After a long day of travel or volunteering, we sometimes find ourselves looking for some mindless TV. That can be a challenge when local channels are all in a foreign tongue.
Even in countries where I’m working hard to learn the language (Spanish is a primary focus) the dialog is simply too fast for me to keep up. Enabling English subtitles is great for language learning but that takes a bit of brainpower and not exactly mindless after a long day.
Entertainment while overseas is important to anyone wanting to strike a balance between absorbing new cultures and retaining the best of where we’re from. This is especially true during the festive December season looking forward to our favorite holiday movies. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to effectively enjoy music, movies and TV series from a distance.
No need to take it with you
The days of packing a stack of music CDs ended years ago with the advent of digital music streaming services. Apple completely transformed how music is consumed with the iPod in 2001; the same year Napster launched the first music streaming service.
Now we have the ability to enjoy our favorite tunes from anywhere on any internet-connected device.
Spotify solidified this idea and became the most popular due to its ease of use while accessing their huge music library.
Pandora popularized free music channels offering listeners the ability to find musicians they would otherwise never find. Deezer claims to have over 43 million tracks with both free and premium options.
Last.FM is a free listening app that connects a global music community while tracking what’s most popular. Apple Music, Google Music, and Amazon Music offer a vast array of music choices for modest monthly fees.
Now you see it…
Video streaming now offers a myriad of options depending on your interests. YouTube originated the idea that anyone could upload videos for everyone to see. It has spawned a number of online celebrities that otherwise would likely have remained unknown.
It’s also a great place for learning with anything from cooking classes, language learning, to how to fix your iPhone (if you dare!). Vimeo offers a similar service and was the first to offer it in HD (high definition).
Hulu has a similar service with the advantage of having new TV releases immediately after broadcast.
Amazon Prime Video has a large on-demand movie collection.
Sling TV comes closest to traditional television service with channel selections similar to your local cable provider back home. DirecTV Now replicates its satellite-based service online.
Using your home account
If you are renting your house back home and include a TV service for your tenant, you can use that account to access the same programming online for no extra charge. HBO, Starz, Showtime and CBS all offer online access to their programming when you already have a cable or satellite TV account.
With a few technical tricks, it is also possible to use an Apple TV or Roku device outside North America. This requires some modest technical skills and guidance that can be found online. We can all look forward to enjoying our favorites no matter where we are. Technology continues to evolve at such a rapid pace.
Share with us know how you’ve solved accessing entertainment from afar. We can all benefit from your experience.