Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Watch Anything, Anywhere

So you've moved into your dorm and it doesn't have TV. Or you want to watch something but your roommate is currently using the TV to watch something else. Or you're stuck in the library studying during the big game. Whatever the situation, if you have a computer, tablet or smartphone, you can likely get access to the program you want to watch via your device. 

How, you may ask? Here are some methods:

1. Television Service Providers

Do you, your parents or your friends subscribe to a cable service, such as Comcast, DirectTV, dish or something else? If not, skip to method two. But if you or someone you know does pay for cable, you might be able to stream your favorite shows directly from the service provider. If your provider allows you to do this (and many of them do), all it takes is logging in to the provider's website (or app) and you'll be watching things just as though you were at home on the couch. 

2. Specific Channels' Sites and Apps

If you're trying to watch a specific program, you might be able to watch it through the broadcaster's website or app. Some broadcaster's will impose a wait period between the time a show is broadcast on TV and when it's available online, but sometimes—especially with sports programs—you might be able to watch live. Check out what's available with channels that you watch regularly, and you might be surprised to see how much they offer for streaming.

3. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu+, and Other Subscription Services

There are plenty of subscription services out there where you pay a monthly fee to have access to that site's collection of shows and movies. Netflix is one of the most-used due to the sheer volume of titles that are available, but Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu+, and other TV streaming services are gaining in popularity. Unfortunately, you'll find that most of them won't work when you travel abroad: the sites restrict access to videos to users in the United States because of possible copyright restrictions. Fortunately, you can easily get around geo-restrictions by installing a VPN, which will provide the site you want to stream from with a fake IP address, hiding your true location. 

4. YouTube

We all use YouTube to watch comedy videos or music videos or whatever else, but sometimes you can find TV shows or movies on there as well. Of course, the legality of this is often contested and YouTube usually takes these videos down when it notices them, but you might find something you're interested if you try searching for the movies you want. Just make sure you adjust your settings to only show longer videos (otherwise you'll bring up a bunch of clips). And scroll past anything with a link in the description of the video: these generally send you to illegitimate sites that prompt you to enter your credit card information. 

5. Torrents

Another way to get your fix of TV and movies—and to get videos that you can watch when you're not connected to the internet—is to download torrents. You've likely heard about torrenting and pirating before and know that there are risks involved in downloading torrents, even if the content is entirely legal. But plenty of people do it anyway. Here's another place a VPN comes in handy. Not only will it disguise your location, but it'll also encrypt the information traveling between your computer and the server you're accessing and vice versa, meaning your downloading activity is hidden from your internet service provider, university or hackers. 

If you have a computer or other device, you really can watch anything from anywhere. These are five different methods that you can use, though there are others out there, so that you can get watching all your favorite shows and programs with minimum fuss. How do you prefer to watch your programs? Are there any other methods you use? Tell us all about it in the comments! 

About the Author: Caroline Black is a freelance technology blogger for Secure Thoughts, one of the premiere internet security companies. She enjoys the freedom and flexibility that streaming shows online gives her—because no one can be home in front of the TV 24/7!


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