Thinking of ditching cable? Check out these alternatives!
If you’re like us and you still have cable, you’re probably extremely annoyed at the ridiculously high cost of keeping it on and the fact that the cost of it changes every few months without warning. It’s like these companies don’t think you’ll notice that you started off paying $99 and then 6 months later you are paying $150 and in my example, 1 year later this blogger was paying $215 for the same three services I had when I started. No additional receivers were added, no additional premium channels were added and no I did not get a Sports Package. This happens to a lot of people. Before you know it, half of your week’s salary is going to the cable company.
But why? It doesn’t have to be this way. We’re in a new age where everything is available to you via the internet and where old media, like TV, will need to adapt to changing times to keep from becoming irrelevant. Sure cable companies want you to think that you can never watch shows that you love, on channels that they provide at a higher cost, anywhere else. This is because they fear their own demise. This is also why we are constantly hearing about networks disputing over shows and it’s why some cable providers do not have access to certain channels. (Like when The Walking Dead was not available to DISH Network customers.) Regardless, you do have options when it comes to ditching the old ways and moving to the future. Check out some of our picks below.
TiVo gives you access to all the services you love like Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix. You have the option of choosing between three cable boxes. TiVo can replace your current cable box (you know the one that you pay $12 a month to lease). You can use TiVo with you current cable company with a lower cable plan or drop them completely and use an antenna. Antenna use is supported on both Premiere versions of TiVo but not on the XL4. There is a $14.99 monthly charge to use TiVo. With TiVo, you also have the option to stream your TV shows and internet services across multiple platforms.
Roku makes available over 600 apps and channels including Netflix, Pandora, Youtube and Vudu. There are no monthly fees and you only pay for the channels or apps you want to use. With so many channels on Roku, free content is always available. The downside of Roku is that it does not replace your cable box and it cannot be used with your current cable provider. In other words, if you are looking to upgrade your cable box to one that makes use of all internet services, apps and TV channels, Roku is not for you. However, if you are ok with keeping your cable provider AND buying a Roku for all your internet services, then Roku is a good choice. If you are really serious about ditching your cable provider and buying a Roku, it will probably be ideal to get an antenna for your television.
If you are already have an Xbox 360, then you are probably already aware that you can use this as your main source to internet services and apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. If you don’t have one and you like playing video games, now is the time to buy one. Microsoft has slashed the prices of the Xbox 360 so it is a good deal for a gamer. That being said, in order to use internet services like the ones mentioned above, you will need to purchase an Xbox Live Gold membership which starts as low as $5 a month. Also it is important to note that anything that is purchasable on Xbox Live has to be bought using Microsoft points. The Xbox 360 does not double as a cable box and you will still need to either 1) leave cable altogether and get an antenna, 2) downgrade your cable service and use the Xbox 360 with an Xbox Live Gold membership as your main point of entertainment or 3) keep your existing cable company in addition to the Xbox 360. There are a plethora of apps and internet services available on Xbox Live, some of which are even free to play like Crackle.
Boxee is $99. It replaces your current cable box. With it, you can watch live TV (provided that you have an antenna attached to it). Boxee is currently in Beta, which means that they are testing a “No Limits Cloud DVR service”. Yes. You read correctly. NO LIMITS. To take advantage of the No Limits Cloud DVR service, there is a monthly fee of $9.99. Boxee is probably the best deal you can find. There are a couple of drawbacks. Since Boxee is new, there are still a lot of apps and internet services absent from its features. We are willing to bet, however, that in the next year or so Boxee will get support for these missing apps and services if the Beta proves positive.
So there you have it folks. You do have options. And these are only SOME of them. You can mix and match any of these picks or add ones that we did not mention. The best thing to do is just start by dropping your cable company and only paying for the apps and services you want to use. Also, there is always the option to purchase an episode (or season) of your favorite show on Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft’s Windows Store or on Google Play. Just know that there is a solution to get you away from your current cable provider. Let us know your setup and how you avoid the cable company in the comments below.