Cancel your cable or satellite ?
When we first moved into our new home here in the mountains, one of the first things we did was order satellite TV. We didn’t go with a large package, just a basic one with local channels and a few kids channels. Expensive enough though. We have Dish Network, and the cost (even with bundle savings) is $64.77 per month or $777.24 per year.
This isn’t a significant portion of our monthly budget, but big enough especially considering we really don’t watch much TV at all. In fact, the only time my wife and I watch TV is on the weekends, and that has recently been spent watching movies from Netflix (more on Netflix in a bit). Our kids don’t really watch much TV either and if they do it’s shows on either PBS or Nickelodeon. My wife and I spend our time in the evenings either reading or working on our computers. I do enjoy watching the occasional Nascar race and Carolina Panthers game, but if I couldn’t it wouldn’t be a big deal.
Alternatives to cable and satellite
Given the limited amount of time we actual spend watching TV, I honestly feel like I’m throwing $64.77 per month out the window. We do like to watch a TV show or two every so often, so completely eliminating our ability to watch TV isn’t a preferred option. As a result, I’ve spent some time researching various alternative options. Here’s what I’ve found:
Most all major network shows are available on the network’s websites. This includes shows like Lost, 20/20, Dancing with the Stars, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, Ghost Whisperer and many more. What’s not available there is most likely available on Hulu.com which includes shows from NBC, FOX, Comedy Central, PBS, USA Network, Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, SPEED Channel, Sci Fi, Style, Sundance, E!, G4, Versus, and Oxygen.
Amazon Video on Demand also offers streamable episodes of popular TV shows from CBS, FOX, NBC and Showtime. Episodes currently run $1.99 each. They can be watched on your computer, on your TV through your computer, or by using a device such as the Ruku Player. The big advantage with Amazon Video on Demand is that episodes are commercial free, which is nice.
Quite a few options have recently become available for watching movies in addition to the standard options. Local movie stores such as Blockbuster are still an option, but so is renting online from services such as Netflix, which I have recently become a HUGE fan of. Check out: Blockbuster vs. Netflix for a great comparison
Netflix offers DVD rentals by mail, along with certain movies streamable over the internet. Streamable movies can be watched through your computer directly, your computer hooked up to your TV, or by using a box such as the Ruku Player. While streaming options are limited at this point, I except this selection to grow over the next few years.
Amazon.com has also entered the business of streaming movies in edition to television shows also through Amazon Video on Demand. Movie prices are generally around $4 for a 24 hour rental.
An option I have been researching is using one of our old computers to set-up a Media PC. This would allow us to watch DVDs, YouTube videos, Netflix video on demand and Amazon Video on Demand. I’m still researching this option and if I do anything, I’ll write something up about it.
The big advantage here is that we wouldn’t need to move our laptops over to the TV.
To cancel satellite TV or not
To cancel satellite TV or not. This is the question I’ve been struggling with for the past few week. I mean, why pay the monthly fee when I could watch the very limited TV shows we normally watch for free. I’ll keep you posted on my decision and how things go.
Have any of you made this switch? Are you happy with your decision? Any major cons I should be aware of? Do you have a Media PC, Ruku Player device or something else? Share your experience, add a comment!
Photo by: vÃ¥r resa