Five Low or No-Cost Ways to Watch TV

For the first time in its history of collecting statistics, Nielsen Media Research found that the number of U.S. households with a TV set has gone down.

There are a few possible explanations for this:

  1. Our love affair/addiction (choose one) to video content is over. Hardly likely.
  2. We’re all broke. Quite possible.
  3. We’re getting more and more content from the Internet. Bingo.

And this brings us to our money-saving tips: How to leverage the Internet for no-cost and low-cost video entertainment.

Perhaps the single most important way to save money in the long-term is to bring down your monthly overhead. If you’re paying for a cable TV or satellite TV service, you can probably take advantage of the video available on the Internet, cancel your subscription and save money month after month.

First, about 80 percent of the most popular television shows are from the major networks: CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC. Many, if not all, of the current episodes of primetime shows from these networks are available on the Internet.

You can watch them online with fewer commercials and on your own schedule.

If you’re really serious about mining the Internet for all of its available video content, check out Boxee. It’s basically software that helps you cash in on all the movies, TV shows and live Internet video. You can download it to your computer and hook your computer up to your flat screen, or they sell a box that runs their software.

I use the Boxee “box” and will give you all the details in another post.

There are several no-cost and low-cost ways to watch DVD content over the Internet. Here are the five best ways to watch TV over the Internet:

Netflix. This is the biggest one today. For less than $10 you can stream the huge library of Netflix video content to your computer or Internet enabled television.

Hulu. There is a free version of Hulu and a paid version, huluplus. Lots of movies, television shows and video clips are available on Hulu for free. Huluplus costs about $8 a month.

Crackle. This free service doesn’t have nearly the depth of Netflix, but it’s free. Mine it for content until there’s nothing more you want to see.

Amazon.The company that started out selling books and now sells anything that can be shipped is getting into the streaming business. Various Internet enabled devices and computers will stream content from Amazon. Titles can be rented individually and Amazon “Prime” customers get much of this content for no additional charge.

Apple.¬†With Apple’s iTunes software you have access to a huge library of movies and television shows. You can buy or rent movies, single TV show episodes or entire seasons in regular and HD formats. If one of your favorite shows isn’t available free from a major network, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here for less than a dollar an episode.

More of these services are popping up all the time. Some are legitimate. Others are scams. If you want to try one not listed here, do a little research on the Internet to make sure it’s real and not just a way to pry a credit card number out of you or rope you into a bootleg streaming situation or get you to download virus infected or tracking software to you computer.


Leave a Reply