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Canceling Your Cable (or how I learned to free my TV from network shackles) - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
morgandawn
morgandawn
Canceling Your Cable (or how I learned to free my TV from network shackles)
If you want to reduce your cable bill, you first have to decide where you like to watch TV: at the TV or on your computer.

If you like your TV, then you have the option of cutting cable or going back to basic cable. I will blog only about the method that I know and have used.

This method requires a wireless router in your home, a computer and decent DSL or broadband(3-4MBS for DSL). For most streaming methods, your computer will need to be on to watch video on the TV. And if you are not comfortable with doing an occasional reboot and restart if something hangs or freezes, then stick to cable.

Step 1: Buy a ROKU (around $50-100 depending on the model you pick)

Step 2: Buy Playon (a software program that runs on your computer).  Playon offers a free trial. You can then go month to month and once you are really certain it works for you, buy a lifetime subscription for $60. If you want to use their PlayLater feature to function as a DVR and record shows to your computer to watch later they charge a flat fee of $40/year. We have our own DVR so we went for the lifetime subscription

Step 3: decide if Netflix and/or Amazon Prime are worthwhile add-ons. Netflix is good for TV shows (they carry episodes up through the previous year). The only reason we have Amazon Prime is for the expedited shipping - on occasion we can find a few movies we want to watch. Netflix is around $10 a month. Amazon Prime will end up being roughly the same.

Step 4: Make a list of your favorite shows and see who carries them. Through Playon you can watch anything that Hulu offers for free. Hulu offers most of their shows within 24hrs of airing. Third party add-ons to Playon allow you to watch most any other TV show (yes even HBO and Showtime) for free - we use them sparingly as we still have our HBO and Showtime - mainly when our DVR fails to record a show and the damn On Demand service the cable company offers freezes or stops working (so much for not having to reboot on cable platforms). Local TV stations/news may also available via some Playon addons - you'll need to look through the Playon Scripts listings. Both Playon and Roku offer forums where you can ask questions.

What does it cost in the end
? A one time fee for the Roku ($50-100). A one time fee of $60 for Playon (lifetime) or a $3/month fee if you buy the DVR capability). Netflix and/or Amazon Prime for an additional $10 each (personally I'd not get Amazon Prime unless you have a need for the expedited shipping). For the first year, buying the most expensive ROKU and getting the monthly Playon, the cost is $12 month. If you add Netflix or Amazon Prime, an additional $10 each. Theoretically you could get access to most US (and UK) TV shows for around $22-32/month. After the first year....the cost can drop to as low as $10-13 a month.

And now you know why the cable companies fought so hard against Aereo and why the US Supreme Court case which Aereo lost today harms the consumer and technology innovation. Content providers and cable companies want to shut down Internet competition until they can figure out a way to overcharge us for their crappy (you know it will be crappy) Internet streaming service - that we will have to buy piecemeal at a premium from each network separately. Or, if they have their way, force us to pay for each episode, with no ability to store it and watch it later. Don't forget those "special" fees for watching on your smart-phone.

"Legal or not, Aereo was about to deliver something consumers wanted, something the collective will of the indigenous television industry still seems incapable of providing on a ubiquitous level. Broadcast TV. Everywhere." from a newsletter for cable network executives.

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