Life Audit: Your TV watching.
I love it when people ask me if I've seen the latest show, this commercial or that news report. It gives me a great chance to say "I don't have cable". Which makes me feel religiously superior.
You'll notice that I don't say "I don't have tv", because well, I do. I just can't stand paying, and subscribing, to watch a million commercials. So I share my viewing habits here, along with options and possibilities... which I hope inspires you to be a healthier tv viewer.
It goes something like this:
Netflix. $7.99/month for two screens at a time. Good for "Friends", "West Wing", "Doc Martin", "Honorable Woman", "White Collar", "Top Gear", "Luther", "Breaking Bad" etc. There is a lot of choice. Netflix also works really well with just about every device - they really have managed to make that easy. Hint: You get the best Netflix quality if you watch it on an Apple TV. The two companies have worked out some great protocols. As with all tv... there are good and bad shows. Good and bad things in each show. Choose wisely, and perhaps less over often, and you'll have some fun (but probably unproductive) downtime.
Hulu. $11.99/month commercial free! Only recently has Hulu been a choice for me (though I do not currently subscribe) as they introduced a commercial free option for an increase of $4/month. I totally recommend this option. It's a very small price to pay to keep commercials away from you and your family. Good for "Modern Family", "The Daily Show" and a whole host of the more recent shows, which are not available on Netflix etc. It also has a free option, again with commercials - and too many "less than good" Saturday Night Live sketches.
Amazon Prime $99/year ($49/year for students). If you are already using this service for the "free" 2 day delivery, then you have this already. Download the app to your mobile device (or xbox, roku etc) and you are good to go. No commercials, and some good content I can't find elsewhere - "Downton Abby", "Newsroom" etc. Prime also comes with a Kindle lending library and a music service.
CBS.com $5.99/month or free. This is free if you watch recent shows, or $5.99/month for their back catalogue or to watch the channel live. Either way you will have commercials, but I include it here as they have a number of fan favorites, "Big Bang Theory", "Stephen Colbert", "Survivor" and this years Super Bowl that are not part of Hulu. CBS has opted out of that site.
NBCSports.com free. I include this because they carry the English Premier League soccer! (You will have to endure a rather long commercial for every couple of minutes viewing). This is where I personally go to watch the highlights. And sports fans might also enjoy tennis, as each of the Grand Slams often have free, and good quality, live viewing on-line.
Youtube Red $9.99/month or free. Yes, you can view Youtube commercial free. It's called Youtube Red, and for the price also includes google's streaming music plan. Good for home made "how to video's" on just about everything. I watch it for a lot of current event types of BBC content - "Would I Lie To You", "Mock The Week" "HIGNFY", "QI"etc. And plane landings and take off's - yep, I'm that sort of nerd. There is also a lot of religious video, and your Christian favorites are probably somewhere to be found on youtube too.
TED free. If you have not heard of TED, then stop what you are doing and go check it out! If you have heard of TED but have forgotten to use it in a while, then go back and get inspired! Either way it has incredibly inspiring (secular) content. There are hundreds and hundreds of presentations that talk about how to make the world a better place, or how someone already has. If you are a pastor, or presenter of any kind, then take notes on how information is shared here - you'll be a better preacher for it.
Lynda.com $$$/month or year. So many courses on how to better use technology and software. It costs a bit, but I couldn't do what I do here without it. If you can use this, it's worth knowing about. There are various pricing points for various levels of use.
Khan Academy. For free. For everyone. Forever - as they say. It all started with math, taking you from 1+1 to some of the most complex algebra and beyond. It has since diversified to include biology, art history, exploring Mars, and computer programing etc. It's used in the classroom, and can add to your own body of knowledge.
Even though in recent years the production values, and in some cases the content, has vastly improved in Christian film and television, I still find it so hard to watch. Which is why this site exists really - I hope one day to create something that connects with people like me on this topic. But... I will include some content here that I hope helps.
Amazing Facts - lot's of production values that are a bit cringe worthy. As hard as they try it still feels 15+ years behind. But their content can be very helpful if you are looking for info on prophecy and Bible study. They also make up in quantity what they lack in quality.
Nooma - A bit old now, but way ahead of its time when it first started appearing. This is Rob Bell before he got ridiculously christian famous. What you used to pay for you now get free.
Adventist Church TV - they are so close to doing it right! Still very "Christian tv" (lol), but if you like Cliff! (forgive the open sequence, but after that the dude is so Bible cool!), you'll get some proper Bible content here. You can also link to the Hope Channel in various languages here too.
LLBN - Some of this I find unbearable! But it's the home of Randy Roberts who is definitely ok! For a more progressive Christian center, I keep hoping their packaging will improve, but there are some gems to be found here.
It Is Written - John Bradshaw is awesome! Probably better live than in this tv format, but that is not always possible! You can watch an upbeat presenter presenting stuff you've likely heard before, but are open to hearing again.
Central California Conference - This is my home umbrella organization and is on it's way to providing good content, in an easy to navigate, beautiful format. Still some way to go, but because I see this up close and personal, I know they are headed in the right direction. Pretty much everything this conference is doing is slowly getting on here. Including the flagship event, the annual Camp Meeting each July.
So, there you have it. Feel free to send along your favorite options and ideas back to me.
None of this compares to a good book! But sometimes we want to watch, and let the day drain off of us with minimal effort. I get that. So choose well, look for the good in everything, and let yourself get inspired, even entertained, and set yourself off in a positive direction. Blessings to you. :-)