How to Binge-watch Your Favorite Shows Remotely This Summer
Young woman binge-watching her favorite show on a tablet in the summer.
Summertime means different things to different people. For some folks, summertime is picnics and parades. For others, it's trips to the beach or the cabin. For many people, however, summertime is binge time for their favorite streaming video programs. Instead of heading to the theaters to watch the latest summer blockbusters, they're staying in to binge-watch their favorite shows on their favorite streaming video services.
How can you best binge-watch your favorite shows this summer? You can do a lot to get ready—including downloading your favorites in advance.
Summertime is the right time to stay inside where it's cool and binge-watch your favorite streaming shows
To find out what's playing on streaming video, check out sites like JustWatch and Reelgood—and make sure you're subscribing to the right services
Make sure you block off plenty of time, get comfortable, and stock up on the snacks
Use multiple screens to hold a group watching session—and download your shows in advance to eliminate rebuffering
What Makes Summer Streaming So Binge-Worthy
When you watch multiple episodes in a single setting of a television program or movie series, you're binge-watching. In the old pre-internet days, you could only binge-watch when a TV or cable network ran a TV series marathon, like when the Syfy Channel would run a Twilight Zone marathon over the Labor Day weekend.
With streaming video, however, you can binge-watch anything and everything you want, whenever you want. Many new shows drop a half-dozen or more episodes on a single day, so you can binge the entire season in one sitting if you want.
Binge-watching in the summer is great because most people have lots of free time. You could take a week's vacation all at once and binge-watch a different show each day. You could even have a watch marathon of your favorite movie franchise, like a weekend of Star Wars or James Bond or Marvel movies. Binge-watching is a great reason to stay inside and cool on those long hot summer days.
8 Tips to Summer Binge-Watch Your Favorite Streaming Shows and Movies
When you're ready to start binge-watching your favorite shows, it helps to prepare for the viewing marathon ahead of you. Here are eight tips to help you get the most from your summer binge-watching—and share your shows with friends and family.
1. Find Out What's Bingeable
With so many quality programs available, how do you know what's on and bingeable? You can get help choosing what to binge from these websites that highlight the best new shows and let you search multiple streaming services from a single interface:
Search for binge-worthy movies and TV shows at JustWatch.
2. Subscribe Right
Let's be honest. There are so many bingeable shows out there that you'd never be able to watch all of them by the end of the summer. Even worse, you probably couldn't afford all the subscriptions to all the different streaming services that host all those shows. To make it easy on your wallet, you need to pick and choose which services you subscribe to—and which you drop because they only have a show or two worth watching. (Of course, you can always subscribe for a single month to binge-watch a show or two and then cancel your subscription when you're done.)
3. Block Off the Time—and Plenty of It
Binge-watching a multi-season series can take up a lot of your time, especially if you're bingeing hour-long dramas. Block off the time you need to finish as many episodes as possible in a single setting.
4. Get Comfortable—and Lay On the Snacks
Get comfortable and stock up on the snacks when you're binge-watching.
If you're binge-watching several hours of programming in a row, make sure you're comfortable. Put on your sweats, find a comfy chair or couch, and surround yourself with plenty of cushions or pillows. Adjust your lighting so it's a little dim, and make sure you have a good line of sight to your big-screen TV. It also helps to plan and have plenty of snackable material at your fingertips—and remember, granola and popcorn are healthier than chips and dips.
5. Use All Your Screens
You're not limited to binge-watching in your living room. You can use any internet-connected device to binge-watch your favorite shows—the smart TV in your bedroom, your iPad or another tablet, or even your smartphone. Even better, you can watch on multiple screens at the same time. Use one device to watch your show and another to video chat with your friends in a group viewing session.
6. Try Group Watching
Watching a binge-worthy show with a group of friends can be a load of fun—and you don't have to be in the same house to do it! Many streaming services, such as Disney+ and Netflix, let you stream a video simultaneously to multiple viewers. This way, you and your friends can truly watch the same shows at the same time, totally synchronized—and chat along in real time on another device, using Zoom or FaceTime.
7. Minimize Rebuffering
Rebuffering is the bane of streaming video. When bandwidth gets too tight, you'll find your picture freezing while the stream tries to catch up. You can minimize rebuffering by freeing up your home's internet bandwidth, which means disconnecting other devices in your home, pausing all background downloads, and otherwise clearing the lane for your streaming video. You might also want to splurge for a higher-bandwidth internet plan and see if your streaming service is using software like Penthera's PlayAssure that works to mitigate rebuffering issues.
8. Download in Advance So You Can Video Chat in Real-Time
Another way to eliminate rebuffering issues is to download your shows in advance. When you download your favorite programs, you eliminate all the bandwidth issues that can interrupt your viewing experience. This is an especially good idea if you intend to video chat with your friends during a group viewing session—Zooming and streaming at the same time use up a lot of bandwidth. More and more streaming services, including Netflix and YouTube TV, make it easy to download their programming. Many of these services use Penthera Download to make binge-watching easy.
What's Bingeable This Summer?
Now that you know how to get the most from your summer binge-watching, what should you watch? According to critics and fans, here are some of the most bingeable programs out this summer. If you can, download them in advance so you can watch them straight through with minimal interruptions.
The Bear (Hulu)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)
For All Mankind (Apple TV+)
Hacks (HBO Max)
Loot (Apple TV+)
Ms. Marvel (Disney+)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+)
The Old Man (FX/Hulu)
Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
Peaky Blinders (Netflix)
Reservation Dogs (Hulu)
Rutherford Falls (Peacock)
Severance (Apple TV+)
Squid Game (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Succession (HBO Max)
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Amazon Prime Video)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)
Virgin River (Netflix)
Westworld (HBO Max)
What We Do in the Shadows (FX/Hulu)
The Wheel of Time (Amazon Prime Video)
The Witcher (Netflix)
And don't forget older programs like Breaking Bad, The Office, and Schitt's Creek. Just because they're older doesn't make them any less bingeable!
Check out these hot summer picks from NPR's TV critic Eric Deggan—they're all binge-worthy.