TV viewing has come a long way since the days of the bunny ears antenna and tin foil. Digital channels, HD, premium subscriptions, household DVRs, and On-Demand are just a few of the innovations that have changed the way we experience television.
Now, a new era of interconnected, mobile, personalized TV viewing is on the horizon. Of the exciting enhancements, here are four of our favorites:
1. Viewing mobility: Whether you're catching up on the latest episode of a favorite show at the dentist or passing time at the airport with a new film, your TV service is becoming as mobile as you. There are many ways you can enjoy your favorite programs on the go.
Many companies feature apps that allow you to watch live TV from your smartphone or tablet, and some providers even allow you to access your DVR recordings or view On-Demand programs outside of your home.
2. Flexible viewing: Whether you're working late or you just tuned in too late, you don't need to miss out on programs you want to watch. Many DVRs can be controlled from an app that allows you to set recordings when you're away from home, and oftentimes you can watch those recordings from supported devices like your smartphone or tablet.
You don't have to know what's on ahead of time to prevent yourself from missing out. Features like Restart TV and Timeshift take the frustration out of channel surfing by allowing you to jump back to the beginning of a program that is already in progress, or play a program that recently aired, so you're not tied down to a channel's schedule.
3. Expanded accessibility: Many cable providers are focusing efforts on integrating their systems with popular digital media players like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. This means you can access content from your favorite channels through your preferred streaming device and switch seamlessly from a streaming service like Hulu, Netflix and Prime Video to a traditional TV channel like MTV, Nickelodeon, HGTV, TBS, and many more.
4. Voice-controlled viewing: Smart assistants like Alexa (Amazon Echo) and Google Assistant (Google Home) allow you to access helpful information and play your favorite tunes with a simple voice command.
You might even be able to control your TV through your smart assistant. You can change the channel or turn up the volume without searching for your remote. Best of all, you can look for programs by asking a few simple search questions, so you don't have to hunt for the shows you want to watch.
Interested in how you can start watching TV your way? Check with your provider of choice to see what options they offer.
Andres Tovar is vice president of product and marketing for Hargray Communications.