App in a Snap

By Gail Fowler

Are you thinking of cutting the cord? I mean the cable cord to your television.  As cable rates go up and up, and the channel selection seems endless in quantity, yet limited in quality, it becomes a more and more financially appealing consideration.

You might wonder how this ties to apps.  There are a multitude of apps devoted to streaming video, everything from movies to television shows to educational classes, even newscasts.

The NBC, ABC and CBS apps all have their evening newscasts available within a couple of hours of their live television broadcasts. The CNN app delivers live simulcasts when events are unfolding. It also streams a variety of its own news shows in real time. So why not stream the shows that meet your interest instead of paying the cable companies to watch them on your home television? It may be a pertinent question for you.

As for your favorite television series, the HULU+ app has many series available, as does the NETFLIX app. And they both have movies galore available for streaming. There is a wonderful app that will tell you if (and where) you can stream a film. It’s called CAN I STREAM IT (no spaces), and it’s free. Just enter the film you’d like to stream and it will tell you if it’s available and where you can stream it (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc).

The PBS app offers some truly wonderful content, as do the SMITHSONIAN and DISCOVERY channel apps. And for you animal lovers, even ANIMAL PLANET has an app.

For sports lovers, the WATCH ESPN app offers three channels, all streaming live sports events. The Olympics app brought us the 2012 Summer Olympics in real time. (It was fun being able to watch Michael Phelps compete in one of his events while riding with friends to Chautauqua last Summer.) And many sports events have their own apps. The Masters golf tournament, the Tour de France and March Madness all stream their events live via their own specifically-developed apps.

For sheer variety of educational and interesting content, the TED app has an incredible array of talks. TED, by the way, started as a small conference bringing together people from the technology, entertainment and design fields, to promote “ideas worth spreading.” There are talks available on virtually any subject you could possibly imagine. Just press the ‘inspire me’ button on the menu bar and you’ll be surprised at what comes up.

Most of these apps are available for both your smart phone and your tablet. Some require subscriptions. Of course, the screen is small on your phone, but will do in a pinch. It is much better on your tablet. And if you have a ROKU box (or another streaming player), many of these apps are available to watch directly on your current television.

It’s a big decision for some of us who enjoy only a few television shows currently broadcast. And while I’m not quite ready to cut the cord yet myself, I have a feeling the time may not be too far away.  If you’re considering the move, give some of these apps a try. They may help with your decision.

Gail a retired IT professional, will be offering her Chautauqua class “There’s an APP for That!” in Annapolis this Fall. For information, she can be contacted at [email protected]




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