Getting TV without cable or satellite
Thinking about ditching cable or satellite TV? It may be time. For several years, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have been the go-to Web streaming services, but cable TV was still the only place to watch premium and sports channels. Now, thanks to Sling TV, you can catch ESPN plus 22 other cable channels (including CNN, AMC, TBS and the Food Network) live for $20 a month. For an additional fee, you can stream HBO and Showtime to your TV. Both channels have launched online access to their video libraries, including recent episodes and full seasons of popular TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Homeland.
Sony sells live online TV bundles with up to 85 channels, as well as some à la carte channels through PlayStation Vue. Apple is also expected to throw its hat in the ring with a live TV streaming service that will offer about 25 channels. Sports fans who need a more serious fix than ESPN provides have more streaming options as well (see How to Watch Sports Without Cable TV).
Even the cable companies are getting into the streaming act. Comcast is rolling out a live online TV service called (wait for it) Stream, for customers of its Xfinity Internet.
Given that the average price of expanded basic cable TV service is about $66 a month, according to the Federal Communications Commission (and that your own plan may cost more), exchanging a full-blown cable or satellite package for some well-chosen alternatives could save you a pile of cash. In a survey by Digitalsmiths, which makes software for video providers, respondents said that their ideal cable lineup would cost no more than $38 a month and include only 17 channels.
“Figure out what you can’t live without, ” says Chris Brantner, founder of Cut Cable Today, an informational Web site on cutting the cord. Then see whether you can get those non-negotiable items without cable or satellite for a lower price.
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