Making Better Use of Your TV Budget | Live Work Travel USA | Live Work Travel USA
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Cutting the Cord… and Your Monthly TV Bill

I remember how excited I was when I first signed up for my new TV, Internet and Phone package in my second week after moving to the US. A wide screen TV was one of our first pieces of furniture and of course we signed up for a bundle with over 100 channels plus some premium channels like HBO and Showtime. Our excitement about all these different TV channels suddenly died down about six months later, when our sign up special expired and we had to pay full price for it, which was a little over a hundred dollars per month back then. And that was just for the TV part! Getting from 14 Euros a month in Germany to over a hundred Dollars made us slowly reduce the amount of channels to cut down on the cost.

First we dropped the premium channels, then reduced to the basic package which still had plenty of channels. Later we switched providers from cable to dish to get another good sign up bonus. But of course the special eventually ended too and the monthly bill went up fast. It was about time we made a drastic change.

hulu_350We’ve already been watching a few German shows online and had our computer connected with the TV through an HDMI cable, so that we could still enjoy our shows on the big screen. You may need an adapter for a few bucks or watch with an S-Video and audio cable depending on the age of your equipment. Anyway, it was easy to start watching our favorite TV shows online through the television networks’ websites. Almost all of our shows were and still are available online for free the day after they aired on TV. The rest we’re able to watch through services like iTunes, Hulu or even YouTube. You will be surprised about how many full length episodes are available on YouTube shortly after they premiered on TV. And regular Hulu is totally free providing standard definition, which is still a good quality to watch on your TV through a computer. The only real advantage of Hulu Plus to me is that some shows come in HD and you can stream it to boxes like PS3 or Roku, but you still have to watch commercials, even though you now pay 10 bucks a month. To me it wasn’t really worth it.

One of the drawbacks of cutting the cord is that it can be difficult to watch live events like the Academy Awards or sports events with a decent streaming connection. That’s why we bought a simple indoor antenna (bunny ears) in order to receive all local channels in HD for free. And local means channels like FOX, ABC and other major networks. They are the ones that also broadcast big events like the Soccer World Cup or the Grammy Awards. Another drawback however is that you also won’t be able to use your DVR or TiVo anymore.

Now that you got rid of the monthly bill from your cable or dish provider, you can spend a part of that money more wisely for select services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus to make up for the shows and movies that you cannot watch for free on the internet.

RLT_remoteIf you already have a Playstation, Xbox, Apple TV, Roku or internet ready TV, you can even stream the content from your wireless internet router. No more cables across the room and no need to set up the computer close to the TV.

You can save a lot of money, if you change the way you watch TV a little bit. You will have to make some sacrifices and maybe wait a day longer to catch your favorite show. You also may have to watch one or the other commercial in order to see free content. But your budget for renting movies and going to the theatre increased a lot.

Think about it! There’s a pretty substantial amount of free video content online and it’s only getting better. Shows that you currently pay for are probably available online for free. The TV networks are getting better and better to make their shows more accessible online. Time to take advantage of it and to save hundreds of dollars along the way.

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Photo credit: trainman74 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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