Binge Watching is new normal
December 21, 2015
With Netflix, Hulu, Blockbuster and Amazon all available on one device at the touch of our fingertips, binge-watching has become easier than ever.
With almost 60 million subscribers on Netflix alone, needless to say, binge-watching is not new, but some would say that it has become the new normal way to watch TV.
Dictionary.com defines binge watching as watching “multiple videos, episodes of a TV show in one sitting or over a short period of time.”
For instance, using one of these streaming services, you can watch the entire season of The Walking Dead in one day and catch up just in time for the next weekly episode airing on your TV.
My personal favorite is watching all 12 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, without hesitation.
In the past, binge watching was something that only people with no lives and who never went outdoors would do, but today, it is nothing to be ashamed about. With the time and preparation involved, binge watching just shows how dedicated you can be.
Author Kelly West of Cinema Blend says that “Binge watching isnʻt an emerging trend or behavior: itʻs mainstream and the new normal,” and she’s right.
So, grab a friend (or don’t), get your supplies ready (see below), and over this Christmas break, catch up on all those shows you missed during the first semester. Go ahead. You earned it.
The major players
The first decision to make about binge-watching is how to do it. Most people will tell you they use Netflix. While there are other movie-streaming websites and programs you could use, Netflix blows them out of the water.
Today’s Netflix Inc. was originally NetFlix.com Inc. when it was founded in 1997. Since going public in 2003, Netflix Inc. has toppled their competition with a whopping 58 million subscribers today, according to Cameron Savage of The Culturist. In May of 2014, Netflix increased their prices from $7.99 to $8.99, and as of Thursday last week, a subscription now costs $9.99 per month.
Who’s their competition?
Hulu is another streaming service. People usually turn to Hulu to watch TV series, but they also have a large selection of movies that you can watch with a subscription.
“Hulu’s a better program for catching up on TV series and Netflix is just better movies,” sophomore Kailani Kealoha said.
Kealoha said that while Netflix has a better selection of movies, Hulu provides TV series faster. Rather than waiting for Netflix to upload a series by seasons, Hulu uploads episode by episode, allowing for faster watching.
Thousands of episodes are available for free, but Hulu also offers subscriptions with fewer commercial interruptions and more recent and expanded content. Cheaper than Netflix, Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month or $95.88 per year. You can add Showtime for $8.99 a month.
Another streaming service is Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime is a bit more complicated than the other two as it isn’t only a movie-streaming program.
Amazon Prime is a membership that offers a bundle of services from the online retailer Amazon.com. Costing $99 per year plus a free 30-day trial, members receive the following services:
- Prime Instant Video (unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes in their library)
- Free two-day shipping on eligible items
- Free same-day delivery in eligible ZIP codes
- Membership sharing
- Prime Music
- Prime Now
- Prime photos
- Prime pantry
- Amazon Elements
- Prime Early Access
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
- Kindle First
- Deals and Discounts, Compliments of Amazon Mom
Don’t know where to start? These are the top three shows to binge-watch according to Ranker.com, a site that allows users to rank things by voting them up or down. If none of these shows interest you, visit their website for other top suggestions.
8 steps for successful binge watching
Binge watching takes the some preparation and tools to make it worth your while. Below are 8 steps to a successful binge-watching marathon.
1. Shorts over pants, always. Wear shorts, not pants. Patrick Varone at Harper’s Bazaar swears by this. He recommends something loose fitting that can breathe, and he says to make sure it has elastic. This helps with the next step…
2. Snacks, not meals. Stock your refrigerator with all kinds of snacks and drinks. Binge-watching usually doesn’t go well with real meals, so stick to things that come in bags and packages. Pack comfort food for those drama series.
3. Lights off, movies on. Close the blinds, sunshine and binge-watching don’t work well together. Be careful when opening them afterward. Open them slowly to avoid giving your eyes and body sun-shock.
4. Get comfy before you begin. Get all the pillows and blankets you could possibly need, and put them next to you. The better you stock up, the less you have to leave during your marathon.
Photo by A-BRIT-IN-WONDERLAND.TUMBLR.COM via giphy.com
5. Once you’re hot, you’re uncomfortable. If needed, arrange your fan in the perfect position and remember to keep the remote next to you.
6. You don’t want to get homework texts in the middle of your episode. Put your phone on airplane mode to avoid those useless and time-wasting text messages from your mom and your friends. The dishes can wait, Mom, I’m busy here.
7. If the laptop dies, everyone cries. If you’re watching your binge session on a device that could die, be proactive and grab the charger before you start. Rid yourself of any unnecessary interruptions.
8. Don’t forget to turn off your alarm. You never know how long you’ll be awake and watching, and at 7 a.m., you might just be getting to the most most exciting part of the season.
Now, pick a worthy show with at least 3 seasons to watch and begin your marathon. Happy Binging!
Physical effects of binge watching
Senior Maika’ike English recorded his latest binge watching session just for us.
While Binge-watching might feel good while you’re doing it, there are some not-so-good effects of it.
All that sitting and lounging around, could be doing things to your body — bad things.
For instance, according to Alice Park of Time.com, hours spent sitting “can increase the risk of developing diabetes by 3.4 percent.”
But that isn’t all.
Sitting and watching Netflix, may seem harmless; however, it could affect your body in 5 other ways:
- Galen Cranz, a posture expert and professor at the University of California Berkeley says that sitting can curve your spine, and keeping it like that too long could cause cramping, aching muscles, and smushed organs. A solution? Find a recliner. It’ll allow your back to keep its natural shape.
- Avoid getting fat by avoiding the Food Network, seriously. “A six-year U.S. study found that for every two hours of TV you watch a day, you’re 23 percent more likely to become obese,” says Arianna Cohen in her article on physical effects of binge-watching.
- You’re a zombie. According to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, being in front of a fluorescent light for a typical binge before bed makes you less sleepy and more groggy. Try daytime binging to avoid zombie life.
- You won’t die if you miss a binge, but you might if you don’t even stop. Australian researchers at the University of Queensland found that every single hour of TV watching after the age of 25, can reduce life expectancy by almost 22 minutes, on average. Watch less, live longer.
- Don’t forget to breathe. Sitting shrinks lung capacity by a third, if you sit with a pillow behind your back, it’ll open up your lungs.
I haven’t even gotten started on the psychological effects of binge watching, but if you’re interested, read this excellent article at Time.com.
“One time I missed my cousin’s wedding because I thought my Netflix marathon was far more important… and it was.” –Kaiulani Cambra, grade 11
“I binge watch Hawaii 5-0 for about 4 hours every day because I have nothing better to do.” –Blake Fukumoto, grade 12
“Push 10 of EPI…(Grey’s Anatomy reference)” –Kasey Redman, grade 12
“Instead of studying, I binge watch Disney movies on Netflix.” –Kulana Wilhelm, grade 12
“I finished the whole series of Grey’s Anatomy in two weeks.” –Kamalei Roback, grade 10
“I binge watch The Clock in class.” –Rylie Velez, grade 12
“I finished American Horror Story in two days.” –Maverick Akana, grade 9
“Empire is my life.” –Kayla Sniffen, grade 11
“Last summer I watched 19 seasons of three different TV shows.” –Sophia Maddera, grade 11
“I finished 4 seasons of 90210 in a week.” –Kyana Nagasako, grade 10