Tips, tricks and tutorials for the technology you use everyday

Ditch Your Cable and Stream TV for Much Less

One of the best ways you can save money this year is by getting rid of your cable television and switching to a set top box. Set top boxes allow you to stream TV shows and other content via the internet. They offer a much more personalized experience of watching TV and are a lot cheaper than cable. Let me explain the basics of how they work.

First, you will need to buy a set top box for your television. Two of the most popular models are Roku and Apple TV. They are small devices that you attach to your TV and then connect with your internet service.

  • Roku ($59-99) has the advantage of offering the most streaming channels in addition to the ability to play games and any local TV or movie files you own.
  • Apple TV ($99) has a very easy user-interface and offers the ability to stream content you have purchased via iTunes. In addition, if you own an iPad you can mirror it to your TV via AirPlay.

    appleTV

    Apple TV device and interface

Other streaming devices include: Google TV, Boxee, WD TV Live and game consoles like Xbox. Also, many new television sets now have their own streaming hardware built in, so if you are in the market for a new TV you might consider this alternative.

To compare devices, check out this Gizmodo article: How to Find the Best TV Set Top Box… 

Next, you will need to sign up and subscribe to a streaming service. Set top boxes come with channels (apps like YouTube, Pandora, NBA) that allow you to stream and watch a lot of content for free. However, Netflix and Hulu Plus, are the two most popular channels for streaming television. Both require a monthly subscription, but at $7.99 per month, they cost considerably less than cable.

  • Netflix allows you to stream previous seasons of television shows commercial-free along with a good selection of movies and other videos.
  • Hulu Plus gives you the advantage of streaming current television shows along with past seasons, movies, clips and more. However, streaming comes with a minimal amount of commercial advertising.
ROKU netflix-tv

Roku device displaying Netflix

Streaming TV is a different experience from watching cable and broadcast channels. Content is not live, but it does allow for a lot of personal choice. I prefer Apple TV and Netflix because I like watching a show’s entire season back-to-back without commercials. If I cared more about current shows I would probably add Hulu Plus, but for now I find plenty to entertain me.

So, what kind of money would you save if you only had to pay $7.99 a month for TV?

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Categorised in: Apple, Apps, Digital Devices, Money, New Technology

20 Responses »

  1. Magic Jack is great, I didn’t believe it at first until a friend of mine had one….I have had it since 2010 and I paid $30.00 only for the first year to purchase MJ. Then for the last 2 years I paid $10.00 per year to reactivate it. so that’s $50.00 for the past 3 years. Now to deal with Cable because Comcast is robbing me!!! Even with basic service, the bills are too high.

  2. Netflix and Sony have announced that the PlayStation 3 console is now the #1 device worldwide for fast Streaming to the television.

  3. I would like to know more about this tv cable service

  4. @Hersh- You can access HBOGO on the roku and apple tv, but not local channels.
    @Kim- Yes, a high speed internet connection is required to stream content on either box.
    @Rita- You would need one box for each TV in the house.

  5. Can you do with with multiple tvs in the house?

  6. I am so new to this but frustrated with cable price increases seamingly monthly. Do I need high speed internet to use the boxes that hook to your television?

    • After reading the article, I’m not sure about the need for magic Jack. Can someone help me understand where Magic Jack comes in? Is it used in lieu of the Top Box?

  7. Will I still get local channels? Could I get premium channels (HBO, Showtime)? What is the cost for local and premium channels?

  8. ROKU is the one to ditch the cable?

  9. When I tried to cancel my cable, the phone and internet rates went up so it was only a $13 saving for cancelling my TV. Was told since my location is FIOS there is no cheap bundle for just phone and internet…I guess that’s how verizon gets
    you. I can’t seem to go around this…

  10. I just reduced my phone service to dsl only, eliminating my phone and long-distance service. I’ve used my prepaid cell phone for some time, so won’t miss it. I will be cancelling my satellite tv this week. I have a roku player and have found an astounding array of free internet streaming options for every tv station I could possibly want ..not to mention all the OTA stations I can receive with a simple indoor antennae. I am cannot see ever paying for tv again.

  11. Thanks great idea , any ideas on phone service using high speed internet ?

  12. Not sure this makes financial sense if you’re also using cable for your high-speed Internet connection and home telephone service.

    • just port your home phone number to a prepaid sim then transfer number to google voice buy yourself a obi100 and now you have a free home phone connection so now your only paying a internet bill every month. Before you ask yes you need to transfer your number to a prepaid carrier because google voice doesn’t port over home phone numbers but they do port over cell phone numbers.

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