(picking up this series again, really)
I haven’t owned a TV since 2006.
This is not, let me rush to assure you, because I think the TV is not useful. I just haven’t owned the physical object. In 2006 I moved in with housemates who had a perfectly nice TV when I was around to watch it (that was also the year I was working full time, starting grad school again, and working on several community projects, so my free time, it was not exactly vast.)
And then I moved into a tiny little 400 square foot apartment with no convenient place to put one, and then 18 months ago, moved across the country (when I got rid of anything I didn’t absolutely love enough to move that far.)
These days, however, I do watch a fair bit of visual media – TV series, movies, random other things. And I do it entirely on my computer, as I have since 2006. Mostly, I do this while I’m knitting, and very long series work wonderfully for this – two episodes of whatever are about as long as I want to spend knitting most evenings, and that’ll get me 8-10 rows further in my current blanket project.
(I just finished watching The West Wing, which I’d seen about the first half of around when it aired, but where the last two seasons were entirely new. It’s aged remarkably well as a show, given that it’s ten years old.)
Netflix: I watch a great deal of streaming media on Netflix these days. (I do a lot of knitting, and I watch things while my hands are busy.)
There are things that frustrate me about Netflix – I would desperately love a way to organise my instant list so that I could browse by type of item easily (TV series vs. single movie vs. documentary). Or a place to archive things I’ve seen, probably will want to watch again, but would rather not have cluttering up my list (which is about 200 items long) in the meantime. I mostly solve this by bookmarking the page for things I know I want to come back to eventually, to make it easier to start playing.
For things that are airing right now
I use a combination of Hulu (for things I don’t want to buy, and don’t mind a time delay on) and iTunes (for things I do want to keep), which works fairly well as long as you don’t mind not seeing some things as they come out.
Some shows I watch – Veronica Mars, for example – have archives on their respective station websites. I find these the most frustrating, personally, because I can’t keep easy track of which one I’ve seen, or remember that I took a break from X but wanted to come back to it.
My technology wishes
I suspect I am not alone in wanting better organizational tools for Netflix. Or even in wanting a third party application that would let me bookmark or otherwise link all the stuff I want to watch, and then make it easy for me to remember where it was. A place that would let me browse all the “very long-running British mystery” things I’d marked, or make a tag for ‘good knitting watching’ or whatever. (One of the reasons I like long-running mystery series for knitting is that mostly I don’t need to watch the screen, but they’re very good about indicating via music and sound cues when I should. There are other series I love, but where I need to be looking at the screen a lot more, and so they’re only good for knitting I don’t have to look at much.)