What I want, when I want it, and getting it cheap were my trifecta of cable and satellite television service requirements.
After 10 years of switching providers in search of the best deal and most control over what I watch, I ditched my monthly $140 Mediacom bill in favor of online services that give me what I want. The only service I kept was Internet ($37 a month) -- needed to access services giving instant access to premium programming. Crossing cable off my list of expenses was the sensible way to satisfy my programming needs and save over $1,200 a year.
Cutting Programming Confusion
Like many Americans, I watch movies, network television, and cable programming online; through services like Crackle, Hulu, Netflix, and channel websites. The downside is easily discovering and remembering options. By using Clicker, an online television guide, I don't deal with that. Searching the site for shows and movies yields a list of free and paid options. This time-saver majorly factored into my decision to cut the cable cord.
Just the Channels I Want
My biggest complaint about cable was finding my go-to channels, like HGTV and CNN, without scrolling past unwanted stations or remembering channel numbers. The solution was PlayOn, downloadable software that streams media from my home network through my Nintendo Wii to my television, laptop, and smart phone. The best part is channels are plugged in as widgets, so I choose stations listed.
PlayOn has a free version and a premium paid plan. Pricing ranges from $14.99, for six months, to $79.99, for a lifetime subscription.
Yep, I Can Record That
My DVR's ability to record shows, and watch even when no longer available, were the last reasons I clung to cable. Even shows playing online aren't there forever. Enter PlayLater, an online DVR. For $9.99 every six months, I record programming available through PlayOn and watch it on the same devices.
I'm so pleased with these low-cost solutions that I can't imagine returning to cable, unless it's thrown in free with Internet. If anything, I'm more excited about trying up-and-coming online services, like Aereo, once availability and programming are extended.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
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