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Cable Alternatives That Can Free Up $1,000 in Your Budget

Originally posted on Every Dollar’s website here.

We Americans love our cable TV. We must, because according to Leichtman Research Group, we pay $103 a month on average for it.¹ That’s over $1,000 a year!

But cable isn’t the only way we can keep up with the news, watch our favorite sports team, or learn which stars are no longer dancing. There are options that cost much less and can free up over $1,000 in your budget to go toward something else—say, a Baby Step?

Check out these seven options for getting the same shows at a lower cost.

1. Netflix and Hulu ($8 per month for basic subscriptions)

Hulu and Netflix have become very popular because they let you see your favorite shows for a fraction of cable prices. The catch? Hulu still has commercials. But the upgraded, commercial-free version will cost you only $12. And if you want to watch Netflix on more than one device, you’ll have to upgrade to a Standard ($10) or Premium ($12) plan. Either way, you can sign up for one of these, pay a few bucks a month, and watch your shows on your schedule.

2. Amazon Prime Video ($9 per month)

Prime Video offers a wide selection of movies, TV series, and their own constantly growing original series. But if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, consider getting Amazon Prime for $99 a year. A membership includes Prime Video and a pretty sweet perk: free two-day shipping on most products you order from Amazon. With the membership, you get Prime Video around $8.25 a month, plus all of the Amazon Prime extras. That can make this an even better deal.

3. Sling TV ($20 a month)

Sling TV costs less than a third of the average monthly American cable bill. For that reduced cost, you get 30 live channels instead of a few hundred. The cable package you have now probably has selections you didn’t even know existed, much less watch. Slimming down your selection while trimming your costs makes a lot of sense.

4. Roku or Chromecast ($30-35)

With one of these devices, an internet connection and a wireless modem, you get access to a huge library of films and video, several streaming movie services, and the ability to stream pro basketball and baseball games. Both Roku and Chromecast offer upgraded devices for a little extra cash. Regardless of which one you choose, there’s bound to be something that suits your fancy—the price certainly will.

5. HBO NOW, Showtime, Starz ($9-15 per month)

Whether you’re in the mood for a Hollywood blockbuster or you want to catch up with Tony Soprano, HBO, Showtime and Starz all have their own streaming services. It’s a stand-alone service, so you don’t need a subscription for it, but you can add them on to your Amazon Prime, Hulu, Roku, Sling, or Netflix accounts for an additional fee.

6. Online Network Channels (free)

Just about all the major networks, like ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, allow you to view recently aired episodes of your favorite shows on their websites for a limited amount of time. Sure, you may have to watch ads, but it’s a lot less than the cost of satellite.

7. Library (free)

You may not know it, but you can check out TV shows from your local public library. If you’re willing to drive to the place where you pick them up—like we all used to do when we wanted to rent a movie from the video store—then this is a good alternative to paying for cable.

You can still get your news, sports, or can-you-believe-that-housewife-said-that-thing-about-that-other-housewife fix without spending so much for it. That’s a great way to give a jolt to your Baby Step progress, and it doesn’t stop with the television. There are tons of options to reduce your expenses by taking a closer look at your budget. When you take control of your spending and accomplish your financial goals even quicker than before, it will feel like your money situation will have a Hollywood ending.

That kind of stuff doesn’t happen just on TV.

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The Many Ways to Watch Television

You now have dozens of options, from antennas to new streaming services

By James K. Willcox

Originally posted on Consumer Reports website. See their article here.

It wasn’t too long ago that your options for catching favorite TV shows or movies at home were limited mainly to an antenna or a cable-TV package.

As you can see from the diagram below, that’s no longer the case. Today, you can watch many of the same shows and movies any number of ways, including from cable and satellite providers, various online services, and yes, even with a trusty antenna. Here’s a quick look at all the services clamoring for your attention—and dollars.

ILLUSTRATION: THE TOM AGENCY

Your Expanding Options

 

Online Cable Replacement

Services such as Sling TV and Hulu With Live TV compete directly with cable by offering live channels online for a monthly fee of around $20 to $40. But the choices can be limited. You can get a smattering of broadcast (such as ABC and NBC) and cable-type (Bravo, CNN, HGTV) channels. Premium channels (HBO, Showtime) may be on tap for an added fee. For more details, check out our article on cable-TV replacement services.

Single-Channel Websites, Apps

You can subscribe to some TV channels’ websites and apps to watch just their shows without signing up for a larger TV package. CBS, HBO, Showtime, and Starz all offer this option. Some channels have apps that let you watch their content only if you are already paying through a cable or satellite subscription.

Subscription Streaming

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other smaller players charge a subscription fee, usually around $8 to $10 per month, for unlimited viewing of all their TV content and movies, including original shows such as Netflix’s “House of Cards.” Shows are delivered over the internet, so you can watch on a computer, smart TV, or mobile device.

Pay-per-View Services

Services such as iTunes and Vudu let you rent or buy single titles—a movie, one episode of a show, or a whole season. Amazon Video—the company’s pay-per-view service—offers this option, too. (Note, Amazon Prime members: Not all of Amazon’s content is included with your subscription.)

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Are You Paying Too Much For TV? Sling TV Provides a Great Way to Cut the Cord with More Than 150 Channels

We all love to watch our favorite TV shows, but we can all agree that cable TV is expensive and can be a pain to deal with. If you’re like us, you only watch a handful of channels out of the expensive cable bundle you pay for anyway. With that said, are you paying too much for TV?

Sling TV is an attractive alternative to cable or satellite and is allowing many people to “cut the cord.”  Sling TV offers the same great shows without the costly bill at the end of the month, not to mention the expensive equipment that takes up so much room on your TV stand.

What is Sling TV?

There are several services that offer a choice over cable TV, however Sling is still one of the best ways to watch TV on the go. Said simply, it’s live TV streaming whenever and wherever. No contracts, no equipment, and no costly bills.

Sling TV allows subscribers to watch a collection of live and on-demand TV channels on their TVs, computers or mobile devices. This is live TV, just like a cable or satellite service, except it’s delivered over the internet. One way to think of it is that it’s like Netflix, but with live TV.

Where is Sling TV available?

Sling is available anywhere in the United States where there fast, reliable internet is present. That being said, it’s certainly available where Point Broadband is offered.

How is it different from my cable or satellite provider?

Depending on how much you pay for TV service, it’s probably cheaper. To use it, you’ll need a good internet connection, like Point Broadband, and a compatible device to run the Sling TV app, which takes the place of a cable or satellite box and connects to a TV. You can also watch on your phone, tablet or computer, either at home or away. The best part? Unlike cable or satellite, there are no contracts and you can cancel or resume service anytime, with no penalties.

How can I watch Sling TV?

You’ll need to subscribe here, set up an account, then install the app on a supported device.

Sling TV is currently available on the following devices:

  • Roku
  • Apple TV (2015 only)
  • Chromecast
  • Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • Xbox One
  • Android TV
  • Channel Master
  • Android phones and tablets
  • iOS phones and tablets (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
  • PC and Mac computers

A complete list of supported products can be found on Sling’s website.

Once you have the device and app installed, you’ll be able to sign in and start watching using your fast reliable internet service powered by Point Broadband!

How much does Sling TV cost?

Sling TV is available in two different flavors: Sling Orange, which costs $20/month; and Sling Blue, which costs $25/month. At present, Orange offers more than 30 channels, and Blue offers more than 40. However, Blue doesn’t include every Orange channel. You can get a combined Blue/Orange pack for $40/month. Sling TV also offers add-on packages that range from $5/month to $15/month.

Start with the service best for you, then personalize with YOUR favorite genres: Sports, Comedy, Kids, News, Movies, Lifestyle, Spanish, & more. There are more than a dozen packages, so your monthly subscription cost could exceed $100 per month if you want absolutely everything.

Change your service online anytime. And, now you can record your favorites shows and watch later using a Cloud DVR!

Sling TV Promotions

Sling TV always has a 7-day free trial – it’s a good way to find out if Sling TV is going to work for you. A week to try it out gives you a good sense of what you like and don’t like.

Free Devices with Pre-Pay

You can get one of three devices if you prepay a few months:

Bottom Line

Sling TV is everything you love about live TV minus everything you hate. Stream top entertainment — anytime, anywhere.

Sling TV offers over 100 live channels to watch instantly, including ESPN, NFL Network, Disney Channel, AMC, Comedy Central, HGTV, TNT, TBS & more. Sling TV offers several deals that allow new users to receive a free or discounted streaming device such as a Roku or Apple TV.

Interested in Latino or International content? Sling TV is the #1 live international TV service in the US, offering 21 languages and 285 channels instantly.

No long-term contracts. No hidden fees. No social security number required. Easy online cancellation. All #PoweredbyPointBroadband.

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No Data Cap Means NO DATA CAP

Did you know Point Broadband has no data caps, which means you get unlimited data with your Internet plan? When we say this, we really mean that you will get unlimited data, all the time, all month long, at the speed/package for which you pay.

What is a data cap?

Some wireless telephone and internet providers offer Internet service packages for a certain amount of data. For example, you may have a 15GB (that’s gigabit) package to use all month long on your cell phone. You probably use that for emails, social media, online shopping, surfing the internet, downloading books, and streaming some online content and music. If you were to stream music every day and watch Netflix all weekend long, you might run out of data. If so, your bill will go up (probably a lot) and your internet speed may be throttled (i.e. slowed down). What a pain!

The bottom line: Data cap limits what you can do on the internet.

So Point Broadband has no data cap?

Yes, that’s right. We want you to use all the data you want, all the time. Stream Netflix all day, and Hulu all night, while you pick out new shoes on Amazon, and find a new music channel on Pandora. We want you to enjoy our internet, without ever worrying about a data cap.

So what does the 10MB and 20MB stuff mean on all of our communication?

When you see the 10MB (that’s megabit) and 20MB in our marketing materials, we’re describing the Internet speed you’ll receive. Some customers only need a 10MB package, while others (with multiple streaming devices and users) will need a 20MB package (gaming, etc.). This does not have anything to do with your data cap, because you will have unlimited data. We want you to connect and enjoy our fast, reliable Internet service all month, without a single worry about whether or not you’ve used it “too much”. 

#PoweredbyPoint

We hope you enjoy the brand new world of Cord-Cutting, and we are so glad that Point Broadband can help you cut the cord with our fast, reliable internet.

 

 

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Point Broadband CEO Todd Holt Joins Cord-Cutter Movement & Saves $1,200 per year

Todd Holt, Point Broadband’s Chief Executive Officer, isn’t someone we’d refer to as “tech savvy.” You won’t find him on social media or snapchat (thankfully), but he is quite the sports fan and likes to stay up-to-date on his favorite teams. So once our Marketing Department caught wind that he “cut the cord” at his house, we were all intrigued. What was his experience like? And, if he could cut the cable cord…the rest of the world could, too.

We asked Todd a few questions about his experience with ditching satellite TV service  in favor of streaming apps. His responses are summarized below.

What cable/satellite service did Todd use previously?

Todd was a satellite TV subscriber and paid about $140/month for service. He had the typical satellite setup, with a receiver mounted outside the residence and multiple receivers connected to TVs in his house.

What Streaming/Subscription Service is Todd using now?

Todd selected DirecTV Now as his main subscription service. Unlike traditional satellite TV products, the DirecTV Now app delivers content over the internet. (Yippee – no more outages due to rain or weather!)

Some channels include: ESPN, ESPN2, Cartoon Network, USA, HGTV, Nickelodeon, AMC, A&E, Food Network, Bravo, History, E!, Fox News, CNN, FX, Comedy Central, Spike, FS1, TBS, Animal Planet, FXX, TNT, Disney Channel, Discovery, Lifetime, Nat Geo, SyFy, TLC and more. ABC, FOX and NBC are included as well, but only in select markets.

Is Todd using a specific device to stream DirecTV Now?

Yes, in addition to smart TVs, Todd is using the Apple TV system to stream the content directly to his televisions. Since he travels frequently, he can also connect to the DirecTV app from his iPhone, iPad, and PC, and he can also take his Apple TV with him on his trips if he so desired, and enjoy the same TV experience he has at his home – on the road!

Here’s a list of devices that are currently supported by DirecTV Now. DirecTV Now Compatible Devices.

Can he watch DirecTV Now outside the home?

YES! As long as he has a strong broadband internet connection (like Point Broadband), he can stream his shows anywhere using the DirecTV app.

Other over-the-top TV Apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTubeTV, and Amazon Instant Video, are available on mobile devices, tablets, computers, etc. You can take your content with you anywhere, as long as that strong broadband connection is available.

You can’t do that with a cable or satellite TV bundle!

How much is Todd saving per year, just by ditching his satellite TV package?

Todd is saving about $102 per month, just by eliminating his pricey, satellite TV bundle. That’s a little over $1,200 per year! Yes, that’s right…over $1000 just by ditching that satellite dish.

Was it easy?

When Todd says it’s easy, it must be easy. These over-the-top apps are very intuitive and easy to set up. Even someone that does not have a technical background can set them up and begin streaming shows.  

#PoweredbyPoint

We hope you enjoy the brand new world of Cord-Cutting, and we are so glad that Point Broadband can help you cut the cord with our fast, reliable internet.