If you are seriously thinking about cutting the cord to cable, here is what I have found for costs. The breakdowns are for what I know and use; I do not use Apple TV or iTunes a lot, so I can not tell you about thier costs. Thier box is $99, if you are an iTunes user then you may alread know the cost of watching TV and Movies through them.
- You will need a device that will enable you to watch these services. The ones I have used have been the Roku box, and the Wii. Smart TVs have this enabled, and a lot of Blue Ray players also allow you to connect to these services. Since I already had a Wii, I used this until we were able to get a Roku
- Wii costs $150-$200 - Does not have a huge selection of applications to download for streaming TV, but the major ones (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon)
- Roku costs $50-$100 - Opens up a lot more channels including VuDu, Pandora and Crackle)You will need to subscribe to Streaming Services, below are the ones I recommend.
- Netflix: $7.99/mo for up to 2 devices at the same time, 11.99/mo for 4 devices. We opted for the lower cost one, and have not felt the need to go up. Through Netflix you get access to a ton of movies, most of them are older movies (they just released Hunger Games for streaming about a month ago) and television series. Not every movie is available, but they do have a large selection. Netflix also has some excellent original series
- Hulu: $7.99/mo, I did not see where there were any more options. This is by far the best way to keep up with your network television shows. Not all of the networks are Hulu friendly, and you will still have to use your browser to watch them. CBS is stingy with their shows, and you will need to go to CBS.com to watch them. ABC, NBC, The CW and FOX are generally very good about airing their series on Hulu. You will be able to watch them the day after thier air, sometimes right at midnight. Cable networks are also not available, including TNT and Syfy channels. Some Syfy shows can be watched via Netflix, but they are a season behind. For the most part you can go to their website and catch up, but Lost Girl is not available that way (Defiance and Warehouse 13 are). TNT is similar to HBO in that you have to log in via your cable provider to watch their shows. You can get them one by one on Amazon - which I will talk about next. There are movies available on Hulu, but I prefer Netflix or Amazon for my movie watching. Some people complain that Hulu has commercials, in all honesty it is only a couple - and you also get commercials with cable, which you pay a lot more - I will gladly take the trade off. Hulu also offers a lot of great original programming.
- Amazon: This is where I rent current movies (well, ones that have been released on DVD), we have an HD TV, and while spending the $1-2 extra for an HD rental, it doesn't make a huge difference to me, and we tend to stick with the regular streaming. You can also subscribe to Amazon Prime and get access to hundreds of movies and television shows at no extra charge. For the most part you will find the movies are the same as Netflix, but the TV shows are not. you can purchase current seasons of some of your favorites (including TNT shows, but not HBO shows) for $1.99-2.99/episode (the more expensive being HD) Off season shows are often found on Prime (e.g. The Closer and NYPD Blue) at no extra charge (if you are a member). It costs $79/year for a prime membership, and you can test it out for 30 days for free first to see if you will use it (the most generous out of all of the subscription based services) You also get reduced shipping costs at thier website as a Prime members.
- Vudu: You can also rent movies from this service, but I have found Amazon is usually cheaper. They do offer daily deals and packages, so keep an eye out for that if you are in a movie watching mood. I have Vudu on my 'must have' list for Roku because Wal-Mart often does deals with them. If you buy the DVD from Wal-Mart then you also get the digital copy on Vudu. I purchased Breaking Dawn Part 2 at Wal-Mart and was able to get Parts 1 and 2 on Vudu as part of a promotion.
- Crackle: This is a FREE service. They have older movies available for your viewing pleasure; granted they interrupt with short commercials - but again ... this service is FREE. They have some great movies available, such as Bad Boys I and II, Pineapple Express, Made, S.W.A.T., Nick & Norah's Unfinite Playlist, Resident Evil, etc. The movies they offer are for a limited time, but I haven't seen where one was offered for anything less than a month. I also use this on my phone a lot - if I am crafting in a game or just questing I like to watch an old movie via crackle to make the time go by faster.
- YouTube: We all know about YouTube, but did you know some channels offer series? My favorite uses for YouTube are free exercise video/classes from channels like: BeFit, HASFit and series from channels like: WIGS among other great stuff on YouTube.
- Pandora: Finally, Pandora, for Internet radio. While you can subscribe to Pandora for a nominal fee - this is only necessary if you use it a lot - I use the free version (commercials and all) to keep the dogs from barking at every passing car.
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