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Aug 21

Cutting the Cord 2 – Getting Programming

In my last post I talked about how to try to “Cut the Cable” — finding ways to reduce that $100+ per month Cable or Satellite bill.  In this, the second segment, I want to talk about where to find the programming that you want to see, but just don’t want to pay as much for.

You can get programming, at a relatively low cost, one of three ways… Streaming, Beaming or Download.  By far, the most popular way to get programming  to your TV is via streaming so that’s where I’m going to focus.  There are quite a few services that stream to your device at a relatively low cost.

Hulu

Of all these services, only Hulu is free (for right now).  But with that free price tag there’s one very big restriction — you can only stream Hulu to a computer.  There’s no devices that, other than a computer, that will connect to your TV and stream plain old Hulu.  So if you have a computer, with an HDMI output, Hulu may be a great option for you to reduce some of your cable or Satellite costs.  If you go to http://www.hulu.com you can get a feel for the programming that’s available there.

The rest of the major services that I want to talk about typically run about $8 per month for streaming.

 

netflix-logo

Netflix is the most well known and probably has one of the higher installed user bases.  If a device streams, it more than likely will stream Netflix.  For $8 per month you can pick from thousands and thousands of movies, TV shows, documentaries and original programming.  A simple trip to http://www netflix.com will let you browse the streaming selection, as well as their DVD by mail service (starting at an additional $8 per month). You’ll also be able to sign up for a free 30 day trial just to see if Netflix meets your needs.

Amazon

Depending on how you look at it, video streaming from Amazon Prime will run you about $79 per year, or you might even consider it free, as a benefit to free 2 day shipping from Amazon.  Amazon prime is combination of a number of options from Amazon.  Thousands of products that you might purchase at http://www.amazon.com are classified as “Prime Eligible”.  As such, you get them shipped to you (or anyone) via 2 day service at no additional shipping costs.  If you use Amazon a lot, as I do, it’s the best deal out there.  And, one of the benefits of Amazon Prime service is a library of thousands of movies and TV shows that are available via streaming at no additional cost.

While not as extensive as the library that Netflix offers, its still a nice streaming option, especially if you actually use Amazon for other purchases and don’t have to pay extra for the streaming service. As with Netflix, a trip to http://amzn.to/16bHF2r will take you to the Amazon Prime page where you can find out more.

Hulu PlusHulu Plus is the pay version of Hulu.  Both Hulu and Hulu Plus are jointly owned by the Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal (Comcast), and News Corporation (Fox, Fox News, Wall Street Journal). It has by far the most network television shows available for streaming – but a word of caution.  Not all networks will allow Hulu or Hulu Plus stream their programming.  As with cable and Satellite, TV Networks expect to be compensated for allowing their programming to be streamed.  And if the compensation isn’t high enough, they won’t release their programs to the streaming services.

Personally, I tried Hulu Plus, and it just didn’t do it for me.  But if there’s programming out there that you like, then it’s worth the 8 bucks a month, especially if you can drop your cable or satellite package by at least that month.

Network Logos

Finally, on the streaming side of the business is the networks themselves.  Each network has their own websites where more often than not they will stream either full programs or clips from their most popular programming.  Many of them also have apps for iPhones, iPads and Android devices so you can stream directly to your mobile device.

However, there’s a couple of cautions here as well.  You should be able to stream to your computer from any of the networks’ websites.  But if you want to stream to your mobile device, many of the networks are going to a system where you need to verify that you can get their programming from Cable, Satellite or Uverse.  If you have an account with any of those TV providers, and those channels are part of your package, then you’ll be able to stream to your mobile device.  Otherwise, you’ll be limited to a computer.

There’s a host of other streaming services and options out there — some legal – some not so legal, and a Google search should get you to these alternate services.  I just wanted to highlight some of the major players.  In my next post, we’ll talk about the devices that will get these streaming and beaming services from the web to your TV.

Thanks for reading and be sure to share this among your friends.  And, as always, questions and comments are welcome!

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