Streaming Advice

The promised savings from streaming, as opposed to cable is attractive.
And I want certain shows.
But I have no idea which device will get me what!

Here is a list of shows/stations that I want :

  • Star Trek (various shows)

  • Disney

  • Totally Spies (an animated show)

  • Me Tv

  • Nature Shows

  • Documentaries

  • CNN

  • Cartoon Network

Which device do I buy?

Well, you missed CNN+, so, that’s one off of your list.

Most devices seen to have worked out agreements with most streaming services such that you don’t have to buy an Amazon Firestick, Roku, and an Apple TV+ brick to watch stuff. I don’t know what a third of the things on your list are (is Totally Spies the Eurpoean rebranding of Archer? ‘Cause if it is…you’re in the “Danger Zone”!) but this site can probably get you sorted on where to find what you need:


I don’t think the question is which device but which streaming services you need to subscribe to. And for what you said you want to watch, I think you want Paramount + (for the Star Trek shows), Disney + and maybe HBO Max?

Nah. It’s an early 00s children’s cartoon that mostly ran on Cartoon Network (but was originally made for French/Canadian TV). It has three “totally fabulous” teenage girls who moonlight as spies, with some kinda freaky plots. It’s apparently yet another show getting a revival season and/or reboot (in 2023). I’m genuinely surprised, as it doesn’t seem that popular today, except with a certain following that sees a bunch of risque subtext in it.

Totally Spies! - Wikipedia!

That said, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be Cartoon Network, which has a bunch of stuff on HBO Max and is available in full with a lot of “Internet TV” services like Sling TV and YouTube TV (or Hulu+Live TV). However, those TV packages tend to cost more than the regular streaming services.

Are there free services, that come with the devices?
Are there any devices that might have discontinued service/support, in the near future?

Roku can access many free channels, but you will likely have to put up with ads in lieu of paying a monthly fee.

The thing is, switching is an adjustment. How you think about TV is going to change. It’s going to take a minute for you to figure out your “streaming identity” as amusing as that sounds.

As far as how you think is going to change: For me, I went from plop down in front of the TV and flip through channels till I find something good to…

Now, it’s all about planning, and keeping my queue filled. Also, I compartmentalize. These shows are for after work, these shows are for the weekends, these shows are for when I got a beer buzz and need something easy to follow, these shows are for falling asleep to, etc…

I agree with @Dewey_Finn . I think the Hulu-Disney bundle and Paramount+ is a good place for you to start.

Freebie channels do exist, but unless you’re a fan of nostalgia, you probably won’t like them.

And of course you can subscribe to, for example, Hulu for a month, watch what you want and then cancel. You can spend all year jumping from one streaming service to another. If you’re aggressive about it, you can minimize the cost.

A Roku will have access to all the apps you’d want, I don’t think there are any that are device-specific now that HBOMax and Apple TV are both there, and it’s cheap. What you are really asking is what apps have the channels/content you want to watch.

My Wife and I got Chrome Cast. A dongle that plugs into the back of a ‘Smart’ TV. Got it when we got Starlink, because we couldn’t stream on the other dish.

We don’t watch but an hour or two a day, but are finding out that we are binge watching a LOT of stuff we missed. Like ‘Game of Thrones’.

Couldn’t get that before.

These carry lots of programs; the price is they have advertisements.

One thing: we have Sling, which gives us an on line “DVR” so we can record programs and watch them later. These free services don’t. You can’t fast forward over commercials, either. Also, local channels can be a challenge.

One thing to keep in mind is that some cable channels are only stream-able if you are a cable subscriber. The streaming channel is an add-on to your cable subscription, not a replacement. I believe CNN is only streaming if you have a cable subscription. I’m not sure about MeTV and the CN, but I would guess they are the same.

There are streaming “cable” packages that may have the channels you want. Check out this article to see which channels are available on which services:

These streaming channel bundles are like cable, but you use their streaming app to watch the channels. It looks pretty much like your traditional cable TV guide.

Many SmartTVs have a streaming platform in them, like Roku, FireTV, or Google/Android. Do you know what your TV has? If it has one of those, then you likely already have a suitable streaming platform. However, I don’t really like using the streamer inside the TV. It often isn’t as good as a standalone streamer. The TV maker may skimp on components and it may be slow, have less memory, crash more often, etc. If the streamer in your TV seems clunky, get a standalone streaming device.

I’ve used Roku, FireTV, and Google, and I personally like the Google/Android streaming device “Chromecast with Google TV” the best. That’s the one with the embedded streaming platform, not the plain Chromecast. I think the main interface is most convenient with that one. It knows many of the shows you watch and has icons right on the top screen to resume what you had been watching.


Don’t i need a different device for each service?

Our firestick is basically an antenna that streams wifi for the TV. IDK if you tried but a lot of the links I posted allow you to watch on computer, phone, and yes TV…

I think it’s Tubi—let’s say you start watching a 2 hour movie. After 1 hour, you need to take a break so you can do some shopping. When you come back later, it doesn’t remember where you left off. You start at the beginning, fast forward through that hour, and resume. But if you get a free account (not sure what info you have to give them) it will remember your progress.

If you go into Pluto, you’ll see that some channels are nothing but reruns of a particular program. Last I looked, they show every “Deal or No Deal” on one of their channels—nothing but that and ads.

You don’t get the ability to record programs but a lot of it is on demand, so at least you can see it when you want. But you don’t want to postpone too long because they will drop some and add others from time to time. I was trying to remember where I’d seen the series “Abandoned,” which was on VICE. I think Hulu has it if you upgrade…but Pluto has it without upgrading. But they may disappear next week for all I know. I think I need to start keeping a pad of paper to record where I was watching something so I can find it again…too many services?

One other thing: when our firesticks are working well, we can start a program in the living room, then finish it up in the bedroom—they communcate with each other. But I don’t think it works with freebies so maybe Sling and Discovery + are communicating the info…we’re basically logged into the same account on all TVs.

No, you don’t. Most devices support all of the common services. (My LG Smart TV didn’t support HBO Max until a few months after HBO Max was introduced.) Rokus in particular should support all of the services you need.

I created a free account on Tubi because I’ve been watching their collection of Rifftrax movies (a knockoff of MST3K) and I got annoyed at the lack of saving my spot. I have an Amazon Firestick and when I created a free account it just asked me if I would let Amazon share its login info with them.

To the OP, as mentioned it’s not how many devices but how many streaming services to get…

A small plug for which device…I like the Home interface with my Firestick because it shows offerings from all my streaming services, and if I search for a show I’ve heard of, it will display the show and give me options for which streaming service I want to watch it on (if there are multiple) and if it’s on a platform I don’t subscribe to, I can click and sign up. So it’s an easy central platform to find out where all the stuff you want to watch is at. But I’m guessing Roku and other streaming devices have a similar interface.

Roku doesn’t have this feature, surprisingly. The home screen is just a tile layout of the apps you have installed. It doesn’t have a place where you can see the various shows you’re currently watching. The Roku itself is great for watching streaming content, but the lack of this integration with the apps can be inconvenient. Especially now when shows are spread across so many different services. It’s easy to forget where a show is or forget about a show completely. The Fire and Google TV products are much better in this aspect.

BTW, I recommend the Justwatch website/app for finding which streaming service has a show or movie to stream or rent.

I sort of fell into the FireTV platform by accident when a TV I bought on Prime Day came with that platform built in. One thing I find it does well is help me find where to watch something. I took the time to set up all my services (HBO Max, Disney+, AppleTV, etc) and when I search for a particular movie or program, it shows me across all my where I can watch it, at what quality, and if there would be an additional cost.

I’d be surprised if the other platforms don’t do some version of that, but I’m also surprised how well it works.