Earlier this week, Jess Barnes and I had a virtual chat to discuss something we’ve been asked about a lot: what we’re streaming in our own lives. We spent some time detailing our current favorites, the ever-growing number of titles on our to-do lists, and more. We also spoke at length about our current streaming hardware setup, including our main TVs and go-to streaming gear.
You can check out the full conversation in our video deep dive, embedded below, and feel free to read on for a summary of our conversation. It was a fun chat that revealed we’re both still catching up on some hugely popular franchises. Also: one of us wants a new TV and the other is still rocking some relatively ancient streaming devices.
Our Go-To Streaming Gear
On the hardware front, both Jess and I have a somewhat similar approach: a central smart TV with built-in streaming capabilities, but supplemented by a variety of external devices. For Jess, the centerpiece is a TCL-brand Roku TV, which means she has Roku’s streaming platform available, front and center. Beyond the smart TV’s own software, however, she also has several devices on hand, including a TiVo Stream 4K and an Amazon Fire TV.
The streaming device diversity makes sense, given our day jobs. We need to keep our eyes on a variety of popular streaming platforms and stay up-to-date on all the latest software updates and upgrades.
Meanwhile, my streaming setup is centered on a 55-inch LG OLED. It’s among the fancier purchases I’ve made in recent years and I honestly wouldn’t have invested in it if it weren’t on sale at the time. And while its onboard webOS smart TV platform performs well enough for most services, I also have a number of hardware options connected to its various HDMI inputs.
Nvidia’s Shield TV Pro takes up a prominent spot in my entertainment center and it’s recently been joined by Apple’s latest Apple TV 4K, which we recently reviewed. I also have a 4K Blu-ray player (which, again, I picked up thanks to an impressive discount) with streaming capabilities, as well as Sony’s PlayStation 5.
And while I don’t have that much time for gaming these days, I still like to fire up the PS5 when I can. I also keep an eye on its streaming app support to help make sure we’re up to date on current gaming consoles. Speaking of, last I checked, the PlayStation 5’s Disney+ app still maxes out at 1080p instead of 4K, which has always been surprising to me. But I still check in on it, just in case.
I also have some years-old Roku streaming devices hooked up to secondary TVs elsewhere in the house. I frequently run into memory issues on these much older options, and I really should upgrade those to a more recent vintage. Some day!
Later in the conversation, Jess shared that she’s on a mission this year to upgrade her TV. So just a heads-up that come Black Friday, we’ll be shining a spotlight on the best deals for our readers — and also maybe shopping for ourselves as well.
When it comes to our most-used streaming services, it can vary over time, depending on the specific shows or movies we’re interested in, but the standard array of Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video often make an appearance. Meanwhile, Jess shared she’s been leveraging several free options, including The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, and the standard YouTube app. She added that she’s also enjoying the variety of content on HBO Max and catching up on recent broadcasts via Paramount+.
As for live TV services, Jess is currently relying on Sling TV with a side of Locast for local channel access.
In our household, my wife (Jennifer) and I keep returning to old favorites on Netflix, but we’ve also been spending time on Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu. On the free side of things, Pluto TV makes a regular appearance on our TVs, and I’ve been checking out Plex’s free content as well. We live far enough away from Seattle’s tall buildings to get a decent number of local channels via a standard over-the-air antenna, with some 40 or so channels currently available in our area. Jess mentioned that she’s not so fortunate in Cleveland — hence the reliance on Locast for local channels.
What We’re Watching
Of course, all this talk about streaming hardware and favorite services is just a preamble to discussing the shows and movies we’re currently watching. Jess shared (confessed? admitted?) she’s finally checking out Game of Thrones on HBO Max. The show’s been living up to the hype so far, she said, and I mentioned checking in with her moving forward to see how her binge watch is progressing.
Jess also mentioned following Big Brother as closely as she can, including catching recent episodes on Paramount Plus. And as for recent movies, Jess recommended I check out Sweet Tooth, a suggestion she received from our live Q&A crowd over on YouTube.
Meanwhile, Jennifer and I are often rewatching New Girl on Netflix. It’s basically “comfort food” for us, a familiar, funny show we can have running in the background without needing to pay too much attention. I’m also finally checking out Supernatural’s 15-season run and enjoying it so far.
As for new experiences, the animated show Bluey on Disney+ has been an incredible surprise. It’s definitely kid-oriented, but it’s hugely enjoyable from a parent’s perspective as well. And we’ve been checking out recent episodes of Good Girls and The Good Doctor via Hulu, since we’re rarely able to watch new episodes when they first air.
What We Hope to Watch — Eventually
And we couldn’t talk about streaming without discussing our respective watch lists — the shows and movies we hope to have time to check out at some point.
For Jess, her watch list includes recent releases like Loki on Disney+. She said she’s also looking forward to season two of Ted Lasso, which is set to arrive on Apple TV+ later this month. As far as movies go, A Quiet Place 2 and Black Widow are at the top of her list at the moment.
Similarly, Loki is on my to-do list as well. As for Ted Lasso, I’m hoping to check out season one soon, especially since we finally redeemed Apple’s one-year free trial offer for its streaming service. Other than free time, we really have no excuse not to check it out at this point.
I’m also hoping to watch Black Widow sooner rather than later. And speaking of Marvel titles, I realized I’m only halfway through WandaVision and Jess recommended I finish the remaining episodes soon. Fingers crossed!
In all, it was fun to sit down and compare notes about what we’ve been streaming of late. Plus, it helped to commiserate over the expanding list of shows and movies we haven’t quite gotten around to checking out just yet. We’re hoping to make conversations like this a regular thing throughout the year, so stay tuned for future chats where we catch up on our current streaming faves. Hopefully, we’ll have knocked off a few items on our respective to-do lists!