For the past few years more and more people have been cutting or downgrading their cable and satellite TV service and saving hundreds each year. This trend is occurring because people are cutting back on expenses due to the economy and the fact that are now many alternatives which let to watch your favorite shows online.
The fact is that there are lots of people who watch just a handful of the channels available in their 200 channel lineup which cost $50 or more a month. If many of their favorite shows from the channels they do watch are available online then they lose very little by cutting their cable TV.
Below are just some of a few main alternatives to your current cable or satellite TV service.
Netflix started off as an online DVD rental service but now the company is also a full-fledged video streaming service too. For just $7.99 per month you can watch tens of thousands of movies and TV shows that are available instantly for streaming. Add $2 per month and you can also rent 1 DVD out at a time.
What makes Netflix so popular is their large selection and how many devices support their service. The list includes the PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Blu-ray Players, iPhones, iPads and many Internet enabled HDTVs. In addition you can also watch Netflix on your computer too.
The selection of movies and TV shows on Netflix is huge and many are in high definition if you have a fast enough Internet connection. However you usually have to wait a while after a movie is released on DVD before they are available for instant streaming. This is why many opt for the $9.99 plan what lets you rent out 1 DVD at a time.
Though many popular TV shows that are still running are made available just days after being broadcasted. One reason why many people are signing up for Netflix and cancelling their cable bill since they can watch their favorite cable TV shows on Netflix.
Hulu is another popular streaming service which lets you watch TV shows and movies online. The basic service is free, you just have to sit through a few ads throughout the show. Generally there’s a single commercial every 10 or 15 minutes.
They do also offer a paid service called Hulu Plus for $7.99 a month. It offers a lot more TV shows and movies, with some available in HD, Plus it lets you watch on more devices like the Xbox 360, PS3, iPad and iPhone. The ads are still there though for many TV shows and movies.
While the library of shows and movies aren’t as vast as Netflix’s, Hulu still offers a large select of TV shows which are only available on cable channels. Many people use the basic free service to watch TV shows which aren’t available on Netflix.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Recently, Amazon launched Amazon Prime Instant Video to compete with Netflix. One of the great things about the service is that it’s already included with the Amazon Prime Service at no extra cost. So not only do Amazon Prime members get free 2 day shipping on all items sold directly by Amazon or are fulfilled by Amazon, they now have unlimited viewing of over 5,000 movies and TV shows. The current library isn’t quite as big as Netflix but more content is being added regularly.
Also more and more devices are adding support for the Amazon Instant Video service, including new HDTVs and Blu-ray players. So you can watch the shows on your TV and other devices too and not just your computer.
A membership to Amazon Prime is $79 a year, which equals $6.58 a month. Since it also comes with the shipping benefits on Amazon.com, the video streaming service is actually cheaper than that if you also regularly buy items from Amazon.com.
Watch Episodes on the TV Show’s or Station’s Website
These days more and more episodes of TV shows are also made available free online for viewing on the show’s or TV station’s website. Generally you can watch a new episode online a day or two after it is broadcasted. Just visit the official website of a TV show to see if you can watch the episodes online.
Some channels like ESPN also streams sporting events live online. ESPN’s online streaming service is called ESPN3. However to access ESPN3, you must have Internet service from a list of supported providers.
Over The Air Broadcast TV
If you haven’t hooked an antenna up to your TV for a long time now, you may be surprised at how many channels there are now. This is because after the transition to digital broadcasting you can fit multiple sub channels onto a single channel.
This means a single TV channel can have anywhere from 2 to 5 channels or even more all broadcasting different programs. Often a TV station won’t use all the available channels, so they’ll rent the extra space out to smaller stations which were only available previously on cable or satellite TV.
To check out what broadcast TV channels are available in your area and their lineup, just go to TitanTV.com and enter your zip code. Of course whether or not you can receive all the channels in your area depends on factors such as the antenna you have, how far away you are from the broadcasting towers, and whether there are tall trees or mountains around your home blocking the signal.
In a lot of homes, people can tune into a majority of the stations with just a tiny indoor antenna and don’t have to put a large antenna on their roof. A good thing about digital broadcasting is that there’s no loss of quality as long as you can get a decent signal. So if you get a 60% signal strength from a channel it would look just as clear as a 100% signal strength.
For information on which TV antenna is right for you and in which direction you should point it to receive the best signal, visit AntennaWeb.org.