If you're curious about separating yourself from your cable and satellite service, cutting the cord could be an option for you.
Of course, there are pros and cons to getting all your content online via streaming, but as technology continues to develop and more companies, such as HBO, embrace online streaming, cutting the cord is now easier than ever.
We'll start with the downside of cord cutting: if you're a sports fan, you're still going to need cable or satellite to watch sporting events. In fact, many who are still with their cable or satellite providers have only kept them because of sports. Although many sporting events get online broadcasts, sports content is still way behind everything else as far as embracing Internet streaming.
Also, you'll need a speedy internet connection and that might still mean dealing with the cable company. However, many cable companies actually now offer internet-only services that still end up costing you less than the full price of cable.
Here's how you can not only save money, but ditch the cable and satellite providers once and for all.
Get an antenna.
Modern TV antennas can receive digital broadcasts from as far as 50 miles away. This allows you to watch your local channels in HD without needing a cable subscription to do so. For around $40, you can get an indoor HDTV antenna at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, and have all your local channels on hand for that one-time cost.
Subscribe to streaming services like Netflix or Hulu Plus.
Although you can probably watch a lot of programming via local networks, streaming services offer more channels for less money than cable or satellite. A Hulu Plus subscription costs just $7.99 per month and lets you watch a great variety of programming available just 24 hours after it airs on live TV. Amazon Prime (at $99 per year, which comes in at about $8.25 per month) also offers some programs several days after they air, plus full seasons of older HBO shows, as well as its own original series. Then, of course, there's Netflix at $7.99 per month, which allows you to watch older seasons of series, but also offers a lot of original programming, including series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. For all three, you'll only pay around $25 per month.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Never fear, because HBO starts offering HBO Now, its own standalone streaming service, next month for $15 per month. If you add that to all the above services, you're still only paying $40 per month, which is still about half of what most cable/satellite subscriptions that offer a good variety of channels, plus HBO, costs. And the best thing is you can watch what you want when you want.
Consider buying seasons of shows on Amazon On Demand, iTunes or Vudu.
Some shows don't immediately go to streaming and only become available once their seasons are over. If you're impatient, you can always buy seasons on demand through Amazon, iTunes or Vudu. Most seasons run around $15 to $20, so you'll be out a bit more money, but if there are shows you must watch immediately, they are available. However, you'll save more money by waiting.
If you're interested in downloading shows to watch offline, Vudu, however, is the only way to go: most other services don't offer this option.
Stream on your TV, PS4, XBOX One or other device.
Of course, you'll want to watch TV on your TV, rather than on your computer. Fortunately, there are a multitude of devices that allow you to do just that. Many new smart TVs come equipped with apps for the most popular services, as do video game consoles. If you don't have either, you can invest in an Amazon Fire Stick for around $40 (although occasionally, Amazon slices that price in half) or spend a little more for a Roku or Amazon Fire TV. These all connect to your TV and let you watch streaming content on your television set with a remote.
Consider a DNS service.
Unfortunately, international programming is a little more difficult to obtain. Let's say you want to watch Doctor Who via the BBC iPlayer, but you live in the U.S. Geoblocking keeps you from accessing that content. However, a DNS service, such as Unotelly, lets you get around that and watch your favorite international networks for free. And yes, before you ask, it is completely legal. This also comes in handy if you travel internationally and want to watch your Netflix while in another country.
Sign up for other online streaming services.
Of course, other services are on their way that allow you to watch content online, including PlayStation TV and Sling TV. However, those are not yet available and may still not be as much of a bargain as existing services already are.
[Photo Credit: Amazon]