offer video previews, clips, and often short recaps of recent episodes.
To find the website for a specific network, follow these steps:
- Within the Search field, type the network’s name, followed by the phrase television network. For example, to find the website for the Lifetime network, type Lifetime Television Network.
Click the Search result for the network you’re looking for to access the appropriate website.
From the network’s website, click the option that allows you to watch full episodes of recently aired shows. For example, on Lifetime’s website, click the Video option and then click the Full Episodes or Full Movies option.