Cutting the Cord: Inexpensive Streaming Video Alternatives to Cable and Satellite TV

Nearly a year ago my husband and I were looking for a way to cut our monthly expenses.  One of our large monthly expenses was our cable bill.  We had been saving a little money by bundling our internet and cable services but the monthly cost for both was still over $100.  This seemed a bit extreme to us since we only watch television for about an hour or so a night.  After much deliberation, we decided to keep the internet but to cancel our cable subscription.

The first week without cable was a bit harder than expected.  We still received all of the basic channels, NBC, CBS, FOX..etc., but we were used to having a DVR so that we could watch our favorite shows at our own convenience.  When we flipped through the channels we realized that none of our favorite shows aired during times we were home and able to watch them.  We realized that if we were going to make this work we needed to find some low cost streaming options for our favorite telvision shows and movies.  Below is a list of the streaming services that we have been taking advantage of.

th

Crackle:

Pros:  It’s completely free!  Crackle streams hundreds of television shows, movies and a even has a few original series.  They update their site frequently with new movies and television episodes. You can watch crackle from your computer, Roku box, or many other internet enabled devices.  Plus, there are no commercials!

Cons:  Don’t expect to watch an entire season of your favorite show.  Crackle only carries a few episodes of many of the television shows they offer.  For example, I love Seinfeld and Crackle is only streaming service I have found that streams the show.  At any given time there are around five episodes of Seinfeld available to watch.

hulu

Hulu:

Pros:  Hulu has a great selection of television shows and movies in addition to several Hulu original series.   They offer many shows that you cannot find on any other streaming service, including some British television shows.  You can watch Hulu through your computer for free.  You can also download the Hulu Plus app through Wii, Playstation 3, Apple TV, Xbox 360 and several other devices (for a complete list of compatible devices, click here.)  To use Hulu Plus you will need to pay a subscription fee of $7.99 per month.  You can sign up for a Hulu Plus seven day free trial and cancel at anytime.

Cons:  Both Hulu and Hulu Plus have commercial breaks. Additionally, the free version of Hulu generally only has a few episodes of each television show they offer.  In order to watch a complete season you must sign up for Hulu Plus.

netflix

Netflix:

Pros:  Netflix has a great selection of television shows, movies and highly rated original series.  House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, the fourth season of Arrested Development and most recently Orange is the new Black are all television series that can only be found on Netflix.  Additionally, Netflix has no commercial breaks and updates their selection frequently.  Like Hulu, netflix can be streamed on several devices.  For

Cons:  Unlike Hulu, Netflix does not offer a free version of their streaming service.  Netflix streaming cost $7.99 per month to stream on up to two devices or $11.99 per month to stream on up to four devices.

hitbliss

Hitbliss:

Pros:  Hitbliss is a newer streaming service but is generating a lot of buzz.  Hitbliss allows you to “rent” movies and television shows and stream them through your computer.  Instead of paying for the rentals with a credit card, you earn money by watching advertisements.  To get started with Hitbliss you will need to download their program.  Then, you will create an account and answer a few questions.  You choose how much information you are willing to share with them. At first I was a bit skeptical of Hitbliss but it only took me ten minutes to earn enough money to rent my first movie.  They have a great selection of new releases.  My first Hitbliss movie was Django Unchained.

Cons:  Hitbliss is a relatively new service and currently you are only able to stream media through your computer.  Also, Hitbliss does not have the selection of Netflix or Hulu.

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