For many Americans, the art of enjoyment and entertainment is best found online. Whereas in the past we were limited to what was on TV, the on-demand era is now well and truly upon us. This is one of the most important parts of modern internet usage, offering us total freedom over what we watch, view and read – and when. However, with so many different streaming services to pick from, you might be unsure of where to even start.
If you feel like this is the case, then we have some solutions for you to consider. Take, for example, the below streaming services. These are seen as some of the best on the internet and should really ramp up your entertainment options.
We’re sure just about everyone in the country has at least heard of Netflix. The popular streaming system is the go-to starting point for many people looking to find top quality entertainment. It’s got hundreds of shows and many Netflix exclusives. From finding awesome cartoons for the kids to a horror flick to watch on Halloween, this is a streaming service that you can love using.
However, you should be aware that Netflix loves to eat up your bandwidth. Like any good streaming service, you should be using high-speed internet to help make sure you can enjoy a good quality watching session. Also, keep an eye on problems with your bandwidth – if you start to notice needless buffering, you might be getting throttled by your internet provider. If that happens, you might want to consider enjoying Netflix on a new form of internet provider for the best results.
While most of us will use Amazon for shopping, some of us use it for streaming – especially movies. It’s quite a lot like Netflix, with some of the most popular and well-watched shoes on the internet appearing on it. Amazon Prime is growing all the time and shows no signs of slowing down. New content is added all the time, bringing in even more opportunity to enjoy the wider experience. You might soon find that Amazon Prime has a larger catalog to pick from than Netflix.
Given who backs up this amazing streaming service, it’s size and scale should be of surprise to nobody. It’s growing all the time at an incredible rate and shows no signs of slowing down. With so much to view and so much to enjoy, Amazon Prime Instant Video is probably one of the most upwardly mobile streaming services that you can access right now.
For a large chunk of Americans, sport dominates much of their social lives. Being able to cheer on your beloved teams at the sport of your choice is always a hugely enjoyable pursuit. However, for many of us, choosing the right way to watch them can be tough. One of the best streaming sites for sports fans at the moment is to use ESPN+, where you can get a huge amount of content to pick from.
There is a growing amount of live and replayable matches that you can watch from just about any kind of sport that you love. Most of us have a team in one of the big US sports, and you should be able to catch them on ESPN without a huge deal of issue. This is a site with a huge amount of content, and it looks set to become even bigger as American sports fans continue to be open-minded about new sports to watch.
FUBO TV is getting a lot of positivity from sports fans who love their sports from other continents. If you are a soccer fan, for example, you’ll love to have FUBO TV – it’s much more diverse than the ESPN+ offering. They cover major leagues in soccer like Serie A, Ligue 1 and La Liga. They also cover a lot of other sports, like the MotoGP and also various other college sports. This is why, for sports fans, FUBO TV is the best alternative to using ESPN+.
Though both are very much well-respected options, many fans are turning to FUBO TV as it has a touch more variety. With the easy control of the packaged add-ons, too, you can pick and choose what you went, when you want it, making it super-simple to get affordable, on-demand sports TV.
Though very much the outsider in many ways, Sling TV is hugely popular with a lot of users. It’s an ambitious project that has grown very quickly in terms of its size and scale in the last few years. With very cheap live TV packages, they allow you to get a lot of variety in what you watch. The fact that it comes with so much opportunity to change contracts, and it has no long-term commitment, makes this a common choice for those who don’t wish to be weighed down with contracts and other such headaches.
Streaming services such as Sling TV are growing all the time. Like most other streaming services like this, too, it does offer a decent trial experience that you can give a shot. With the affordable nature of its live TV offerings, though, those who still like to watch TV on a schedule will love Sling TV for sure.
Getting the most out of each streaming service
Of course, you should always look to make sure that your streaming service is backed up with high-speed internet. Through companies like Easy Internet Now, you can dodge the bandwidth throttling, buffering-causing internet issues that so many Americans face. This is the perfect way for you to get online and to enjoy modern entertainment without feeling trapped or constrained.
With the fact they reduce the need for things like credit checks and contracts, too, EIN is a fine place to start for those who like to stream. High-speed internet is very important for everything from watching your favorite shows to streaming your most beloved games. Quality counts, so don’t accept second best!
When using the internet, one of the most frustrating problems that you can run into is a poor-quality internet service. You are working away, enjoying your evening streaming, gaming or just reading cool content. You start to notice, though, that your internet starts to produce less and less consistency in its results. Your favorite TV show starts to lag uncontrollably. You start missing clear headshots online in your favorite first-person shooter. Next thing you know, you’re respawning because someone you never have seen coming has popped you in the back of the head.
Sound common? Welcome to the horrible world of bandwidth throttling. If you use an internet service that provides bandwidth throttling, you should really consider an alternative. The prospect of bandwidth throttling can seem horribly draconian. It is, though, a problem that many Americans put up with day-in, day-out. What, though, is ‘bandwidth throttling’ in the first place?
What is bandwidth throttling?
The concept of bandwidth throttling is one designed to limit, basically. It’s an intentional, purposeful slowing down of the amount of bandwidth that you can get access to. It’s used for many purposes, none of them helpful to you, the customer, in any way. It’s a form of speed lowering used by internet service providers that stops your internet speed from reaching its peak potential.
Bandwidth throttling can happen on desktop and mobile devices, across wired connections or wireless via Wi-Fi. It can happen at various points during the connection process from your PC/mobile device to the website or online service that you are using (like an online game or streaming platform).
It’s a system that is used that, really, never benefits you as a consumer. Paying for high-speed internet that does produce consistently high speeds is a massive frustration. It means that you literally cannot access the information that you wish to access as quickly as you could or should.
So, why does bandwidth throttling happen?
As is often the case, the company who offers your internet supply is the clear winner here. They manage to get a lot out of reducing our bandwidth allocation. Doing this at certain periods of time during the day – often the time that you need/want good connectivity the most – helps to reduce server loads. It means that the company is having to invest fewer resources in processing data. The less data you can process at speed, the less they have to process on their end.
This allows the company to have to spend less on servers but also on equipment to manage the internet at the speed you need. Another reason why bandwidth throttling takes place is a lot less wholesome – it’s purely down to cost. If they hit you with a frustrating, evening-ruining throttled speed, you might just upgrade to the next package up – the one that promises less or no throttling.
Those who are using the internet professionally or for most of their entertainment, then, are essentially bullied into paying even more than they should. It’s a common part of the market and a rather unfair practice. It’s become part of the process, and one of the many reasons why US internet service users are watching their monthly costs for the internet go higher, higher and higher. This, naturally, produces negative results long-term.
Why else might my bandwidth get throttled?
Another reason why you might have the frustration of bandwidth throttling is the fact that you are using a service the ISP does not like. This happens when you are picking up data from a platform that the ISP would rather you did not use. Many of these are somewhat legitimate reasons, such as stopping you from using excessive internet speed to download torrents via a peer-to-peer file sharing platform. It will also be used to help reduce the amount of time that you can spend on things like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The solution, of course, is to simply spend more. If you want access to the best things that the internet might be able to offer you, you will have to pay a premium fee to your internet provider in terms of going with a higher rate of an internet service contract.
But I thought my internet plan was unlimited?
Sadly, unlimited has become a term of meaningless usage when it comes to an internet service. Many ISPs manage to fit in unwritten rules regarding how much of the internet you can use on that one given day. Artificial limits – which are never made clear – can really impact and inhibit how much you can get out of your day when using the internet.
This is a common frustration. Bandwidth caps are often in the smallest of small print, or not mentioned at all. That can mean that you often see your internet usage throttled and weakened, ruining any potential plans for the evening. At this point, you have two options. You can pay even more for high-speed internet that you should already be getting. Or, you look for an alternative supplier of your internet service. If you cannot find a way to reduce bandwidth throttling with your present plan, it’s time to consider the latter.
Get an internet service who respects your decisions
You have no reason to put up with bandwidth throttling. At Easy Internet Now, you can find a high-speed internet provider who avoids any form of bandwidth throttling. For the reasons that we’ve explained above, you can see why it’s such an unscrupulous, unfair experience. Why should you be punished so heavily?
Don’t allow yourself to be taken for a fool. With an internet service which prioritizes consistency, you can enjoy a far more robust, enjoyable internet experience day-to-day. Don’t put up with second best, and never accept bandwidth throttling. With so many alternate internet providers who make it easy to avoid such practices, you can stay clear of this frustration. If you are someone who wants to help improve their internet usage, you should start here.
Do you watch a lot of YouTube? If you have a lot of subscriptions or find yourself going down a rabbit hole on a regular basis, you may be spending more time on the service than you really should. YouTube will now make it possible for you to limit yourself and take breaks from streaming videos through their service.
YouTube is now introducing their feature that will encourage watchers to “take a break,” says Android Authority. The newly updated version of YouTube is adding settings that let users customize how long they watch. In the “General” section of the YouTube app’s settings, users who have updated the app will find an option called “Remind me to take a break.” Using this setting will prompt YouTube to send out reminders after a certain length of time. These reminders can be dismissed and won’t actually lock watchers out of the app. But they will let people get an idea of how long they’ve been watching and then choose to pause for a while.
With this setting, users can decide how long they can watch before being prompted to stop streaming. There are six options to choose from, including “Never” as the shortest time and “”Every 180 minutes” as the longer time. There are also more moderate options like “Every 60 minutes.” If you’re really wanting to cut back on your watching, you can even pick “Every 15 minutes,” though I don’t know many people who can really stop themselves after just 15 minutes.
There are plenty of really great videos and channels on YouTube, and of course it’s not necessary to stop watching altogether. But some people can find it hard to stop bingeing videos, which means it can be really helpful to get some reminders to stop wasting so much time. Since they’re just reminders and they don’t actually lock the app, the main concern is that YouTube binge watchers will simply get in the habit of dismissing the notification periodically. But there are other apps that can do this if necessary, and YouTube’s approach will be a much gentler one for those who just need a little bit of a push.
The update is being rolled out now, according to Android Authority. Look for this new feature in your app’s settings after you’ve updated.
Hulu and Spotify, streaming services that have begun offering bundles of their two services, have both revealed how many subscribers they have.
Hulu, the popular video streaming service, announced on Wednesday that they had more than 20 million subscribers, according to CNN Money. These numbers aren’t as high as Netflix’s, as CNN Money notes that Netflix has about 55 million subscribers in the United States. But the numbers still suggest Hulu is a decent competitor when it comes to the video streaming game.
They could also potentially gain more subscribers, as well, as some announced changes certainly seem enticing. Hulu, like Netflix, already has some of their own original programming (like the popular Handmaid’s Tale). Until now, though, Netflix offered something Hulu didn’t: offline watching. Hulu now plans to make content available to download and watch offline, says CNN Money. The content would still play with ads, but an internet connection wouldn’t be necessary.
Spotify announced their own numbers on Thursday. Spotify is a popular music streaming service that offers paid and free accounts. According to TechSpot, Spotify now has 75 million paid subscribers to their service, and the number of people who use the service every month is also huge: 170 million. And as TechSpot also mentions, Spotify’s 75 million paid subscribers is far above Apple Music’s 40 million. This only further cements Spotify as the major competitor in the music streaming arena.
Hulu and Spotify both offer their own separate subscriptions, but over the past months they’ve begun offering bundles, as well. Last year they began offering a student plan that bundled the two services for only $4.99 a month. And just last month, a bundle was announced for everyone else that would offer both services for just $12.99, which is higher than the student price but still a significantly less expensive option.
Chrome has been making changes to how ads are displayed in the browser for some time now. In the most recent update of Google’s browser, some autoplay videos will now be blocked, while others will be allowed automatically.
In a blog post, Google outlines how the new autoplay video update works. Now Chrome will learn your preferences when it comes to videos that autoplay with sound. Using your browsing history, Chrome will start enabling or disabling autoplay videos with sound. If you typically choose to play videos on certain websites, Chrome will allow autoplay videos to run with sound. If you typically don’t watch the videos on a site, Chrome will start disabling their autoplay videos with sound.
Even if you don’t have a browsing history, the blog post says, certain sites will have their autoplay videos enabled or disabled as you start building your history. Whichever sites have the most people clicking to play videos with sound will automatically be enabled for you until the browser learns that you don’t want videos played on those sites.
This update comes after Google has already implemented many other ways to avoid certain ads and mute sites that autoplay ads with sound. In February, Chrome’s ad blocking system went live. Their ad blocking is meant to start automatically blocking certain ads that don’t meet their standards. And in January, Chrome introduced a way to permanently mute sites instead of just temporarily muting them while the tab was open.
All of these changes mean Chrome should soon become the browser to use if you specifically want to avoid annoying ads and autoplay videos (especially if you don’t want to deal with browser add-ons). In their blog post, Google notes that their new autoplay video blocking system will block “about half” of the autoplay videos that users want to avoid. Though not a full block of autoplay videos, it should cut down significantly on the annoyance of sound suddenly blasting from your device.
If you use Windows 10, you can now find iTunes in the Microsoft Store.
According to Ars Technica, iTunes is now available to Windows 10 users in the Microsoft Store. Ars Technica notes that bringing iTunes to the Microsoft Store was actually supposed to happen by the end of 2017, making its addition now a bit late. But it seems to be a welcome addition.
The program still works the same way as iTunes does if you download it straight from Apple, says Ars Technica, but they also note downloading from the Microsoft Store has some advantages. In particular, you won’t get prompts asking you to download other Apple products, plus it won’t install things that run in the background (which can seriously bog down a computer).
iTunes was previously available for Windows and MacOS. This means it was likely already accessible to many people who can find it in the Microsoft Store now. But there were also some people who now have access who didn’t before: those using Windows 10 S devices. Windows 10 S devices can only install programs from the Microsoft Store, so these users can now download iTunes. This is useful since iTunes is still a hugely popular service. It’s not just a music service, either; you can download music, movies, shows, podcasts, and more.
The Microsoft Store previously already offered other popular music programs. You could already find the streaming services Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and more. So if you’re simply interested in streaming and you have an account with any of these services, the addition of iTunes may not excite you much.
But if you specifically enjoy iTunes and like having a way to organize your media and access more than just music, this new platform may be good news for you. You can find iTunes in the Microsoft Store right now.
If you’re a Prime subscriber, take note: your yearly cost will soon go up.
Amazon’s new price jump for their Prime service isn’t particularly small, either: an annual subscription is soon going to be $119 instead of the current $99, says Variety. That’s $20 more than before, which is about a 20% increase.
Amazon Prime has a large number of subscribers. Digital Trends reported earlier this month that Amazon had revealed how many people subscribed to the service. At the time, it was reported that there were over a hundred million subscribers across the world.
Prime likely draws in so many people because it has features that appeal to many different interests. With Prime, you can get free two-day shipping on all Prime-eligible offers. You can also watch a great deal of TV shows and movies for free. This includes some Prime-exclusive shows, like their popular shows Sneaky Pete and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. You can also stream music and rent e-books. Plus you have access to things like Prime Pantry (where you can have household items and groceries sent to you), Amazon Fresh (grocery delivery in select areas), and photo storage in the cloud.
It’s unclear if Prime’s price hike will cause some subscribers to skip renewing in the future. It is a significant price increase, but Prime membership can also become embedded in peoples’ lives because of how many different things are offered.
If you’re considering subscribing for the first time, you have until May 11 to sign up at the current $99 fee, says Variety. They also explain that for current subscribers, rates won’t increase until June 16. So if you’re trying to decide whether to renew your membership or create a new one, you still have a little bit of time to decide before the price jumps.
Netflix is now giving their app users a chance to preview shows before watching.
The Netflix app now has what they’re calling mobile previews, Fortune reports. These mobile previews will seem like a familiar feature if you use an app that has Stories (like Snapchat). The previews appear at the top of the app and can be clicked through one after another. You can even go straight to the content from a preview if you see something you like.
According to Fortune, most of the previews are around 30 seconds long. You also don’t have to turn your screen to watch them because they’re vertical videos instead of horizontal.
If you watch on your gaming console or laptop, you’ve likely already seen their auto-playing trailers. These trailers promote content, sometimes showing previews of shows you may not have seen, other times showing a preview of the content you currently have selected. They have also been quite an annoyance for many people. There have been consistent complaints about how the auto-playing videos can’t be disabled, meaning if you stay on one screen for too long while browsing for what to watch, you have to either click away, open content and pause it, mute your TV, or find some other creative way to stop the videos from playing.
Fortunately, the previews now added to the Netflix app are something quite different. They don’t auto-play, which is surely a relief to Netflix app users who don’t want to have previews blasting through their headphones as soon as the app opens. And they appear to be a genuinely useful way to find out about more content you might actually like, particularly since you can tap a preview that’s playing to skip it and move on to something more relevant.
Mobile previews are already available on iOS devices, says Fortune, and Android users can expect the feature to arrive “soon.”
Music and TV lovers, good news! You can now bundle Hulu and Spotify and save some money.
Currently only available to Spotify Premium subscribers, you can currently try Hulu for only 99 cents a month, says TechCrunch, and after this three month trial, you will be able to get both Hulu and Spotify for a combined total of only $12.99. This saves about 5 dollars a month on the popular streaming services.
The bundled Hulu subscription will be the version of Hulu with ads, but this is still a great deal and good news for people who already use one or both of the services anyway. And if you don’t currently use either one, this summer you’ll get a chance to start trying them both for quite a bit less than before.
A Spotify and Hulu bundle is certainly not a new concept. As I wrote last year, the Spotify Student Hulu Bundle became available for students. This bundle gives students both Spotify and Hulu (with ads) for only $4.99 a month and is available right now. Students simply have to follow the verification process to prove they’re currently enrolled in an institution.
Of course, $12.99 is a bit more than what students pay. But it still saves a decent amount of money. According to TechCrunch, the deal will be available to everyone in the summer. For now, if you have Spotify Premium, you can head to their page and add Hulu for an additional 99 cents during your three-month trial.
And for those of you using Hulu, there’s even more good news: for a limited time, you can add HBO to your subscription for only $5 a month. CNET reports that the add-on, which is usually $15 a month, is currently available at a huge discount. If you sign up for HBO during this promotion, you’ll get the $5 a month price for six months before it goes back to the normal $15 a month.
Podcasts may not be a new discovery or some secret section of the internet. But in past years, podcasts stopped being discussed quite as often as they had been before. This has led some to believe they’ve mostly stopped being made and that there aren’t really any worthwhile podcasts out there.
While the format certainly isn’t new, there are some new (or new-ish) podcasts in existence that are quite different from what you might expect. And there are some podcasts still going strong for a decade or more. When someone mentions podcasts these days, some people think they’re talking about podcasts made up of political discussions and news stories. But there’s much more out there to subscribe to and enjoy.
What’s so great about podcasts?
Podcasts might not be quite as widely discussed or followed as they were not too long ago. But there are a lot of reasons to download or stream some podcasts. Here are a few things that are great about podcasts:
- They can cover a wide variety of topics and be made in a number of different formats
- You can find fun, interesting, or highly knowledgable hosts
- You can listen to new content regularly (sometimes monthly, often weekly)
- You can subscribe using music platforms you probably already use (like iTunes and Spotify)
- There’s a lot to choose from because creators have so many outlets
- You can listen to your podcasts during trips and your work commute
- You can listen on many different devices, including smartphones, computers, and smart speakers
Where can you find podcasts?
There are a number of places to find new podcasts you may want to listen to. Here are just a few suggestions:
- iTunes: Podcasts have been available on iTunes for many years now.
- Spotify: Spotify listeners can stream quite a few podcasts and scroll through the podcasts they’re currently following.
- Listen Notes: This website is a search engine devoted specifically to finding podcasts.
- Stitcher: This site hosts many different podcasts (some of which you’ll see below).
Before you listen to these podcasts…
Keep in mind that the podcasts listed in this article may include some mature content. We can’t guarantee that they’ll be safe for work or that the content will always be clean or inoffensive. Always make sure to visit a podcast’s page and read its description before subscribing!
10 interesting podcasts
The following podcasts are all fairly different from one another. Take a look at each one to learn a little more about it, then click the podcast’s link to find out more!
Answer Me This
Answer Me This is a comedy podcast devoted to answering odd or interesting questions. Each episode description features a long list of topics discussed in the podcast (like “goldfish as gifts” and “Dothraki grammar”). Episode descriptions also feature a suggestion of how mature that specific episode’s content is (though the tone here is humorous just like everything else on the podcast). Episodes are bi-weekly.
This podcast taps into peoples’ interest in true stories about shocking and compelling crimes. It attempts to actually look deeper into an understanding of the crimes instead of simply describing what happened. It’s been going for several years and puts out two episodes each month. Episodes feature a variety of different types of crimes. Some recent episode titles include “Willie Bosket,” “Secrets and Séances,” “A Bump in the Night,” and “Vanish.”
Hello from the Magic Tavern
Hello from the Magic Tavern is a comedy podcast that features the fictional Arnie, a man from our world who accidentally fell into another world (through a portal behind a Burger King) and ended up in a place called Foon. Arnie hosts each podcast in the Vermillion Minotaur, his new land’s local tavern, and he includes co-hosts (a wizard and a talking badger). He typically brings people of interest from the land of Foon onto the show and interviews them. This podcast has been running for several years and will appeal to both comedy and fantasy fans.
How Did This Get Made?
This podcast features funny conversations about bad films. The hosts (including Paul Scheer), based on recommendations, watch bad movies with their guests and then discuss them. Some past guests have included Patton Oswalt, James Franco, Seth Rogen, John Mulaney, Anna Faris, Kevin Smith, and many more. New episodes come out every other week.
Important If True
Important If True is a somewhat new podcast (which started last year). The hosts discuss various interesting topics and do it with a sense of humor. They often talk about future technology, science, and life in general. They often go off on tangents describing funny imagined scenarios, and it’s never a boring or dry discussion. Some episode titles include “Alexa, Destroy Me,” “The Terrible Power of Knowledge,” and “Untethered From Reality.” It’s posted weekly (though at the time of writing this article, episodes may be released less frequently).
Stuff You Missed in History Class
This podcast is from How Stuff Works. It features interesting historical topics that you probably didn’t learn about and that will catch your interest. Some recent podcasts are titled “Ignaz Semmelweis and the War on Handwashing” and “Hawaii’s Legend of the Menehune.” Podcasts can be sorted and looked through by topic or by the century the information is set in.
Stuff You Should Know
This is another podcast brought to you by How Stuff Works. The concept of this podcast is that there are a lot of things you might not know about, including some basic information. Each podcast covers a different subject you could benefit from knowing more about. There are podcasts focused on topics like landmines, the evolution of language, trickle down economics, hoarding, crime scene cleanup, and much more. You can sort and look through podcasts by topic.
They Walk Among Us
This podcast is not for the faint of heart. True crime shows are highly popular entertainment these days, and this podcast fits the bill. They Walk Among Us is a true crime podcast that features real events set in the UK. They have episodes on subjects like “Wearside Jack,” Alan Turing, missing persons, and more.
Thrilling Adventure Hour
This now-ended podcast is set like an old radio program. It features fictional stories read by the cast in front of an actual audience. There’s music, humor, and some interesting tales. It ended a couple of years ago, but the good news is you can still listen to the old recordings, and they’re worth going back to listen to even knowing there’s not more to come. Since they were created to have an old-timey feel anyway, it doesn’t matter that the episodes are a few years old.
You Must Remember This
This podcast is a work of creative nonfiction that features the host (Karina Longworth) telling true stories set in Hollywood during the classic era. Each episode is carefully researched, put together, and hosted by Longworth. There have been stories about Bela Lugosi, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Charles Manson’s connections to Hollywood, and much more. It’s currently on break, and the new season is scheduled to begin this July. In the meantime, you can listen to previous episodes in the show’s archive.