I just got 5 million TV channels. How do I figure out if there's anything on to watch?

I’ve never had more than basic cable, and only had that because in my neck of the woods, no cable = no TV at all. But Game of Thrones is coming up on HBO, and my local cable company just had a special, so as of today, I have about a million channels. OK, maybe not that many, but more than I’ve ever had in my life. I basically got everything, because the package price was good. HBO, Showtime, Starz, BBC America, Sundance, you name it, I got it.

I also have a Tivo. I like watching movies, and there’s certain shows (Bill Maher, Entourage) that I know I like because I’ve seen 'em on DVD or at people’s houses. Beyond that, though… sheesh, how do I wade through all these channels and set things up to be Tivo’d?

There must be some kind of good online TV guide that I can customize to never show me “Everbody Loves Raymond” and NASCAR, but does show me movies and other such things I might like… right?

Help a girl out here. I’m not a TV watcher, but as long as I have these channels I might as well see if I like 'em.

Your cable provider should have an online guide.

But sometimes they don’t. Annoying as all hell.

There are some TV guides online. I had to use them and then do some math on the time of day and sometimes figure out when I could watch what.

Forget about, ever again, just randomly turning on your tv and finding something to watch. It’s a complete waste of your time, because you won’t be able to surf that fast - by the time you make it all the way down your menu, it’s the next hour of programming anyway.

Welcome to the world of time shifting. You set your DVR/Tivo to record whatever you want, and then there’s *always *something on to watch.

I mean, do you really need to waste your time adding a whole bunch of new shows right now? Go ahead and record whatever it was you got the upgraded package for. Inevitably, you’ll see an ad or three for shows you find interesting. Set the Tivo for those. Lather, Delete and Repeat.

I use tvguide.com. I customized the channels that it shows me using the “favorite channels” feature. My cable box also allows me to select favorite channels and view by favorites. Yahoo TV also has TV listings but their show descriptions are often incomplete.

Every provider I have had for the past decade has had a way to customize multiple lists of channels in the menu. I have a sports list and a general list. The sports list is self explanatory, the general list includes everything except the obviously crappy stuff (home shopping, religion, foreign language, biased news) it makes surfing a whole lot easier.

You’ve got a TiVo. Get season passes to the shows you already know you like, and give them a thumbs up. Unless you tell it not to, it will automatically record things you might like based on your input, and what you actually watch. Every once in a while, go in and see what it selected; thumbs down the ones you don’t like, and thumbs up the ones you do. After a while, it will eventually start to offer useful suggestions based on your preferences.

I also use the “wish list” feature to search for shows by keywords of subjects that interest me, and browse the line-ups of channels that often have content I like for new stuff.

And they all work by channel. Every channel that has good stuff also has some stuff I don’t like. I would love to have what Athena is asking for: a show-based blacklist or whitelist. Once I check the “I hate this” box for Jersey Shore, it never shows up on my guide again. And if I watch one documentary on Yellowstone Park, it highlights everything else about Yellowstone Park until and unless I tell it to stop doing that. For that matter, every shopping site out there has recommendations (people who bought this product also liked that product). Let it give me recommendations for what to watch based on what I actually watch. Although I wouldn’t want it automatically recording stuff on my DVR. I want control over what’s stored on that disk.

Yeah, that’s sort of what I’m looking for, and I’m kind of surprised it doesn’t exist.

For the record, I’m only new to the many channels; I’ve had a Tivo for at least 5 or 6 years, so I’m not at all looking for advice on how to use that. I just was hoping to find a smarter channel guide somewhere out on the Interwebs.

This should be mandated by law.

If you’re my wife, you check HGTV, then the Food Network, then pop in a DVD if nothing looks good.

If you’re me, you just start from channel 1 and click your way up until you either find something good, or get back to channel 1. By that time, it’s been enough time that something different is on, so you either continue clicking up the channels or turn the damn tube off and get some ice for your clicking thumb.

I’m sorry, what was the question, again?

I use Zap2It. I find it’s easier to use than other sites and you can easily customize the grid to only show the channels you actually watch, and put them in any order that you want which is a nice feature (so you can group similar channels together if they’re not ordered that way numerically).

Get a 1TB hard drive for the Tivo. Then let it randomly record stuff for three solid weeks. The backlog of shows will be so overwhelming that you’ll turn off your TV and go do something useful instead :slight_smile: