These New Ways To Watch TV Will Change Your Life

Just like there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, there’s also no wrong way to watch television. But, with more than 30 new shows heading your way this fall (in addition to all the shows on your binge-watch list), how can you possibly see them all? Have no fear: Your TV-watching solutions are here.
You’ve got a busy schedule and hanging out on the couch night after night just isn’t in the cards. Use this guide to watch smarter, not harder — this guide has everything from technical advice about maximizing your DVR’s potential to how to avoid spoilers (yes, it can be done). Amateur hour is officially over: You are now watching with the best.
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Beware the live-tweet; or, how to avoid spoilers (for real).
The debate around the statute of limitations for spoilers rages on, so it’s best to take matters into your own hands to avoid them. Shows like Scandal, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, and Pretty Little Liars have a devoted live-tweeting audience. If you plan to watch the show after it airs, or live in a different time zone, avoid going on Twitter or mute the hashtag and name of the show until it’s over.

You can also use Spoiler Foiler, an app Netflix created that will block potentially spoiler-y material for Breaking Bad and House of Cards on Facebook and Twitter. Spoiler Shield will do the same thing for over 50 shows and sporting events. You can also install the Chrome extension Silencer to mute people, hashtags, terms, and phrases.

If you truly want to avoid spoilers, stay offline until you can watch the show in question. And, when talking to people who might have already watched, preface your conversation with, “By the way, I haven’t had a chance to watch last night’s [insert show title here] yet, so please don’t say anything about it.” This very simple declaration can go a long way in preserving your friendship.
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Cut down on browsing time.
The Onion has a hilarious video called “Netflix Introduces New Browse Endlessly Plan,” which pretty much sums up how many of us end up passing time on the ‘Flix. Luckily, we can help you break that trend.

Not sure what you want to watch? Sites like Instant Watcher, A Better Queue, and All Flicks, along with browser extensions like Netflix Enhancer provide recommendations based on user feedback, critical reviews, and trailers.

If you have a specific TV show or movie in mind, use Can I Stream It? to find out where you can stream, buy, or rent it.

Finally, did you know we have several recurring features devoted to this exact topic?
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If you love something, other people probably love it, too.
In the old days, TV watching existed in a vacuum. Critics usually wrote a review of a new show in advance, and that was it in terms of media coverage. Sure, people would chat about episodes with coworkers around the water cooler (yes, that actually happened), but it felt very limited.

With the advent of the Internet and social media, the water cooler moved online, and the discussion groups grew infinitely bigger, the criticism much smarter, and the reviews more frequent. Find a reviewer whose voice resonates with you, or a Tumblr, Twitter hashtag, Facebook group, or subreddit that closely follows the show for a truly immersive — and informative — experience.

And, don’t forget the all-important live-tweet. For awards shows, sporting events, and Scandal, get thee to Twitter.
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You want to record more programs in a given timeslot than your DVR allows.
Most standard DVRs only let you record two programs at a time. If there happens to be more than two shows in a given time slot you want to record and watch, check to see if one of them has an encore presentation. Many cable channels like Comedy Central, MTV, and ABC Family re-air new primetime episodes again throughout the night and day after they first air. Set your DVR to record that showing, then watch/record the other two shows during their first and only broadcast.

Alternatively, if you have Hulu Plus or one of the better on-demand packages, some networks post new episodes as soon as the next day.
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Put down your phone and computer.
I like to think I’m a multitasking champion, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cued up an episode of a show that demands attention (like Breaking Bad), then started looking through Instagram or doing something on my computer. Fifteen minutes later, I look up and realize I have no idea what’s happening on the show. It sounds a bit pathetic (and maybe a little obvious), but give shows all of your attention, and that way you won’t have to rewind or rewatch.
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Invest in a Chromecast or Roku.
For around $40, you never have to watch another Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube video on your computer or phone again. If you’re also a gamer, go for a PS3, XBox 360, or other video-streaming compatible platform. There’s even a fun Netflix hack involving the Konami code. You deserve large-screen viewing.
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Learn the fine art of TV arbitrage. Select a channel currently airing something you want to watch before queuing up a program you’ve DVR’ed. That way, when you’re finished, you can rewind and watch the other show commercial-free. What are you going to do with all your free time, young grasshopper?
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Have a guilty pleasure and always keep at least one episode of it saved.
True confession: I’ve had three episodes of True Detective sitting on my DVR for months because I’m just never in the mood to watch something that serious these days. The episodes of Rick and Morty I set to record, on the other hand, provide a constant bit of levity when I need it most. Until the Times starts detailing what’s on people’s DVRs in their Sunday Routine column, no one will judge what you’ve got saved on there.
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Don’t expect to glean anything from the “next week on Mad Men” scenes.
They are one of life’s greatest mysteries. Even Matthew Weiner is reduced to Jon Snow-levels of know-nothingness when they air.

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