Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stop paying for cable

Lindsey Treffry | The Communicator

According to Wired Magazine, the cost of cable per year is $1643.16 while satellite is $1463.88. Here are some ways to avoid these costs altogether.

-Hulu, although this service only streams NBC, News Corp, and Disney programs, it offers recent episodes of shows like The Office, Family Guy, and SNL. The new Hulu Plus account enables you to stream full series of new and classic episodes though Wi-Fi and 3G phones, iPads, internet televisions, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles.

Cost? $8 a month for Hulu Plus account; free to watch the most recent episode of a show you missed (some offered the same day or a week later than the television premiere).

-Netflix streams new and classic movies and TV shows through your computer, gaming console, Apple products, TiVo or Blu-ray player. Once you pay the account cost, ordering movies and shows costs no extra. Not all shows and movies are available, and it can take a month to two years for Netflix to release a movie (or not at all).

Cost? $8 a month for a basic Netflix account, $10 to be able to rent 1 DVD at a time (there is a bigger library of shows and movies if you choose this option), and the price rises per number of DVDs to rent. There is a "limited account" that allows 1 DVD at a time, but only allows you to stream 2 hours of shows a month on your computer (unlike the unlimited time of other accounts).

Gaming consoles:
-PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii are no longer simple systems that play Gran Turismo, Halo, and Rayman Raving Rabbids. These consoles now can play DVDs and all have a Netflix application, where you can stream Netflix straight from your wireless internet connection to your television.

Cost? $8 a month for a basic Netflix account (no extra cost if you already own a gaming console); $199 - $399 for a new console. The console will pay for itself within two to four months once your cable/satellite subscription has been cancelled.

Other options:
-Internet boxes: Apple TV is among other "net-connected boxes" that connects you from iTunes to your television or computer. From the iTunes store you can pay $1.99 per episode. Other boxes include Roku (connected to Netflix, Amazon, and MLB.TV), and TiVo connects to related services as well as cable shows.

-Vudu: A Walmart-owned service that allows you to rent or buy movies. The only hitch is you must buy a television or Blu-ray player that has Vudu built in. Shows and movies range from $1.99 to $4.99 and $9.99 to $19.99 to purchase.

-ESPN 3: is the home for all ESPN sports: live shows, upcoming previews, and replays. It's completely free and HD.

-Mobile television: Smartphones now offer portable television. Bitbop for Blackberrys, Flo TV for AT&T and Verizon plans, and Sprint TV for your Sprint phone. Not sure what service to choose when it comes to watching television sans cable? is a TV Guide for the internet. You can search your favorite shows and see what services (between Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, or itself) offer them. This may make your choice easier.

As seen in issue 42.5 of The Communicator

No comments:

Post a Comment