Start tracking your favorite TV shows

If you're a television fan, you probably spend considerable time following your favorite shows. And if you're using these sites, you're probably doing a good job of it.

The television season is about to arrive full force.

Soon, most of your favorite television shows, as well as new series, will be making their way into your home. But if you're unsure when your show will come back, you want to catch up, or you simply want to track the show as the season progresses, I have you covered with some great sites.

Let's check them out.

Tracking TV

Hulu...There are few better ways to track your favorite shows than to watch them on Hulu, which is backed by NBC Universal, ABC, and Fox.

Thanks to strategic partnerships that Hulu inked with networks, finding and watching your favorite shows is quick and easy. And since the site is ad-supported, you won't need to worry about doling out cash to watch your shows.

I spend considerable time on Hulu. I caught up with last season's of "Family Guy" on the site. The videos run well. The ads, while a necessary evil, aren't that bad. And the quality is outstanding. Even better, you can embed Hulu videos into your blog, making it a great platform to share your favorite shows with friends.

Hulu
Hulu has outstanding video quality. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

MyTVRSS...When you first get to MyTVRSS, you'll probably be a little sickened by its design. A black background sitting behind pink type makes the site an extremely unattractive target for your attention. But once you realize you'll spend very little time there, you'll get past it.

MyTVRSS lists every television show currently in production. When you click on one of the links on that site, you'll find a show summary, information on the last episode that aired (assuming it isn't a new show), and the series premiere's date and time. Unfortunately, not all the show listings are as informative as I would have liked. For instance, the site's "The Office" page was great. But its "30 Rock" page didn't feature nearly as much information. Your mileage will vary.

As you sift through all the shows on the site, you can pick those series that you watch most often by checking the box next to their titles. At the bottom of the page is a "Create Feed" option. When you click that button, you'll receive a unique RSS feed that you can add to your reader. That feed will alert you when your shows air. For someone like me who easily forgets a favorite show is on, it's a nice service to have.

MyTVRSS
MyTVRSS is certainly an ugly site. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

RerunCheck...If you want to find out if your favorite shows will be new this week or if they're in reruns, RerunCheck is the place to go.

When you get to RerunCheck, you'll find a search box. Simply input the name of your favorite shows and the site will let you know whether the next episode will be new this week. I searched the site for some of my favorite shows ("The Office," for one) and each time, it delivered accurate information. First it said whether or not the episode was new and followed that with when it will be aired this week. Overall, the search was quick and the information provided, while simple, was all I needed.

RerunCheck
RerunCheck will tell you if a show is new this week. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

TV.com...This site is a fine resource for following all your favorite shows online.

TV.com--part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET--features news, reviews, and a lot of really interesting content to help you track your shows, get updates on new shows, and more. One of my favorite features on the site is its HD videos section. There, you will find celebrity interviews and Hollywood news.

If you want to catch up on some of your favorite CBS shows, you can watch full episodes on the site. I watched the finale of "NCIS" and the video loaded quickly. It was a nice experience. If you want to watch shows from other networks, TV.com sports episode clips. You can also read synopses on different series if you don't have time to watch a video. TV.com boasts several great features. Check it out.

TV.com
TV.com features episode clips, synopses, and more. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

TV Guide...Before the Internet took hold, TV Guide was the way to learn about what was happening in the television business. Nowadays, the company's Web site is providing a stellar service for that same purpose.

If you simply want to see which shows will be airing, TV Guide will help you out. But when you click on each listing, you'll find a brief synopsis of the show you plan to watch. If you want to learn more about the series, you can click the "more" link. That brings you to the show's individual listing page, which includes when it will be on the air, and, surprisingly, shopping sites, so you can buy show-related merchandise on sites like eBay.

Aside from listings, TV Guide features news on the television industry. It also has some interesting editorial content and features that any television lover might like. I think it's the editorial content that sets the site apart from some of its competition. It's high quality and quite informative.

TV Guide
TV Guide features some interesting content on its listing pages. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Yahoo TV...This is a really good site that provides everything from episode clips to show reviews.

What I liked most about Yahoo TV has nothing to do with its content: the site's design is fantastic. Finding what you're looking for takes seconds, thanks to a handy navigation bar at the top of the page. An arranged list of modules helps you quickly find your favorite shows.

When it comes to features, Yahoo TV is close to the front of the pack. The site's TV listings let you know what's on in your area. The site's news is extremely informative. And by partnering with Hulu, Yahoo TV lets you watch full episodes on the site. I watched a few shows. Overall, I wasn't too impressed with the video quality. It also would have been nice if the pages featured some readily available plot synopses while the show aired. Other than that, I liked Yahoo TV.

Yahoo TV
Yahoo TV features great show pages. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Zap2It...This site features everything from schedules to news to ratings that any TV buff would care about.

Figuring out exactly what you're looking for on Zap2It can be difficult because the site is so big. You'll find just about everything about the world of television on the site. If you want to learn a little bit about your favorite shows, you can use the search box at the top of the page to find the show you want. If you're interested to see how your shows are performing in the ratings, the site lists the top-20 performers for the week on the main page. And if you simply want to catch up on shows you missed, each series has its own recap page so you can do just that.

I was generally impressed with the content on Zap2It. I searched for news on the new "Jay Leno Show," and the site returned several relevant results. Each page also features previews of episodes that haven't yet aired. For the most part, those brief descriptions were welcome. Overall, I liked Zap2It.

Zap2It
Zap2It has some great content you'll want to check out at least once. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. TV.com: So the company that signs my paycheck wins out. Sure, had to happen, right? I would be skeptical too. But trust me, TV.com has all the features, including videos, news, editorial, and programming listings, that makes it the leader in this extremely competitive space.

2. Hulu: There's very little better than watching all your favorite shows for free whenever you want.

3. TV Guide: TV Guide sports some of the finest features of any site in this roundup. Its listings page is second to none.

 

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