Alternatives to cable, satellite TV can save money

Orlando Sentinel

When I was on maternity leave for our youngest child a few years ago, I read an article about how people were starting to switch from cable and satellite companies to online streaming services, such as Netflix.  While I consider myself relatively tech-savvy, I wasn’t sure how this would go over with the rest of my family -- or even whether I could function without my satellite TV and DVR.   

But with a bill of more than $100 a month, I thought it was worth a try.    After assessing what shows we truly enjoyed versus what was just on in the background, we determined that our list was relatively short and most of the shows were actually available through streaming services. 

For those shows that weren’t (did I mention I am a “Top Chef” addict?) we decided we could buy the entire season on DVD or iTunes and still have significant savings.  Initially, we started with Netflix for $7.99. After a year, we splurged and added in Hulu Plus.  

There were some upfront costs to make the switch and keep a high user experience for our family.  We upgraded our internet speed for a better video experience (better browsing, too).  We also invested in a digital antenna for the over-the-air stations. (Bonus -- we found there were some decent channels we never knew existed.)   Even with these additional costs, overall the savings was substantial.  Between Netflix, Redbox Instant, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus, there are plenty of options available and worth a try.

It’s been more than 2 years now and we have never looked back.  Instead of mindless surfing, our viewing choices are more specific.   We tend to watch a series from start to finish, and because we are streaming, the shows are available when it fits our schedule.   

Best of all, we are only spending about $16 a month, which saves us more than $1,000 a year.

As for my Top Chef addition … funny thing is, that I still can’t bring myself to pay $40 for the season.     

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