TV is one of those things that's universally beloved, but like anything else, there are ways to make it even more enjoyable without it turning into a mindless pastime. Once you've decided how and what to watch, stretch out and get cozy with your favorite snacks within reach, or invite some friends over for a fun-filled viewing party. As much as possible, limit your sessions to a couple hours a day. If you're determined to keep watching, try to break them up into shorter chunks to minimize eye strain and give yourself some more time to be active.
Method 1 of 3:Watching at Your Own Leisure
1Get comfortable. Watching TV can be a great way to unwind at the end of a long day. Just lean back, kick your feet up, and stretch out under your coziest blanket. Make sure you have everything you need before you get situated so you won't have to keep getting up while your show is on.
Relaxation is the goal, but slouching on the sofa for too long can lead to back pain for some people. If you have this problem, try sitting in a supported upright posture, lying on your stomach, or even assuming some basic yoga poses instead.
2Grab some snacks you can munch on while flipping channels. Pop some popcorn, microwave a couple mini pizzas, or sit down with one of your other favorite foods. A bowl of ice cream or a tray of fresh-baked brownies can also make a perfect TV treat for those with a sweet tooth. Don't forget to have an ice cold beverage nearby to wash it all down.
If you're looking for a healthier option, sit down with some fresh fruits and veggies, mixed nuts, or homemade granola bars.
Consider portioning out your snacks before you sit down so you don't lose track of how much you've eaten while your attention is on the TV.
3Invite your friends over to watch with you. Call up a few of your best buds and have them join you for a private viewing party. This can be a fun way to get everyone together, especially when you're checking out the newest episode of the latest hit series. Make sure everyone who shows up has a comfortable place to perch with a good view of the tube.
If you're planning a marathon session, encourage the people on your invite list to bring a dish so there will be plenty of food and drinks to go around.
Pick up some light snacks at the very least. As the host, feeding your guests is the polite thing to do, and it will help keep everyone happy.
4Binge-watch your favorite shows all at once on a streaming service. One of the cool things about watching through a streaming service is that whole seasons of original series are added at one time. This means you can watch as much as you want in a single sitting. Just don't forget to take the occasional bathroom break!
Take advantage of a lazy weekend or sick day from work to get caught up on the hit shows everyone's talking about.
5Record shows you miss so you can catch up on them later. Use the DVR feature on your streaming device or the cable box provided by your cable company to archive programs you can't catch the first time around to your watchlist. That way, you can go back and watch them whenever it's most convenient for you. Once you've recorded a show, you'll be able to pause, rewind, fast forward, and skip with the touch of a button.
On most newer cable boxes, recording is as simple as finding the time slot for the show you want to save and hitting the “Record” button on your remote.
Unfortunately, there's no way to record what you're watching if get TV through an antenna or coaxial cable, unless you want to break out your old VCR!
Method 2 of 3:Finding Ways to Watch
1Use a digital antenna to pick up free over-the-air channels. Hooking up an inexpensive antenna will allow you to tune in to local broadcast stations like ABC, CBC, PBS, and NBC without spending a dime. You'll get a surprising selection of programming over antenna, including popular daytime dramas, late night talk shows, and special televised events like the Superbowl and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
You can pick up a digital TV antenna for as little as $20-60, which is a steal when you consider that a limited basic cable or satellite package often runs about $20 per month.
The quality of your viewing experience with an antenna may vary depending on how far you're located from a broadcast tower and whether there are any other obstructions in the way.Trustworthy SourceConsumer ReportsNonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testingGo to source
2Sign up for limited basic cable to get direct access to the main networks. If an antenna doesn't work well in your area, your next best option will be to subscribe to a limited basic cable or satellite plan. Limited basic cable is the baseline of pay-TV service, and will only cost you around $15-20 a month. That means you won't go broke trying to find something to put on the tube.Trustworthy SourceConsumer ReportsNonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testingGo to source
With a basic cable or satellite plan, you'll be able to watch all the major broadcast networks, including NBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, FOX, as well as a handful of local and government channels.
Limited basic cable may be your most economical option if you only like to watch TV occasionally.
3Upgrade to expanded basic cable to increase your channel selection. Unless you're content to cycle through the same 5-6 network stations, you may want to make the jump to expanded basic cable. Expanded basic cable is the next step up from limited basic cable, and will give you 30-50 popular channels like ESPN, MTV, Discovery, Lifetime, and Comedy Central.
There are also plenty of channels on expanded basic cable aimed at kids, such as Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and The Disney Channel. These will likely be standbys if you have small children in the house.
The majority of cable and satellite TV providers offer both limited and expanded options when you sign up for basic cable.
4Splurge on premium channels to get access to exclusive content. If you've got some money to spend, consider shelling out a little extra for HBO, Showtime, Starz, or Cinemax. In addition to series like Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Shameless that you can't see anywhere else, these channels also frequently run blockbuster movies, reality shows, documentaries, and other types of specialty programming.
Premium channels are typically available in packages with tiered prices. In some cases, you may be able to save money by bundling 2 or more premium channels with your subscription.
If you don't think you need multiple premium channels, you also have the option of choosing which ones you want individually, which means you won't be forced to pay for content you won't watch.
5Start a streaming service account to get unlimited TV for a monthly fee. These days, more and more people are turning to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video to get their entertainment fix. Rather than waiting for your favorite shows to air, these programs make it possible to queue up any of the titles in their extensive catalogs at any time.Trustworthy SourceConsumer ReportsNonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testingGo to source
Most of the major streaming services are priced at $10-15 per month, which could make them a cheaper alternative to a standard cable plan.
You'll need to use a streaming platform such as a gaming console, laptop, or standalone device like a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick to access your streaming service of choice after signing up.
Method 3 of 3:Establishing Healthy Viewing Habits
1Limit your TV time to about 2 hours per day. TV can be downright hypnotic, which is why it can be so easy to spend the whole day in front of it and not even notice. For this reason, experts recommend pulling the plug after a couple hours for the sake of your health. Less TV time will encourage you to be more active and prevent overstimulation, which could help you fall asleep faster and think more clearly.
If you insist on watching for longer periods, try to break up your viewing sessions into 30-90 minute chunks, with 15-20 minute breaks in between. This will give your eyes a break and give you a chance to stretch your legs.
Decreasing the amount of time you spend sitting in front of the TV doesn't just leave more room for other pursuits, it could actually add years to your life by making you less sedentary.
2Watch something educational from time to time. To make better use of your screen time, round out your steady diet of entertainment with more enriching programming. Tuning into a documentary, cooking show, or instructional video series periodically will teach you useful skills and give your brain some exercise.
For every hour of fluff entertainment you watch, try to watch 20-30 minutes of news, science, history, or some related subject.
There are lots of shows that are both entertaining and educational just waiting to be devoured, such as Mythbusters, Modern Marvels, How It's Made, and pretty much anything on Nat Geo.
3Leave a light on while you're watching to reduce eye strain. Staring at a bright screen in a dark room for hours on end can be hard on your eyes. The simplest solution to this issue is to open the blinds or switch on a nearby lamp. Introducing a source of ambient light will cut down on the contrast, causing less irritation and fatigue.
If you prefer watching with the lights off, you can also try reducing the brightness and contrast settings on your TV to see if it provides some relief.