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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

How to make the most of your TV and music streaming services

Feb 27, 2023 10:53AM ● By Adam Cochran

Every teacher, student, parent and most grandparents are about to enter what is referred to in education as “The February Doldrums.” The holidays are over, there’s a gap in sports, the weather is cold, and Top 40 radio only plays break-up songs (that’s just my opinion). As a result, the whole world slows down because our kids are in emotional hibernation. 

As much as I would love to tell you that technology has the solution, it doesn’t. However, how we use technology can give us just enough energy to remember that spring is less than two months away. We can fight the doldrums by shifting the media and messages we consume in our vegetative off-hours.

There is a world beyond scrolling through the dissipating variety of movies on Netflix or mindlessly flicking through our social media feeds. Streaming media is the access to entertainment we dreamed of as kids. Here’s how to make the most of it:

Go beyond your Smart TV. 

Some low-end TVs have Roku built in. But for everyone else, I suggest investing in a Roku box. These small devices cost $20-$100 but will open up the number of free and premium streaming options significantly.

Unlike Apple, Google, Amazon or your smart TV’s built-in options, Roku gets along with all other streaming services, and there are a variety of developers that offer streaming content on Roku that isn’t available anywhere else. Much of it is free.

Rotate through services. 

Streaming services don’t require you to sign a contract, and you can easily cancel and resubscribe with a simple toggle switch. 

I like to rotate through services. I am currently subscribing to Peacock and Discovery Plus. In the spring, I will likely cancel either or both and subscribe to Paramount Plus or Criterion Channel. There is no reason to stack up multiple subscriptions for content you don’t have time to watch. 

You may be eligible for a free account. 

Cell phone carriers, Walmart, credit cards and many other companies use streaming services as a perk. Walmart+ subscribers get Paramount Plus for free. T-Mobile users get free Netflix, and AT&T subscribers get free HBO Max with some plans. Some services even give major discounts to students.

Don’t forget music. 

I’ve always found it interesting that people will pay $15 per month for Hulu without commercials, but they won’t spend $5-$10 per month on a music streaming service. I can only watch so much TV, but I can stream music almost anywhere.

Music is portable and, unlike video streaming services, I can find almost any song or artist that I am in the mood for. If a person has eclectic music tastes and a vast collection of albums, a music subscription service is more essential than owning a TV, not to mention paying for any particular streaming video service.

Some people argue that streaming music isn’t as high of quality as CDs or albums. Generally, these people are just being pretentious. The music on streaming services will sound as good as your device will allow it to sound.

Watch or listen to something new. 

New content is being produced and released faster than we can possibly discover it. Don’t feel compelled to watch what everyone else is watching. Try watching a Korean horror movie or an Australian home renovation reality show. 

There’s also no penalty for starting with episode six of season four and watching 10 minutes of a show you’ve never seen just so you can decide whether to start from the beginning. There are no rules. 

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