With cable bills averaging over $50 and internet-TV combo packages costing over $100 you may be asking yourself is it time to ditch the cable. Before you make that decision you will need to make sure you have the right equipment and that your favorite programs are available. If you are a news junkie or a sports fan the options are limited however, if you want a good selection of TV Shows and movies you'll want to look at these options.
Video Streaming Services
Amazon Prime: Amazon Prime offers subscribers video streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows without any imitations. Prime subscribers also receive one free Kindle book per month from the Kindle owner’s lending library. Amazon Prime subscribers also receive free two day shipping on items purchased online from Amazon.com. Rumor has it that Amazon is developing a low-cost set-top box to stream video that will compete with similar devices from Roku. You can try Amazon Prime free with a one-month free trial and then pay a yearly subscription fee of $79.
Hulu.com: The free version of Hulu offers one of the best collections of TV Show episodes and movies on the internet. Hulu Plus, a newly launched $7.99 monthly subscription service, allows users to watch a full season of some of your favorite TV shows and stream them to your iPhone 4, iPad, xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
Netflix.com: Netflix is the largest online streaming video service with over 23 Million subscribers. Customers pay a flat monthly payment of $7.99 for unlimited access to movies and TV Shows, currently ad-free. The service is available on Nintendo Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony PS3 consoles, Blu-ray disc players, Internet-connected TVs, and many other Internet-supported video players.
Xbox Live: If you have a teenager in the house chances are you have an Xbox so your equipment cost will be less. Options available include: free and pay services such as: Netflix, RedBox Instant, Hulu Plus, ESPN, Amazon Instant and others. You can sign-up for Xbox Live for as little as $5 per month.
Cheaper Alternatives to Cable TV
Network TV: Most major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS offer many popular TV Show episodes and movies for free. Current episodes are usually available by the next day and only for a limited time. You can watch network TV on your laptop or mobile device for free or stream to your TV with a networked media device. As networks continue to find ways to profit from their content, access to free content will be limited. An example is NBC Sports Live Extra programming will only be available to authenticated cable, satellite and telco customers via TV Everywhere.
Amazon Instant Video: A free service from Amazon lets you buy single episodes, season packs, or movies. Amazon Instant Video is compatible on hundreds of HDTVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and gaming consoles. You can also watch Amazon Instant Video on your Kindle tablet or Apple iPhone, iPad or iTouch anywhere there is WiFi.
iTunes: With iTunes (software is free, price for content varies), you can buy or rent single episodes or full seasons of your favorite television shows. You can download content now and watch later on any device you connect to your Apple account.
Google Play: Similar to iTunes, Google Play has sections for music, eBooks, eMagazines, android apps, movies and TV Shows.
Smart TV: If you have a Smart TV you have all you need to begin watching streaming video and ditch the Cable TV bill.
Readers: Have you thought about dropping the Cable TV? What is preventing you? If you have dropped cable, what has your experience been like?