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TLC

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tlc.com

The television channel, TLC is a company owned by Discovery. Instead of science and nature, the channel hosts shows about lifestyles, family life, and personal stories. Their reality stars are everyday people, living their everyday lives. Some hit shows they have produced are 90 Day Fiance, Cake Boss, and Dr. Pimple Popper.

Originally, TLC started like Discovery and showed more educational shows. It was founded in 1972. Over the years it evolved. In 1980 the network began taking baby steps away from educational topics. They still aired shows primarily focused on education, but also dipped their toes in home and home improvement topics.

By the late 1990s, it switched over to featuring more reality television. The name changed from the Learning Channel to TLC and the big shift in content came. Shows like Paleo world and True Detectives were replaced with titles like Trading Spaces, Junkyard Wars, and A Wedding Story.

The early and late 2000s brought more change in content. The early 2000s brought more home decor series. In later years, TLC shifted to more reality content. Shows like 17 Kids and Counting, Toddlers and Tiaras, Cake Boss, and Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo took over the majority of programming time.

Website Design

The website design is good. Nothing too flashy is going on that distracts viewers. It’s very easy to find your favorite shows. The search bar is easy to find, which is always a plus. You can also click a drop-down menu that shows the most popular titles on TLC.

As for ads, there is only one moderate-sized advertisement at the top of the page. In videos, there are some frustrating ones, as well. For people who have memberships, they should not include the ads.

The background is a sleek and modern black. The featured programs are blocked out nicely. The first program is largely featured near the top, and as you scroll the rest of the shows are blocked in a consistent pattern and size.

Navigation is simple. The top menu reads from left to right – Shows, Schedule, TLC Me, Sign In, and another dropdown menu with alternative options. It is readable and pleasant to interact with.

Content

For reality television fans, TLC is the best network and streaming service. The amount of reality tv the website hosts is a lot. The content varies from older shows that aired in the early 2010s to shows that are currently airing.

Another facet of the website allows you to sign up to be on their shows. If you click on the casting button on the extra menu, you can find postings in search of people for multiple shows. 90 Day Fiance seems to always be having a casting call. A few other shows that are currently looking for people are Smothered, Seeking Sister Wife, Drag Me, Four Weddings, and Dr. Pimple Popper.

Although the library of television shows is vast, be prepared to watch a small fraction of it. Unless you have a cable television membership, the site won’t allow you access to very many of their videos. Luckily, I have a membership and could access the full amount of shows.

Desktop & Mobile Accessibility

Desktop accessibility is good. Navigation is great and the website is not frustrating to use. The design is modern and sleek. The logo is clear and recognizable. Getting to videos is simple. In the top left-hand corner, TLC lets you know what is live on their television channel, which is a nice touch.

The mobile browser version is just a scaled-down version of the desktop. It is essentially the same. Overall, it is uncomplicated to use. The mobile browser version asks if you would like to download the app. The only main difference is that there are a couple more advertisements as you scroll between shows.

I obliged and tried the application, as well. The app, named TLC Go, works well. The TLC logo sits in the top left corner and the search bar mirrors it on the other side. There is a menu that is collapsible that offers the options of – Home, Shows, Watch Live, Continue Watching, Favorite Shows, Watch Later, Browse, and Setting.

Out of all three options, the mobile app is the best way to go. The viewing experience is optimized in this version. Nothing is wrong with the other two versions, but out of the three, the app is best.

Positives

This streaming site has quite a few positives to using it. Firstly, the number of episodes available to members is large and spans a large number of years. There are titles available on the streaming service that no longer play on the television.

Another interesting feature of TLC is that they allow members to watch full episodes on their website before it airs on television. For reality tv addicts, this is a huge plus! This feature is often underutilized, but from now on it is something I will consider doing in the future.

On the website, there is the option to sign up as a part of the TLC cast. The process is simple, you email the corresponding address with reasonings of why you should be chosen to be featured on the show, along with a recent photo of yourself. They will reach out to you if you fit the guidelines of what they are looking for. They regularly update their casting calls.

The mobile app for TLC is one of the best features. It has seamless navigation and multiple useful features. The Watch Live feature is one of the nicer options. If you are out and about and can’t make it home before your must-see show comes on, you can watch it anywhere as it airs!

Negatives

An unfortunate issue with the website is that if you do not have a cable membership you cannot sign in to watch newer episodes. It greatly limits your options to mostly advertisements for the shows. Even episodes from 2017 are locked. This is undoubtedly the worst part of the website.

Video quality is hit or miss with TLC. One moment it is working fine, while the next it is blurry. When the video quality does come through it looks amazing. Audio, on the other hand, audio is a different story. It is not good quality no matter what settings are changed.

Even if you are a subscriber, you still have to sit through ads. They take forever. Ads are normal for streaming sites. However, these skip the entire time making the wait time even longer.

Improvements Needed

There are a few improvements that could make the TLC streaming service a little more enjoyable. It would be nice to see them put more episodes on as available to people without a membership. Restricting shows from years ago is off-putting for new possible subscribers.

Another big improvement TLC could use is to improve the video and audio quality. It would be the best improvement they could make for long-time viewers. It is unacceptable that people who pay for the service are unable to watch without the video unexplainably blurring and audio sounding muffled.

Likes & Hates:
The mobile app is one of the best streaming apps I’ve seen
The reality television content is large
The option to watch full episodes before they premiere on television is nice
You can become part of the TLC cast by following the casting call instructions online
Unless you have a cable or satellite tv subscription you can’t access most shows
The advertisements in the middle of the shows are annoying
Video and audio quality are bad