10 smarter ways to watch TV

Catch your favorite shows pretty much anywhere.

Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix have fundamentally changed the way we watch TV. Want to watch six seasons of your favorite sitcom in 10 hours? On a plane? While sipping Mai Tais on a beach in the South Pacific with no internet? In virtual reality? Sure, no problem. Below, tricks to upgrade your binge-watching experience for your favorite movies, TV shows, and more.

Supercharge your Netflix streaming

Upgrade your chill.

Part of Netflix’s appeal is that it just works. Dig a little deeper under Netflix’s simple interface, though, and you’ll find a number of ways to customize your viewing experience, as well as a selection of handy add-ons. The full list of tricks, this way. >>

The feeling of watching a cliffhanger season finale only to have it roll right into the next season’s premiere is one of the true wonders of the modern world, but it can be even better. You can watch better, hear better, and be more comfortable. We put together a list of game-changers to make your binge-watching experience that much better. Here’s what we recommend. >>

Stream your media from your computer’s library to any device.

As great as Netflix is, movies and shows don’t stick around on the service forever. As licensing deals renew or expire, Netflix loses old videos and gains new ones—which means that you might look up to find your favorite TV show has vanished. For a more reliable option, you could buy your favorite digital content from portals like iTunes or Google Play. Or there’s the old-fashioned way: storing the videos you already own on your home computer. From there you can stream that content to other devices around the house. Here’s how you do it. >>

You don’t have to settle for the TV content available in the country you’re in.

You snuggle into the sofa, open your laptop, and prepare to watch your favorite British TV show … only to discover that it’s not available on any of your usual streaming websites. And of course, you can’t access BBC iPlayer from the United States. Because companies like Netflix, Hulu, and the BBC still do licensing deals on a country-by-country basis, a lot of the TV shows and movies you watch over the web will be locked down to your specific geographical region. Fortunately, a smart software add-on or two can help. Tools such as VPNs and Smart DNS are relatively easy to set up and configure. And they have the power to unlock the full range of content available on your favorite streaming and download sites. Here’s how to set one up. >>

Do your eyes a favor and cut down on the bingeing.

If you subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any other streaming service, you’ve probably been there: Gazing at the screen as episode after episode autoplays until you check the clock and realize just how late it is. A growing body of evidence suggests late-night video binging is seriously disrupting human sleep patterns, which of course can damage our overall health. With that in mind, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, founded in 1975, has pubished guidelines for enjoying shows while making sure your body and brain get enough rest. Have your screen time and sleep time too. >>

Don’t want to know what Daenerys and Jon are up to? You don’t have to.

If you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones, then the web can be a dangerous place. In a split second, a revealing headline or tweet can spoil the next installment, or even a whole season. But for most of us, staying offline to completely avoid spoilers isn’t really an option. Obviously we won’t be able to cover every site and news source you’re likely to come across—we all use the web differently—so you may need to adapt our advice slightly to fit with your browsing habits. We can’t promise that you won’t see some kind of hint out of the corner of your eye (or hear your coworkers discussing last night’s episode), but at least you can reduce the risk of getting caught out by spoilers online. Stay spoiler-free. >>

Fnd the best music, movie, and TV recommendations

Don’t waste time with stuff you won’t like.

How do you go about sorting the best media from the time-wasters? Taste is personal—and we’ve found personalized ways to get recommendations about what to listen to or binge-watch next. Some of these recommendations come with the services you’re already using, but you can also tap into independent third-party sites and apps. Here’s what you can do. >>

YouTube packs in more features than you might realize.

Most Youtube users stick to the basics of playing and sharing videos, but the website and its app incarnations have so much more to offer. These hacks, tricks, and add-ons will take your YouTubing to the next level. >>

Get more from your Apple TV

Use Apple’s black box like an expert.

It might be hard to believe, but the Apple TV has now been with us for more than 10 years. In that time, it’s gotten a lot smaller and a lot smarter. Here are seven tips to improve your Apple TV experience. Read on. >>

The Google Daydream View is your portal to an endless number of virtual worlds.

If you want to experience virtual reality without breaking the bank, you may have considered Google’s $100 Daydream View headset, which relies on a smartphone to bring the wearer into new worlds. Once you purchase your toy, you’ll want to download the best games and apps for the device—and we’ve handpicked some of our favorites. Onward! >>