BE POLITE: Browse for programs on your tablet or phone

Keeping peace in the house is pretty important right now. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors, possibly more than you spent all summer. That may seem impossible, but take the state of the world and add cold weather to it. It seems like a smart idea to try to do a few little things to keep your family happy.

You have the power

You have the power to make the living room a more civil place using the technology you already have. One way to start… is to make sure you’re not bothering someone else when you’re looking for the next thing you want to watch. Your phone or tablet will really help you here.


DIRECTV’s app for smartphones and tablets has become a very mature portal. While it’s evolved to let you watch TV no matter where you are… that may not be the most important thing about it right now.

As you can see from the screen at top, the DIRECTV apps give you a full guide right in the palm of your hand. There’s a built-in remote control if you want to use it, too. With this app you can browse for programs without making the rest of the people in your household wince. Scroll to find what you’re looking for quickly and everyone will be happy. The app usually takes about 10 seconds to properly load but once it does, you will get a faster search experience than you would have using the remote.

You can search for programs and even set up recordings for the future. That means a lot more peace and quiet in the home, as you don’t fight over the physical remote.

DISH users

DISH’s app, now called “DISH Anywhere,” looks surprisingly like DIRECTV’s, once you get past the corporate red vs. blue that distinguishes the two. Like the DIRECTV app, you can browse for programs, watch recorded TV, and schedule new programs. Searching is easy with an on-screen keyboard. While the app experience is mostly designed for out-of-home, it’s a very competent “second screen” for when a trip to the living room is about all you’ll get.

In the past, DISH had two apps. DISH Explorer was designed to be the in-home, second-screen experience while DISH Anywhere was designed of out-of-home streaming. The two apps were combined a while back for a more well-rounded experience.

Streaming users

For a similar experience while you’re streaming, I prefer the JustWatch app. It’s available for free for Android and Apple. While it’s not perfect, it’s been the best option in my opinion for some time.

You tell it all the apps you have and then you can search. It will tell you what apps you’ll find that content on. It’s generally right and will even include results from DIRECTV and DISH on demand.

It’s all free

The best part of this is that all these apps are free. They’re available for pretty much every major device. It’s easy to download them from your device’s app store or play store, too. At a time when an easy win seems like a good idea, you’ll find that using these apps will really help you.

This is just the kind of thing that keeps everyone happy in the house… you get to search for the perfect thing to watch while everyone else in the room gets to watch TV in peace. What could be better?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.