Linkage Love: Watching TV on a Budget

By Kathryn Magura

About 6 months ago I moved to a new place and got a sweet deal for fancy HD TV from my cable provider. This deal only lasted 6 months, so I knew my fun would come to an end soon. In an effort to be proactive in finding out what my costs would be sans my deal, I have been working with my cable provider to see what my costs will soon be.

At first I was dejected, then angry, to hear that my cable and internet would be almost $150 per month. PER MONTH! Are you kidding me? I love watching TV, but even I would consider going without at that steep price. How has cable gotten so expensive? Do they really expect us to pay exorbitant amounts for entertainment? What is the breaking point?

I’ve been researching ways to watch my favorite shows without paying such a high cost through some innovative technology. Thought I would share some of those resources with you today for our Linkage Love.

  1. Roku: A year ago I got a Roku player that allows me to stream various channels to my TV. One of the great things about Roku is that the box isn’t too expensive, and there are no monthly fees. Once you buy it, it’s yours. Then you need to find the channels you want to stream and enjoy! Speaking of channels, some of the options I list below have their own channels available on Roku.
  2. Hulu Plus: I definitely recommend subscribing to Hulu Plus to stream your favorite shows. For just $7.99 (currently) a month, you can get most current shows. The downside? Not all shows get streamed here (cable channels are especially bad), and some shows are only available for a certain duration of time, or aren’t available right away. You need to figure out when your favorite shows are available – and for how long – and plan accordingly.
  3. Netflix Streaming: I stopped getting those silly little discs in the mail ages ago, but one thing I love is the ability to stream shows and movies via Netflix. Netflix streaming is a great way to catch up on old shows (I recently caught up on my nostalgia for The Wonder Years), or get addicted to new ones. The downside? Not everything is available for streaming. I’ve also found that sometimes they have a few seasons of a show available for streaming, but not all of them. HMPH. You just have to be careful, I suppose.
  4. Channel Master: A friend of mine recently ditched cable for a Channel Master. This unique system uses antenna technology to bring you many TV channel options for free. All you have to do is pay the initial set up charges (which can be a lot) and you’re done! After a couple of months, this system will more than pay for itself. The downside? As I said, the initial costs are expensive, so you need to plan accordingly. Also, once again cable channels have not yet embraced this technology.
  5. Amazon Instant Viewer: Are you an Amazon Prime member? If so, you have access to a plethora of TV shows and movies. Some cost money, and some are free, so you need to check your prices. Did you know you can get a free limited membership with a .edu account? Try it!

These are just some of the growing options available to save costs on watching TV or movies by cutting cable all together. By exploring some of these options, it is my hope to be about to cut down my monthly costs. Hopefully some of these tips can help you save as well!

Linkage Love: Watching TV on a Budget