While shooting my last home tour, I was a little surprised to discover the homeowner didn't own a television. It definitely got me thinking about how much television I watch. I love my HD movies too much to give up my TV completely, but perhaps it's time to cut the cord to cable (err, satellite in my case). Read on to decide if you're ready to make this bold move tonight.
With the proliferation of streaming media, there's never been more options for watching your favorite shows without paying the rising bill of cable or satellite. You may be reluctant to give up cable, but making the transition can be easier than it seems if you think through it for a few minutes.
For shows not available over-the-air (OTA), see if you can get them through:
Start out with the service you're most familiar with, or maybe even subscribed to — scan their offerings for the shows in your list and note all the options available. Make sure you're getting full-length episodes as well, not just edited web clips. Here's a chart with some popular titles that was published in Mac Life that'll get you started.
Narrow Your Choices and Do Some Math:
Now that you have your needs list, find the least amount of services you'll need to keep up with your shows. Price each of them, add things up, and see what the damage is. Take that number and subtract it against the yearly cost of your cable or satellite bill (which can easily be in the $1000 range yearly). Is it a big savings?
Make your Decision:
If you're still following along after this exercise, you're almost there. You just need to decide what equipment you'll need to get the streaming media services you want in the manner(s) you want to view them. If you have an iPad and Apple TV already, then getting the streaming content to your TV (or wherever else you may be) is a cinch. Or perhaps you already have an Xbox 360 or PS3? Those gaming boxes offer apps for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc. Other hardware to consider are set top boxes by Roku or Boxee, which also can give you some online gaming and internet content.
Live sports even have several season pass options. Here are a few of note.
• Football - NFL Sunday Ticket through PS3 - $339.95
• Basketball - NBA League Pass Broadband - $109 - $169 (last year)
• Baseball - MLB.TV Premium - $79.99
• Hockey - NHL GameCenter Live - $159 (last year)
For me the big hangup has always been sports on ESPN — one of the things I like to see live and in glorious HD. This exercise allowed me to put a price tag on that convenience and help me decide if it's worth it. Depending on how things turned out for you, perhaps that savings could afford you a couple tickets to go see the game live a time or two instead — maybe the ones that'll be on Monday Night Football and you wouldn't be able to get through an online or streaming service.
Have you ditched your cable or satellite provider for streaming media?
Are you happy with your decision and savings?
(Images: Chris Perez)