The Top Three Best Digital Services to Enjoy Your Favorite Hobbies

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More than at any other time in our history as a species, human beings have developed ample techniques to enhance the fine art of eating up time. Whether we’re talking about watching movies, listening to music, or reading a book, the options for maximizing our time spent enjoying some quality wasted time have soared to even greater heights. And why shouldn’t they? We’re at the point now where technology allows us to achieve common tasks much more quickly and efficiently, so why not take advantage of all the time that modern developments have freed up?

When it comes to getting the most out of our hobbies, there are plenty of options that can help us along the way, and allow us to quickly and easily access the things we love. It used to be if you were a book lover, that you’d have to either go buy a paperback or take a trip to the library. If you were a movie fan, your choices were either the theater, video store, or wait until it aired on cable TV. Now, we have ebook readers and streaming video.

It’s truly a great time to indulge in digital pastimes, and to help you get even more enjoyment out of the hobbies you already love, I’ve put together this list of the three best entertainment apps and services, and looked at both what makes them great and what you need to be wary of, to help you explore the things you love.

1) Comixology

No matter if you’re into superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, indie, romance, horror, manga, or whatever, there’s something on Comixology for everyone. The digital comics distributor maintains a list of over 200 million different titles available. They also maintain partnerships with a wide array of different publishers, including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, Top Cow, Oni, Digital Manga Publishing, Viz Media, Kodansha, and many more.

Their app allows you to not only access their store, and purchase your title, but also read your library on your native viewer, be it your computer, phone, or TV. While the Comixology app doesn’t work on most ebook readers, like the Kindle, their partnership with Amazon means that when you buy a title through Comixology, you will also gain access to it through Amazon’s Kindle service in a separate library. Certain publishers, like Image, also allow you to download your titles, and transfer them between devices, while other, like Marvel and DC, require that you are connected to the internet, and read your book through your browser or the app.

While you can always buy titles individually, you can also opt into Comixology Unlimited, a monthly subscription service that allows you to access 50,000 individual issues and collections. The only real drawback to Comixology is that you can only download certain titles to your device, but not others. Since Comixology swaps out their catalog from time to time, there is a risk that you’ll lose some of the books that you’ve paid for (though they will offer you your money back), so just be aware of that.

2) Kodi

One of the most difficult aspects of being a media connoisseur is that you have to deal with so many different formats. Videos can come in .wmv, .avi, .asf, QuickTime, and many others, while images can come in variations such as .jpeg, .png, .gif, and several others. The problems start to arise when you try to view or play different media and find that your viewer doesn’t support that format. You can download multiple apps and programs, for multiple formats, but it’s time-consuming, and you have to jump from program to program and eat up your CPU and RAM. With Kodi, you can do it all in one place.

Kodi is an open-source, 100% free media player that allows you to play almost any formatted media file in existence on the same device. It’s perfect for your home theater and personal computer because you can indulge in your favorite movies, TV shows, music, and photos by yourself, or with your whole family. Kodi also allows you to install add-ons to access different media, including Pluto.TV, HDHomeRun, Crackle, Plex, and many other. Kodi is also very customizable to your aesthetic and interface preferences and can be installed on a wide variety of streaming devices, including the Amazon Fire Stick.

3) Kindle Unlimited

For you heavy readers and bibliophiles out there, there’s nothing else on the market that even comes close to comparing to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99 a month, you can access over 1 million (yes, million) different titles across print books, new magazines, and audio books. Kindle Unlimited will also work on any device you have, including your Kindle (obviously), computer, phone, iPod, and even your home TV. The service will also allow you to download 10 books at a time onto your preferred device so that you can take them on the go.

Be aware – the only real drawback to Kindle Unlimited is that there are many authors and books, that you can still access through the Kindle Store, that isn’t available through the Kindle Unlimited program. You may love Stephen King, and can even read a few of his recent stories through the program, but if you were hoping to get his classic tales, such as The Stand, Salem’s Lot, It, Carrie, or The Shining, you’re out of the luck. The same goes for Cormac McCarthy and his masterpieces Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road.

Your best bet to ensure that you get the most bang for your buck through your subscription is to compile a list of your favorite authors, or the books you’re most interested in reading, and do a search to see if they’re available before you subscribe. You’ll save time, money, and the disappoint of expecting to find the titles you want, only to realize you’ll still have to pay extra to read them.

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