Monday, October 07, 2013

Cut Your Monthly TV Bill in Half

The one thing that has not changed with all the advances in cable and satellite TV services is the steady price increase.  The recent brouhaha between Time Warner and CBS is only one in a long list of contentious negotiations relating to paying for TV.  The more the cable company pays, the more the customer will need to pay.  As discussed a few weeks back, with cable we all pay for many services we neither view nor want.  When and if that will change is anybody’s guess.  No matter, there are some things you can do to cut the monthly cost of TV.  With the average cable bill running well over $125 per month, some are opting for new ways of watching TV.  Some services remain free and others provide similar services to cable for a fraction of the cost.

Many would be amazed at the selection of programming that is offered free over the air from local TV stations.  Most provide three or more different services over and above the main channel.  For example, Channel 48 provides major PBS programs on 48.1 and two other services. One is for Arts and the other airs many how-to programs.  All the commercial stations provide extra services and all are free.

A look at the offerings of Netflix and Hulu Plus will show that many of the most watched programs are available there, too.  Not only can you watch the latest episode of hits like Modern Family, you can watch all the previous episodes as well.  All of this is on demand.  You are no longer wedded to the network’s schedule and you don’t need a DVR.  The combined monthly fee for Netflix and Hulu Plus is about 16 bucks.

Of course, you need to have high speed internet access in your home.  This averages about $50 per month.  So the combined monthly TV bill is now at about $66 or about ½ of what you are paying now.

To really enjoy these services you need either a smart TV with internet access built in or a separate device like AppleTV or Roku that connects the internet to your flat screen TV.   This is a one time investment of between $50 and $100.

This option is not for everyone.  For example, right now if you want ESPN you have to also be a subscriber to cable which negates any savings.  With AppleTV however there are several cable-like services like the Weather Channel, HBO Go and others that do not require a cable subscription. 

Before you decide to give up your cable or satellite connections try these broadcast and internet services for a month or so.  You can cancel without penalty and the $16 won’t break the bank.  If you find that you don’t miss cable or satellite services go ahead and cut the cord.  If not, you lost the price of a good pizza.



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