Can I have One Media Playlist to Rule Them All?
January 20, 2012 4:01 PM   Subscribe

I recently bought a new TV, replacing one from the early 90s. And I went a bit crazy plugging in ALL the things. The trouble is... there's still nothing on! Is there some kind of master TV / movie / media guide I can use to tell me what device or service(s) offer what I want to watch?

So my new giant 47" LCD HDTV is awesome. I'm practically ready to plug my coffeemaker and hair dryer into it because I just realized how many things can be set up to run into it and display content of various kinds (I mean, I knew but I didn't KNOW). I've got cable TV from Comcast, an Apple TV, a Roku box and my netbook hooked up. I have Amazon Prime Instant Videos, plus I guess other video from Amazon for purchase. I have iTunes. I have HBO GO (though so far just on my iPad, which I think I can also hook up there), I have Hulu Plus and I could have Netflix back if I wanted.

It's just... having to go to each service to find out what TV shows and movies are available is kind of a buzzkill. I'm still watching non-stop reruns of L&O because I know there's always at least one on channel 16, 37 or 42, though now in HD so I guess there's that. There must be some site or service I can use where I tell it what I have access to and then what I want to watch and set up alerts and/or playlists for those things. For example, I kind of really want to watch Moneyball tonight. Is it on any of these services and, if so, which ones and for how much money? If it isn't on, can I tell it to alert me when it becomes available?

Even more bonus points if I could access it from the TV as a master playlist and use it to control my DVR for things on regular TV, etc.
posted by marylynn to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The TV Guide iOS app or website should help you out for your Comcast needs.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:35 PM on January 20, 2012

Moneyball's on Apple TV right now for $3.99. Probably Amazon, too, for the same price.

As for one-stop browsing, I hear ya! I've never found anything as all-inclusive and informative as you want.

Our solution has been keep our sources simple-ish; sounds like you're suffering from option overload.

We went further, and insist on On-Demand media only, simply because, after years of only watching rentals, the experience of letting somebody else control our evening schedule is just too painful, to say nothing of the commercials. So we're down to Netflix disks, Netflix streaming, and Apple TV, and recently unplugged from cable anything (except internet and phone of course), which in our area means no reception at all. Don't miss it! We only had Premium cable for a short while and found it a nightmare, badly cataloged and mostly crap, in fact all crap after we'd watched the premium series we wanted that were OnDemand.

We use the Apple TV mostly for current TV and the rare new DVD movie before it hits Netflix, which it's far from comprehensive on, and there's no way I know of to follow what's on there except iTunes; there's no Coming Soon! for it that I've ever found, more's the pity. But it gets our job done.

So we need only to keep track of Netflix releases (via RSS) and iTunes. If we had live regular TV, we'd just need TV Guide or something.

Better luck with other posters, but I'm not optimistic…
posted by dpcoffin at 4:41 PM on January 20, 2012

The iPad app Fanhattan does a decent job of this. It aggregates a bunch of websites/services and tells you what things cost before you go to that service.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:02 PM on January 20, 2012

Quite honestly, this is why I have TiVo. In its latest incarnations, it connects to Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon and it treats them (almost entirely, but not quite) as first-class citizens, so if I'm looking for crime dramas or whatever it will suggest things that will be on TV soon and things that are available on the streaming services. Or if I'm looking for Moneyball I go to the search box and type in "Money", select the film and find that it's not yet showing on TV, but is available from Amazon and Blockbuster and the lowest price is $3.99.
posted by wierdo at 5:15 PM on January 20, 2012

There's an HBO GO channel for Roku, so don't worry too much about hooking your iPad up to the TV.
posted by zsazsa at 12:36 AM on January 21, 2012

It's for movies only right now, but I'm a fan of Can I stream it? to tell me what movie is on what service and at what price.

And to Zsazsa's point, Comcast does not currently allow HBO GO on Roku.
posted by FreezBoy at 3:06 AM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and since you have Comcast, you should also get this Xfinity App for your ipad. It will allow you to search all of their broadcast TV and on-demand offerings in one place, and you can set DVR recordings from it.
posted by FreezBoy at 3:11 AM on January 21, 2012

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