Stuck Inside? Here’s Your TV Streaming Strategy


March 19, 202012:03 AM ET

There are a lot of new television shows coming at you right now, thanks in part to the flood of new TV streaming services. The choices are exciting, and with the extra TV time social distancing is giving us, we might actually have time to catch up on some of the many offerings.

Comic Jim Gaffigan summed it up best in a funny bit from his Netflix special — yes, there’s a touch of irony here — called Cinco. “Sometimes I open my Netflix and (say) … ‘I’m not going to make a dent here,'” he cracks, pretending to put off friends asking if he’s seen Game of Thrones by admitting, “I’m a little behind … Give me a week, my wife had a dumb baby.”

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The numbers are a little intimidating. In a recent study, the TV ratings service Nielsen found 60 percent of Americans subscribe to at least one streaming service (although the Pew Research Center also says roughly 25 percent of Americans lack broadband Internet access at home).

And when Nielsen counted all the shows available, across all kinds of programs and platforms, they found more than 646,000 unique titles were available to watch last year.

There are more shows coming, as deep-pocketed media and technology companies develop new services, creating something of a streaming war. Apple TV+ and Disney+ debuted in November 2019, while HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock and short-form streamer Quibi will be available to consumers by May 2020.

But fear not. We’ve got some tips to help you pick out the streaming services that are actually worth your time.

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