How to Surf Content Online. (1 Viewer)

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vcr1980

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Jul 4, 2018
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One of the most beautiful characteristics of TV viewing is the Channel Surfing.

Plop down in your chair and simply flip through channel after channel until you find something that peeks your interest, settling in to it, then immediately bailing on it the second you get the itch, and then inevitably returning back to it once you've found nothing better.

What are strategies to replicate such an approach to TV viewing when faced with Internet choices?

It would be awesome if there was a place where you could just watch trailers or commercials of TV shows. Or of course to watch live TV online.

One of the problems with netflix is that you have to CHOOSE what you want to watch without having seen a commercial for it or without having seen a few minutes from the show that one day when you were flipping. Also, when I CHOOSE something, I always feel like I have to pay attention to it as if it were a movie I am going to. TV viewing has always meant I never had to 'commit.' hehe. And don't forget about how enjoyable it is to just have TV on in the background with something kind of good on but kind of not good.

Thank you.
 
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msmith198025

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Aug 28, 2007
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Netflix does show previews for their original content on most of the platform apps that I have access to.

As for surfing, most of the OTT providers do offer some variation of the traditional tv guide that Cable/sat providers use, however there is no true channel up/down button to "surf" like those do. You can see what is on and go to that station easily enough however. I never was a surfer, so that wasnt an issue for me in making the move.

As for background tv, click a channel and leave it on. If data usage is a problem, a OTA antenna could provide the background distraction.
 

harshness

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May 5, 2007
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What are strategies to replicate such an approach to TV viewing when faced with Internet choices?
That's one of the sacrifices of OTT and to my knowledge, there's no workaround.

It gets worse quickly if you don't get all of your content from a single service.

Of the broad offering services (SlingTV, PSVue, DIRECTVNow, etc.), some allow you to create a list of favorites but I'm not sure if any of them allow you direct access to a particular channel as thus far, most seem to be avoiding direct channel addressing like the plague.
 

Zookster

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Dec 19, 2004
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"Surfing" is one of the things I like about YouTube TV. The top picks area on the home screen actually reflects my viewing habits. So when I'm just turning the TV on without a specific idea of what I'm going to watch, I get a dozen or so recommendations, including pretty much every major sporting event currently airing. I almost never use the grid guide. And the user interface makes it easy to switch back and forth between the last four things I've watched, including a recorded program. On the PC browser , I even get live motion video of all the programs showing in the top picks area so I can easily see what's still in commercial.

I've been wanting to see the first Ant-Man movie with the release of the sequel this week. And there it was, Saturday afternoon, in my top picks, currently airing on TNT. So I hit record and was able to watch the on demand version, without commercials, later that night.
 

harshness

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May 5, 2007
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Searching for titles or cruising your favorites (whether established by you or by viewing habits) is the antithesis of surfing.
 
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Zookster

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Dec 19, 2004
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Unless you don't mind flipping through scores of what I call "junk channels" (public access, shopping, foreign language, music, kids channels and other niche content you don't have any interest in), you are probably "surfing" through some version of your favorites list in the form of a customized guide anyway. I don't see the difference.

To me what YouTubeTV offers is surfing on steroids. 20 recommendations based on my viewing habits as the first thing I see when I open the app, complete with image, details, if not video (on PC and Android). I don't miss surfing in the traditional cable TV sense. But to each his/her own. For anyone who enjoys flipping through QVC, HSN, CSPAN 1, CSPAN 2, CSPAN 3, Telemundo, Televisa, Univision, Disney Jr, Disney XD, Nick Jr., Sprout, etc., I'm sure cable TV and satellite are more than happy to have you stick around.
 

vcr1980

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 4, 2018
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Surfing is something people do to find something out of their ordinary.

Being presented with a list of programming similar to what you ordinarily watch is unlikely to introduce you to anything substantially outside of your ordinary.

Think of it as what you always watch versus what you haven't watched yet.


Exactly. Another variation on this is watching something on a channel and seeing an advertisement for something else on that channel that is going to be on later in the week. Often times, a show that I never watch will feature an episode that I am interested in. I'll only watch that one episode but I never would have known about it had I not seen that specific episode advertised for. This happens all the time actually. Or, seeing an advertisement for something that I never even knew was a show.

I think Internet TV is funneling us in to silos and just because something is a scary movie, doesn't mean I'll always be interested in it. In fact, non-scary shows often have 'scary movie' type episodes within them every so often, just as an example.

And finally, the day and time will determine what I'm up for watching. After a long day of work, I want something STUPID and easy to watch even if it means less interesting. This is preferred to something that is interesting but requires greater attention.

Wow, this is getting complicated fast.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
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915
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Flipping channels has simply been replaced by new forms of browsing in the OTT live TV landscape. I mentioned the "Top Picks" at the top of my YTTV home screen, but scrolling down that screen gives me many other categories to "surf" types of shows I wouldn't normally watch, or I can select a sub-genre category below the main categories. I know the other services offer similar ways to browse. I recently found a couple of things I wouldn't have normally watched browsing the Family category. Though with cable, I would've never "flipped" through the kids channels. It's just learning a new way to do the same thing. I initially did miss the ability to flip channels when I cut the cord until I got used to the new system. Now I'd feel frustrated if I went back to cable and had to flip through "junk channels" to find something. I'd feel like I'm wasting my time compared to more "at a glance" methods of finding something new.
 
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Jhon69

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 19, 2006
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One of the most beautiful characteristics of TV viewing is the Channel Surfing.

Plop down in your chair and simply flip through channel after channel until you find something that peeks your interest, settling in to it, then immediately bailing on it the second you get the itch, and then inevitably returning back to it once you've found nothing better.

What are strategies to replicate such an approach to TV viewing when faced with Internet choices?

It would be awesome if there was a place where you could just watch trailers or commercials of TV shows. Or of course to watch live TV online.

One of the problems with netflix is that you have to CHOOSE what you want to watch without having seen a commercial for it or without having seen a few minutes from the show that one day when you were flipping. Also, when I CHOOSE something, I always feel like I have to pay attention to it as if it were a movie I am going to. TV viewing has always meant I never had to 'commit.' hehe. And don't forget about how enjoyable it is to just have TV on in the background with something kind of good on but kind of not good.

Thank you.

There are apps like you speak of online,but to be truly happy I feel you will always need a box with a remote,pay for a package and enjoy,there is no shame in that situation because you should do what makes you happy,Good Luck!
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,781
2,834
Salem, OR
Flipping channels has simply been replaced by new forms of browsing in the OTT live TV landscape.
YTTV hardly represents the "landscape" of OTT television offerings. If you want to browse something they don't carry, you have to fire up another app. This, in a word, sux.

Plex and other servers offer a modicum of aggregation but it is far from seamless.
 

Jhon69

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 19, 2006
3,472
90
Central San Joaquin Valley,CA.
YTTV hardly represents the "landscape" of OTT television offerings. If you want to browse something they don't carry, you have to fire up another app. This, in a word, sux.

Plex and other servers offer a modicum of aggregation but it is far from seamless.

This is true and that is why I have subscribed to YTTV and Philo,but what makes OTT offerings unique is the ability to get channels that are normally offered in higher priced packages,like Smithsonian and The Science Channel,also Disney XD
Those are normally channels I have found in the higher priced packages that I like so to be able to get those at a little bit cheaper cost to me is a good thing,but I know it's not for everybody.
The only way for OTT offerings to become for everyone is for everyone to be able to receive high speed internet and that is the problem.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
4,151
915
Here and Now
YTTV hardly represents the "landscape" of OTT television offerings. If you want to browse something they don't carry, you have to fire up another app. This, in a word, sux.

Plex and other servers offer a modicum of aggregation but it is far from seamless.

I was using YTTV to illustrate the different methods for browsing one's current channel offerings in an OTT live TV service versus flipping the channels in a cable/satellite system. The other OTT live TV services all have similar methods for browsing content by categories: an at-a-glance way of seeing what's available as opposed to endlessly flipping through bloat channels on a cable/sat system.

Why would YTTV or any OTT live TV service enable you to browse content for other services? Is that something Dish, Comcast, and AT&T U-verse now offer, the ability to browse content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Crackle, Crunchy Roll, etc.?
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
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Salem, OR
Why would YTTV or any OTT live TV service enable you to browse content for other services?
Because Amazon does and they don't want to be left out?
Is that something Dish, Comcast, and AT&T U-verse now offer, the ability to browse content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Crackle, Crunchy Roll, etc.?
DISH offers regular YouTube and Netflix but it isn't integrated into their guide. Comcast offers Netflix on their STBs too (again, probably not in the guide). AT&T is stuck in neutral as they figure out how to bring their own offerings into a single box.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
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Here and Now
Because Amazon does and they don't want to be left out?DISH offers regular YouTube and Netflix but it isn't integrated into their guide. Comcast offers Netflix on their STBs too (again, probably not in the guide). AT&T is stuck in neutral as they figure out how to bring their own offerings into a single box.

Though this is talking about something completely different from the thread topic (surfing/browsing content within one's set of paid linear channels), YouTube TV does offer something akin to Amazon Channels (which in fact still lacks a set of traditional linear live TV broadcast/cable channels in its offerings). YouTube TV doesn't have as many add-on subscription services as Amazon Channels currently does, but it just added two more this week, and already integrates YouTube videos and YouTube originals into its menus (something Amazon will never have as long as their pissing contest with Google/Alphabet continues). Sling announced something similar a couple of weeks ago (integrating add-on OTT subscription services). So at this point there's a better chance of having an integrated experience of various content sources (traditional linear channels with OTT subscription services) on an OTT live TV platform than with a cable/satellite TV platform.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
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Salem, OR
So at this point there's a better chance of having an integrated experience of various content sources (traditional linear channels with OTT subscription services) on an OTT live TV platform than with a cable/satellite TV platform.
This seems a reasonable conjecture but it clearly isn't there yet and potential doesn't count for much.
 
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