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Real Alternatives For Less Expensive “TV”

iStock_000050337046SmallTechnology isn’t cheap.

Whether it’s in the form of a wireless phone bill or cable “triple play”, many American households, while loving the benefits, are reeling from the costs.

What’s changed?

First of all, wireless companies now sell family plan “smart phones” and 10 Gig data packages as the standard offering (try buying a flip phone) which run $200+ monthly.

On the video side while the cost of HD TVs has plummeted, cable operators have wisely packaged their TV offerings, packaged them with broadband and telephone service (whether desired or not) and have “helped” nudge the average consumer up the ladder of services and offerings, up to a point where an average monthly bill reachs $150, $200, or more.

Of course in the past the offerings were less robust–most of us used the “telephone company” for their land lines, and cell phones were “phones”, not mini computers. On the cable side, Springsteen sang about “57 channels and nothing on”, fairly or not. But Bruce’s 57 channels from Cablevision in his Rumson, NJ home were all analog back then.

Truth of the matter today there are “557 channels” and there’s plenty on…so much so that’s it’s hard to complain about the potpourri of programming. But it’s also hard to process the overwhelming amount of programming, the majority of which is irrelevant to most viewers.

Ah, that’s where the “savings” can come in.

First of all, there is a growing (yet still small) movement of “cord cutters” who don’t subscribe to cable but still get tons of programming. You need a broadband subscription and a streaming subscription. You can get live TV programming from the broadcast networks and cable networks, and movies as well. You just can’t get them all. You’ll need to select the service that matches your desires and be willing to trade off some of the programming you might have otherwise wanted. And if you’re a live sports junkie, this probably isn’t the road for you since the majority of sports programming won’t be available to you.

A recent NY Times article from March 18 called Suddenly, Plenty of Options for Cord Cutters does a great job of summarizing the costs/benefits of the major services including:

Netflix
Dish Network-Sling Box
Sony PlayStation Vue
Apple TV
HBO Now
CBS All Access
Amazon Prime
Hulu Plus

Every service is different and gives you lots of programming (but again not everything). But for those inclined, cutting the cable cord and saving money is getting easier, though nothing is ever simple. And it changes all the time….




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One Comment

  1. John Kerr says:

    Lonny:
    Thanks for the info. I have to say it is getting harder to watch live TV thanks to TiVo and other DVR options (although as a former ad guy it hurts just a little to zip through the ads), and there is certainly something to be said about watching episodes of my favorite shows on Netflix with no commercial breaks (less painful than zipping through the ads). Not sure if I am ready to completely cut the cord but there is not question the reasons not to are declining like the value of my DVD movie collection.

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