UPDATED 06/10/19 Not sure where to begin when it comes to streaming your TV services? Here are five streaming services that you should consider. And, don’t forget one of the most attractive features of streaming services … you can watch shows anytime, anywhere, wherever you have a good, reliable internet connection. Sling TV Sling […]
Roku is the number one streaming media player in the United States and is owned by over 70% of our readers according to a recent survey. New Rokus like Roku TVs are also becoming a runaway success. However, many owners are likely not taking full advantage of everything their Roku has to offer. By: Luke […]
By: John Dick Article originally published on CivicScience on Jan. 11, 2019. The original article can be found here. It’s no secret that Americans are ditching their cable and satellite services, moving to streaming-only options that promise more choice and lower cost. But the latest CivicScience data suggest that consumers are going to be cutting the cord […]
DirecTV Now has more top channels than any other live TV service. By: DAVID KATZMAIER Article originally published in CNET Magazine on July 26, 2018. The original article can be found here. With the runaway popularity of on-demand streaming video services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video and Hulu, more people are deciding to stop paying for cable […]
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.
Author: Antonio Villas-Boas
Article originally published in Business Insider. The original article can be found here.
I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to video quality, so I often notice a difference when I switch between watching cable TV and a streaming service like Netflix or even YouTube on my TV.Overall, streaming video from a service like Netflix looks sharper than cable TV, despite the fact I’m watching both in the same 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Indeed, whether you notice it or not, there is a difference between the two in the way the video is being displayed on your TV.
See how the two differ and why internet streaming video looks better than cable TV:
Whereas internet streaming videos from a device like Google’s Chromecast or Roku, or even some Blu-Ray DVDs come in 1080p, where the “p” stands for progressive scanning.
Both display the same 1920 x 1080 resolution, but cable TV’s 1080i video can look slightly fuzzier than a video stream’s 1080p video, especially during scenes where there’s a lot of movement.
Above, the video on the left is using interlaced scanning, and the video on the right is using progressive scanning.
The video in this GIF has been slowed down to show you the effects of interlacing. It’s less noticeable when the video is playing at normal speed, but it’s still there and makes the overall picture look less sharp than progressive scanning.
That’s because 1080i displays alternating frames, with each frame only containing half of the picture.
Here’s what’s happening:
– During each second of 1080i video, you’re seeing 60 frames.
– However, each frame does not contain the whole picture. Bear with me here.
– With 1920 x 1080 resolution on a TV, there are 1,080 rows of pixels going across the screen (those rows are 1,920 pixels long, hence the 1,920 x 1,080 number used to describe the resolution).
– Each frame alternates between flashing an odd row of pixels, which covers 540 – or half – of the 1,080 rows of pixels on a 1080 TV. Once the frame with the odd row of pixels has been flashed, the next frame flashes the remaining 540 even rows of pixels.
– The odd and even frames flash so rapidly – 30 times per second each – that it looks like a complete picture.
But why does 1080i look fuzzy?
1080i video looks fuzzy because each frame of odd and even pixel rows don’t quite line up with each other, as the video has progressed from one frame to the next. It’s especially noticeable where there’s a lot of movement in a scene.
Essentially, each frame containing the odd and even rows of pixels are displaying two different parts of a video’s timeline. Each frame is only milliseconds or less apart, but it’s enough to give off that ghosting effect where you see a trail of an object on the screen. Hence, you get that fuzzy look on cable TV video
Meanwhile, the 1080p video feed from your streaming device delivers every row of pixels in every frame.
Every row of pixels – all 1,080 of them – is being loaded up onto your TV screen in every frame. In turn, that means there’s no chance for the frames to be out of sync with each other, like they are with 1080i, and the video looks sharper.
So why do cable companies use the clearly inferior 1080i?
It’s all about bandwidth. Cable TV providers simply don’t have enough bandwidth to deliver a 1080p signal where every frame contains the whole picture at 60 frames per second. So, it sends 1080i signal, where only half of the picture is contained in every frame.
So, if you’re a video quality stickler like me, streaming your TV shows and movies from the internet is the only way to go.
Plus, it’s unlikely that cable companies will be able to push a 4K video signal through the existing cable TV infrastructure, so internet streaming or 4K Blu-Ray is the only way to watch 4K content in the foreseeable future.
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.
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.
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.
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.)