Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cable TV Alternatives for a Shoestring Budget

OK so someone asked me today if I knew of any great alternatives to cable. Sure I do! There are many great alternatives to cable. I decided to make a list of my favorites.

Take note, you may need other equipment or services such as an HD antenna, a Smart TV, a gaming console, a laptop, and an internet connection. You will need a high speed internet connection for all options other than local TV. You also have the option of streaming services on you laptop and plugging that into your HDTV. Smart TV's have internet capabilities so work great with these services.

Sure, these arent all the options but these are a few that I use and they are all completely legal!

1. Network Websites- Want to catch a show go directly to the source. Most networks post their hit shows for free on their website so go check them out! VH1, Bravo, NBC, BET and many other networks air most of their popular shows right on their website.

Pro: You can watch both local and cable network shows absolutely free!

Con: You wont be able to catch the shows as they air. You may have to catch the show from the next day up to the following week. You may not have access to old episodes. You wont have access to many premium channel networks like HBO, Showtime(Showtime does let you sample select full episodes)and, Starz without a cable subscription.

2. Netflix- My husband loves NETFLIX! We never get bored with the great selection from them. You can find TV shows, Movies, Documentaries, etc. all in one place.

Pro: You have access to instant streaming for only $7.99 a month, add DVD's by mail for around $10. You can keep the DVD as long as you like and when you send it back your next DVD is on the way....these folks are super fast! You have access on many devices. It is compatible with gaming systems such as XBox, PS3, and Wii. It is also available on many droid devices, it works great on my HTC EVO.

Con: While you may watch episode after episode and season after season you wont find the current season on Netflix. Some titles are instant and other titles you will have to request by mail. If you put off a movie you want to see be aware it may not be available instantly the next time you go to watch it. I don't know often they cycle their instant content but be aware it is cycled so if your too late you may have to order it by mail.

3. Hulu- Hulu is a great site very similar to Netflix but free! Hulu is an online video service that offers a selection of hit shows, clips, movies and more. Hulu is free and legal through advertising that advertising runs during normal commercial breaks. Hulu acquires the rights to distribute its videos, making them available to users legally. Hulu Plus is an ad-supported subscription service that offers current and back season shows from ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, and MTV to connected devices for $7.99 monthly.

Pro: Hulu is absolutely free! It is now compatible with PS3,(Yay! just found this out)iPad, and iPhone. It will soon be available on XBox 360 and Android devices.

Con: Hulu's free content isn't as large as Hulu Plus or Netflix. Its not yet available on other gaming consoles or Droid devices. Hulu is not available internationally or in Canada. Hulu states, "We've always been very public about our intentions of being an international service, but do not have any details to share at this time."

4. XfinityTV(Formerly Fancast)- Extremely similar to Hulu, in fact there is some sort of relationship between the two websites. This webservice is owned by Comcast.

Pro: Much of the programming is free. Fancast seems to have free programming available that you would find on Hulu plus at cost.

Con: Some programming is locked and only available to Comcast subscribers. Doesn't seem to be available on any other devices other than the PC, iPad, and iPhone.

5. RedBox- Movies cost just a dollar per day. There is no sign-up, all you need is a credit/debit card. You can find many of the latest DVD Movie releases at RedBox.
Did you know that McDonalds owns RedBox?

Pro: You can get free RedBox movies with the Redbox movie codes issued every week. RedBox now offers games for $2.

Con: People have had issues with receiving the wrong movie from people returning bogus DVD's back to the machine. Some are saying that they have been returning their DVD's on time, but the machine is not recognizing the ID sticker and not giving them credit for the return. Some people have been charged an additional dollar for every day that they thought they had the discs and then RedBox charges them for the cost of the DVD. I haven't experienced any of these issues but did have a problem returning a video because the kiosk was full. It was an inconvenience because we had to drive further to another kiosk.

6. Local TV- all you need is an HD antenna and you are in business!

Pro: You can watch all the major local networks(depending on your reception)absolutely free. You can watch the local network shows as they air. You get a few bonus channels on almost every network station you recieve with the HD antenna. This is the only way I know how you can watch sports without cable service.

Con: Your channel lineup may vary depending on your geographic location and antenna. No cable networks. Definitely not a huge selection.

There are a ton of ways to get your TV fix on a Shoestring budget, these were a few of my favorite and completely legal ways. Best Blogger Tips
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