Technology Allows Alternatives to Cable TV
You may know that many of your favorite television shows and movies are available online and through streaming devices, but do you know how easy it actually is to become less dependent on your local cable provider?
The internet has become a primary provider of information for many, and the entertainment options available and the ways these options are delivered have expanded in the past few years. You now have the option of watching television and movies either on your computer or through a device that ‘streams’ the content to your television.
One option for viewing many network and mainstream cable channels is via their websites on your computer, smart phone or tablet. Most major networks offer live and archived versions of the shows that are currently being aired as well as past shows. Check with your favorite channels websites to see what is available. There are official websites and apps for watching MLB.TV, ABC, NBC, CW, PBS, CNN, Fox News, ESPN, A&E, The History Channel, Lifetime, The Discovery Channel and many more.
Another option for cutting the cable cord is to use a service provided by or through a device, and there are several options available through both free and paid plans. Here are a few of the options for streaming media through a device.
Netflix and Hulu/Hulu Plus (each $7.99/month) are services that you can access through many BluRay players and Smart TV sets, as well as streaming devices. Both Netflix and Hulu offer a wide variety of movies and television. Netflix also has started offering original TV series it has produced such as House of Cards, a revival of Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black. Hulu has a wider variety of newer TV shows, usually available the day after they have first aired. Netflix has a large catalog of older TV shows and an extensive selection of children’s shows and movies. Hulu is jointly owned by Comcast, Disney and 20th Century Fox, so they have no CBS shows but NBC, ABC and Fox shows are available on demand.
The AppleTV ($99) and Roku ($50 and $100) boxes are both devices that connect to your TV and deliver content through an internet connection. They both can provide Netflix and Hulu, and many other services such as YouTube and Amazon Instant Video, which is free for Amazon Prime members. The AppleTV also allows the option of renting and buying movies and TV shows through Apple and iTunes services. Roku offers a large selection of channels including PBS, PBS Kids, ABC, ESPN, FOX and many more.
Chromecast ($35) is a new device offered by Google that connects to your Smart TV and allows streaming of content from Google’s Chrome browser. The Slingbox ($179 and $299) is a device that allow owners to remotely view and control their home’s cable, satellite, DVR from locations when they are away from home. This is a great tool for when you want to watch your local news and sports but are 1,000 miles away from home!
Viewing television, sports and movies is no longer limited to your TV set or the movie theater, these are all now available through many more sources. The content available and the ways it is offered will only expand as technology continues to enhance the way we do everyday activities.
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