Tune In with These Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Cable
If you’re a TV addict, you know that some of your favorite shows can come with a high cost, as cable and Internet could run you as much as a couple hundred dollars each month.[find-an-apartment]
Thankfully, the digital age has left us with some clever ways to avoid paying the exorbitant costs of cable without sacrificing quality. Read on to find our favorite ways to watch television in your apartment on a budget.
Back in the olden days, you used to get one or two discs in the mail periodically from Netflix, but no more. While that option is still available, who wants to wait a few days between episodes of your favorite shows? Netflix streaming is the best way to get caught up on old shows. You can even stream movies, and the best part is it’s less than $10 per month. Watch instantly on your computer, or stream to your TV via devices like the Wii, PS3 or Xbox 360 to watch your favorite shows. Unfortunately, not every series is available for streaming, especially new ones, so check out your options before you commit. But you will be able to watch Netflix's original programming, such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black — both binge-worthy.
Hulu Plus is great for getting addicted to new shows, as this service updates a day or two after episodes air live instead of entire seasons at once. At just $7.99 a month with no commitment, you’ll have access to all current season episodes of many hit shows, hundreds of popular classic shows and thousands of award-winning movies.
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Amazon Instant Video
If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, then you instantly have access to a number of great TV shows and movies, right at your fingertips. While not all of them are free, the ones that do cost money are available for only a small fee, so double-check the prices before you click anything. And if you’re an avid online shopper, you’ll enjoy Amazon Prime's other benefits, like free two-day shipping and no minimum order size in addition to unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows for just $99 per year.
Hardware option: Roku
The great thing about Roku is that you can stream various channels right to your TV without purchasing a gaming system that can cost hundreds of dollars. The box itself isn’t too expensive (from $49.99) and there are no monthly fees, so once you make the initial purchase, it’s all yours! It’s one of the most reliable streaming devices on the market, and there’s something for everyone. You can stream free and paid services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, YouTube and much more.
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DVR alternative: Channel Master
Channel Master uses antenna technology to transmit many TV channel options for free, so it’s like having cable, only without the pesky monthly charges. The only downside is the set up and installation fees, which could cost you several hundred dollars, but after a few months, this system will more than pay for itself. One of the advantages of the Channel Master is its built-in recording capability, so you’ll never miss your favorite shows again. You can pause live television, record up to two channels at once and fast forward through commercials.
One of the newest streaming products on the market, the $35 Chromecast is a small stick that plugs into the HDMI port on your television. Set it up with a mobile app, then control your TV via your laptop, smartphone or tablet. Anything that you can stream online can be viewed directly on your TV.
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