With services like Netflix, Hulu plus, Amazon Prime instant video, and a plethora of other steaming services, people are ending their relationships with their cable or satellite provider to save some money. The question is, how do I get this cheaper content on my TV and better yet, is it a good option for me?
First you should decide if cutting your cable or satellite is right for you. If you watch a lot of content on ABC, NBC, and FOX then you’re set. All of these shows are available through streaming on Hulu Plus for $8.99 a month. If you watch CBS shows, not all is lost, but it makes streaming a little more difficult. This can be accomplished by using a Chromecast and steaming from the Google chrome browser on your computer.
Sadly, this is where you start to hit a metaphorical brick wall. Cable TV shows, such things on anything but a local channel (I.E. FX, A&E, HBO, etc) are going to be a lot harder to stream, but once again, all is not lost. Netflix offers a lot of TV shows, including popular shows like Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead. There is a catch, these shows only update right before the new season starts, leaving you a season behind. Netflix also offers a variety of original series that are quite enjoyable. Netflix also costs $8.99 a month
Amazon offers a steaming service called Prime instant video, which is tied to their prime membership for $99.99 a year. This service will also let you get free two day shipping, a book “rented” ebook from the kindle lending library a month, and certain discounts on certain items that are sold from Amazon. With this service you can purchase/rent movies and tv shows, keeping you up to date on your favorite shows. With the TV shows you own them, and in the long run depending on how many shows you are keeping up with, it could be cheaper than cable.
HBO is where you run into problems. If you are an avid Game of Thrones fan, for instance, you know that if you don’t keep up, social media will spoil things for you. Amazon now offers HBO with their prime, but I’m not sure it’ll give you the new episodes. One method you could do, find someone with an active HBO subscription on their current Cable or Satelite service, have them give you an email address on their account and use that to log into the HBO go app. His will give you access to current and past seasons, as well as their current movie lineup. I’m hoping HBO will one day offer the HBO go subscription separately so people can just subscribe to that. showtime has a similar type setup if you want to watch that as well.
Now that we’ve talked about how to get your programming, I guess it’s time to discuss how to watch it on your TV. There are several options out there, and some options don’t offer everything, so I’m only going to talk about those that offer everything.
Roku box or streaming stick will cost you anywhere from $49.99-$99.99. And offers the most content, most of which is subscription based. It has built in wifi and most units require an HDMI input on your TV.
The Playstation 3/4, Xbox one and 360 will offer all of these services to stream and most likely will require an HDMI output, especially on the newer generations. However, unless you plan on gaming with it, these are too expensive, as you’ll pay minimum $199.99
If you already own one great, access these apps and you are gold. It has built in wifi as well. However if you are looking into buying a smart tv for this, I would caution you. On average you are going to pay about $300 more for a smart TV, just not to have any of these devices hooked up to it.
This is my preferred method. It costs $35 and hooks into HDMI and has built in WiFi. It allows your iOS/android devices, and chrome browser on your computer to stream these apps and more straight to your TV. In the case of using the browser, it’ll also mirror. This function comes in hand when watching CBS shows and live news shows that will only stream from their webpages. For other things like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBOGO, YouTube, etc., you can stream straight from their webpage, or from the app on your Android/iOS device. If the Chromecast sounds interesting to you, look for my next article reviewing it.