Ditch Your Cable T.V. For These Cheaper Alternatives

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Tired of paying too much for too many channels that you never watch? It is possible to cut the cable cord and still get most of the programming you love for less than what you currently pay.

You’ve likely watched in exasperation as your cable TV bill continued to grow. And, while you may enjoy flipping through the 200-plus channels your monthly subscription provides you, you likely aren’t watching all of them. Cutting the cord to cable TV might not be for everyone, but if you’re willing to make a few viewing sacrifices (such as many sporting events) there are alternatives that can save you money while still providing you with a wide range of shows and movies.

Internet-TV boxes.

While still new to the market, these little boxes seem to be multiplying. In 2008, the first of these boxes to provide online moves, TV shows and Web content was ushered into the market by Roku. Since then others, such as Boxee Box, Apple TV and most recently Google TV, have all developed similar boxes. These boxes range from $59.99 to $299.99 and provide the ability to rent or purchase TV shows and movies, offer services such as Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand and Hulu and provide certain Web capabilities. Each box has its own unique offerings, so you’ll need to do some research to determine which is right for you.

Online TV and movies.

Hulu is the major player of free online sites that provide streaming TV shows and movies, although there are others such as Crackle and Fancast. If you can’t find your favorite show on these sites, check the network sites (such as ABC.com) which continue to add more full episodes. Some cable channels offer a limited selection of free shows as well.

Netflix.

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Netflix offers a huge selection of movies and TV series (including those from premium channels) for a very reasonable price. The least expensive plan is $7.99 a month, which provides you with the ability to instantly stream TV shows and movies over the Internet to your TV. You’ll need a device that streams from Netflix, such as an Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii—or you can stream to your computer. For just $9.99, you can also get one DVD mailed to your home, which you can exchange as often as you wish.

Pay per show.

If you don’t want a monthly subscription, then you can choose to pay per show or movie. iTunes, Amazon Video on Demand, Zune, and Jaman all provide the ability to rent or purchase TV shows and movies. On average, expect to pay $1 to $4 to rent a show or movie; it will cost more to purchase a season of shows or a movie.

Over the Air.

While visions of rabbit ears and grainy TV shows may be dancing in your head, antennas are a viable option for receiving your local network programming. If you have a TV with an HD tuner, you’ll have access to HD TV. If you have an analog TV, you’ll need a digital converter box to be able to view broadcast programs.

Your local library. Don’t forget about this often-overlooked resource. You may need to pay a small fee for some movies, but most educational DVDs are free. Some libraries even offer movies you can download.

Source: Time, PCWorld.com, ElectronicHouse.com, CNET.com, Engadget.com, Technologizer.com, Kiplinger.com
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