Cable prices are getting pretty ridiculous these days. It’s not only the cable packages but the pay-per-view movies as well. Satellite services can be just as expensive as cable television. Many people are looking for other options because their monthly bills are getting too costly. If you’re on a budget then your cable and telephone bills should be the first place you look to make some cut-backs.
The most dominant markets today are still cable and satellite TV. Recently, Verizon began to offer their own alternative called Fios. Fios is a fiber-optic wire method similar to cable. Cable, satellite services (Dish Network) and Fios are all priced about equally (way too expensive) and they deliver similar results.
Whichever option you currently have, chances are you’re paying a lot for those services. It might seem like there are no other choices out there, but there are! We’ll share with you some alternatives to the big cable and satellite companies in this blog post.
Different options to choose from:
1. Internet TV – You can watch many of your favorite shows and channels on Internet sites such as Hulu.com, Netflix.com, Amazon.com Instant, CBS.com, YouTube.com, Ustream.tv, and Crackle.com to name just a few. Sites like these show advertisements at the beginning of shows instead of throughout the show and most of them are free. With a good internet connection (at least 1.5 Megabits per second), a television capable of interfacing with your computer, and a little setup time, you can watch Hulu and these other sites right on your TV.
2. Video Game Consoles – Over the past year, research has revealed the gaming console as the method used by a large diversity of US consumers to connect a TV to the Internet in order to watch online content such as TV shows, TV channels, and movies. Some consoles that allow this are the Microsoft Xbox 360, Xbox One, Sony PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Wii.
3. Streaming Internet Devices – There are some streaming internet devices out there like the Boxee Box, D-Link, or Roku 3 that bring everything from the Internet into one place on your TV. The dashboard conveniently groups everything into categories, so your favorite shows or movies are easy to find. The prices are a one-time fee and range from $60 to $168. There is NO monthly fee associated with Boxee, so you can save on average around $800-$1,000 a year.
4. Satellite Direct – This service feeds over 3500 channels including high definition directly to your computer. A little connection savvy help from an online forum will have you streaming your 3500 channels from your internet to your computer, and then to your TV. The software is easy to install, takes only seconds, and works beautifully (and cheaply) compared to cable or satellite service.
5. Screen Sharing Devices – Google Chromecast is a great example of a screen sharing device and it’s pretty cheap. It usually runs about $35 and that’s it! There’s no monthly fee or hidden costs. You can also check out the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter ($59) if you prefer Microsoft products over Google products. You can also use an HDMI cable and a computer with compatible ports. Many new televisions are smart TVs with streaming apps built right in.You can watch videos from ANY streaming website on your TV using Google Chromecast!
6. Laptop, Tablet, or PC – If you already have a laptop, tablet, or even a PC you can definitely just hook that device up to your TV, and use that to watch all of your video content. If you want to get a bit geeky and don’t want to physically hook up the laptop using an HDMI cable, you can use a gadget like the NetGear Universal Push2TV HD-Wireless PC to TV Adapter to wirelessly stream HD video from the laptop to your TV. Apple’s Ipad, as well as a host of Android devices, can all access your streamed content via PlayOn. In addition, you can download a variety of free apps like the ones from Hulu, Netflix, and more.
7. Cheaper Internet Service Plans – Another costly thing that should be looked at when budgeting is Internet Service. People will pay ridiculous amounts for high-speed Internet access, but there are cheaper options out there that will still provide what you need. Check out providers like FreedomPop, NetZero, T-Mobile, and Mediacom for just a few examples. Compare their prices to the prices of major competitors such as Verizon, Bright House, and Comcast. If you can get close to the same internet speed as the “big boys” provide, then why not go with someone else and pay less per month.
Conclusion – A lot of people pay tons of money in order to be able to watch the TV shows they “can’t live without”. In the process, they end up spending unnecessary amounts of money, mostly for programming that they don’t even watch. If you dig a little deeper you might find that there are many free or low-cost options out there. We think it’s high time you did a little “Cord Cutting” to save some serious cash!
If you’re looking for more ways to cut expenses and set a realistic monthly household budget, contact Advantage Credit Counseling Service today! The certified credit counselors at Advantage CCS can work with you on a variety of budgeting strategies to help you make the best financial decisions for you and your family.