How to Get Rid of Cable (and Not Miss It)

Posted on May 14, 2011

0


With so many ways to watch TV content online for free, it surprises me that cable services can still be so expensive. Most people are tied up in long-term contracts, paying for a lot more content then they’ll ever see. In reality, most of us only watch a select few channels, if that. There are many online services, both free and paid, that will help you get rid of that annoying cable bill without feeling like you’ve lost all your entertainment.

Free Services

Hulu

I’m assuming most of you know what Hulu is so I won’t go into much detail about it, but I think many still haven’t used Hulu Desktop. It’s a program that organizes Hulu content on your computer in a way that you can read the menus and show listings from your couch (perfect for HTPCs). What’s more, if you already have an IR remote to control your HTPC, you can also use it to control Hulu Desktop! You can get Hulu Desktop for free here.

Websites

There are countless websites that stream live TV for free, more than I could ever list here. The main reason I use these sites are for sporting events, specifically NBA games (and more specifically, the Miami Heat!). The quality is hit or miss, but most of the time, I can find a decent stream of just about any game. There’s always the day I get lucky and find an HD stream (they look awesome). Here are some of my favorite sites for streaming live TV:

  1. Veetle – requires free plug-in
  2. Fromsport – usually has multiple streams of big games (I usually open each one and find the best)
  3. Slipstream – a new site I recently came across. So far, it has been very reliable
  4. Justin.tv – not my favorite, but it works
  5. ATDHE – similar to Fromsport

Although these websites are not, strictly speaking, legal, they are a great option when you are in a financial pinch and don’t have the means to pay for cable. However, there are websites that legally offer free movies and other entertainment. Two sites worth trying are Clicker.tv (think TV Guide for all internet video) and ESPN3 (make sure you internet service provider allows you to use the ESPN service). With minimal effort, I was able to find the movie “Ghostbusters” for free through Clicker:


Paid Services

Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus adds more episodes to TV shows. At only $7.99 a month, it’s not a bad route to go, considering how much some people pay for their cable service each month. I’ve never felt the need to subscribe to the service, but if you do, check it out here.

Netflix

Netflix is another popular service that most people know about. Gaining market share primarily through DVD rentals early on, they have now moved their focus to streaming video to households. Boasting thousands of movies and TV shows, Netflix has a lot going for it. If you only want to use their service for video streaming, you only have to pay $7.99 a month. For more information, visit their site here.

Other Services: Amazon Video on Demand, Blockbuster, and VUDU

Amazon has carved out a nice little niche in the video streaming market with Video on Demand. They offer movies and TV shows in both standard and high definition. Netflix still has the edge over Amazon at this point, though.

Believe it or not, Blockbuster is still around, trying to stay alive. Their streaming options are very similar to Amazon Video on Demand. The same can be said for VUDU. If that wasn’t enough, both YouTube and Facebook have recently begun renting out movies. Clearly, there is no shortage of options when it comes to streaming online content.

Streaming Devices

Don’t have a home theater PC? Not to worry. There are many devices that are capable of at least one, if not several of the services mentioned above. You might already own one of these devices without even knowing it. Both Netflix and Hulu Plus can be streamed to many different devices, including several video game consoles, Blu ray players and devices known as set-top boxes. Popular set-top boxes include the Roku and the Western Digital TV Live Plus, Apple TV, and there are countless others, depending on your preferences. They each have their pros and cons. For example, one reason I really like the new Apple TV is because it will be able to stream NBA League Pass and MLB.tv.

We live in a time where just about anything we watch through cable can be found on the web for much cheaper, if not completely free. Take advantage and save some money!

Advertisements
Posted in: Movies, TV Shows