Nifty ways to watch TV & movies on the cheap

When we lived overseas, we barely watched television because we didn’t understand the language well enough to enjoy the effort involved. Any time we wanted to veg, we either played a game, read, or popped in a DVD.

Once we returned to the States this past March, though, we were eager to get our hands on the “new” technology that arrived since we last lived in the U.S. Yeah, so some of these options aren’t exactly new anymore — but big picture, things have changed so much so rapidly, and technology provides myriad ways to customize entertainment for each family.

Sure enough, it’s become so much easier and cheaper to enjoy movies, television, and other forms of media — to be honest, I don’t feel like there’s much of a need to have satellite or cable service any more (though I understand there are exceptions).

I’ve mentioned before, both here on Simple Mom and in my book (especially in chapter 4), that we’re not big television watchers. I have no problem with the occasional show or movie, so long as it’s intentional. It’s just that I’d rather do 20 other things with my time.

That said, we do like watching quality entertainment. Here are easy to use (read: you don’t have to be a geek), frugal ways to stream it into your home.

1. Netflix

Netflix is the go-to source for renting DVDs without leaving your home. A monthly subscription currently costs $10 in order to rent unlimited movies that will be delivered to your mailbox, and also to instantly stream movies from an Internet access. For $8 per month, you can have the option to only stream movies from the Internet.

You don’t have quite as large a streaming movie selection as you do by receiving them in the mail. But honestly, there are plenty — more than we can watch. I love that my children can have a wide option of children’s shows without the clutter of owning DVDs, and without the issue of watching less than savory commercials.

We rented the outstanding Planet Earth series last spring, and that’s become a favorite in our home. I also love watching documentaries, and there’s a great thought-provoking selection.

We don’t live anywhere near a Redbox station, so I also personally love that we don’t have to leave the house to rent movies.

2. Hulu

Hulu offers hundreds of television shows you can watch instantly with an Internet connection. Typically, you watch the most recent five episodes of a series, though there are times when producers allow access to an entire season’s worth, so you can play catch up.

We don’t have Hulu Plus, but with this $8 monthly service, you can watch Hulu off your computer using different devices (see more on that below). This is a nice option when you want to watch Hulu without typing up your computer.

The main problem I have with both Hulu and Netflix is that they’re US-only. I’m sure this is for copyright reasons, but these services would have been invaluable to me, when we lived overseas and were homesick for The Office.

3. Amazon

With Amazon Video On Demand, you can both purchase and rent digital movies, and often their connection is faster than with either of the services above. Prices are reasonable, at around $1-$4 for movie rentals and typically $10-$15 for movie purchases.

4. Pandora or

I love Internet radio. Love, love, love it. We have music on in our house all the time, and I listen to it when I work on all my writing projects. With Pandora (and, particularly if you’re outside the U.S.), you can customize stations so that you listen only to music you like. The more you ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ songs, the most personalized your listening experience.

How to use them

1. Computer

You don’t really need any extra device save a computer for using any of the above services. If you’re not big on these forms of entertainment, watching or listening from your computer should be fine. You can even use a composite, VGA, or HDMI cord to tap your computer to your television (which ones depends on the type of TV).

We watch all sorts of things on our new Dell Inspiron All-in-One desktop. It has THX sound and a 24-inch monitor (bigger than our actual TV!), not to mention tons of storage space — 1 terabyte, in fact. This is quickly becoming our main entertainment source, since the picture and sound are so clear, and because it has 6 gigs of memory.

The biggest downside to using a computer is that it ties it up from doing other things on it.

2. Roku

A Roku is a little box that serves as a portal to your digital subscriptions and channels them to your television. You simply plug it in to your television’s video-in port, and use the remote to add subscriptions.

With our Roku, we can access our Netflix, Flickr, and Pandora accounts. You can also add You Tube, Facebook, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video OnDemand, and about 100 other channels. This has freed up our computers so that we can watch a show on Netflix without tying up our computers. We’ve also connected the Roku to our sound system, so our music from Pandora streams crystal clear.

3. Game Consoles

If you’ve got an Xbox, Playstation3, Wii, or some other digital gaming device, you can use the same features as a Roku directly on your console. We’re not gamers so we don’t have experience with this, but have a number of friends who take advantage of this nifty feature.

You can also use a DVR, but having one makes sense mostly if you also have cable television. And of course, you can watch any Internet-related media site when you’re on the go on a smartphone, laptop, or iPad.

One caution to streaming your entertainment from the Internet is that it might eat up your bandwidth. Depending on how much you use the Internet, your online connection may slow down when you stream several things at once.

We have a very low bandwidth where we live, and every now and then a show on Netflix has to refresh. But honestly, it’s not bad at all. For us, we don’t live and breathe entertainment enough to make this a major hassle.

The trick is to use media for good and not “evil.” Regularly keep a tight rein on why and when you watch entertainment, and do so intentionally. Make a family movie night a regular tradition, or set one night per week to watch a movie with your hubby.

These services and devices allow you to choose what’s on in your home (minimal commercials!). Do so appropriately, and you’ll have a much more personalized, enjoyable experience watching entertainment at home.

At $30 per month minimum for cable or satellite, I simply can’t justify paying that price when I can hand pick movies and television shows with a $8 monthly Netflix subscription and a one-time $80 Roku purchase.

As a side note: We are relaunching Simple Living Weekly in 2011 as Simple Living Monthly — the first revamped issue will be sent out tonight, so if you don’t receive it yet, there’s still time to sign up! There’s original content from me in each issue, links to the best posts and comments from each of the sites, Facebook and Twitter highlights, and occasional exclusive giveaways from sponsors. It’s a fun way to see more of the “behind the scenes” of SLM. January’s issue will be sent out this evening, so don’t miss it!

What’s your favorite way to stream movies, television, and other forms of media at home?

You can say no to constant busyness.

To lead your family with peace, you need to know your NOs and YESes. But what are they?

Like Your Life can help you figure them out.


  1. Faith

    Hubby and I have been researching this for about a month and we decided to make the switch just yesterday. We feel that it will be one more thing to help us be more intentional with ALL of our time, as well as our finances. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  2. Rachel

    Yes! We watch most of our television on our internet, but we also have Netflix. Plus, regular ol’ TV is fine, too. As in not having cable! I wouldn’t waste the $60+/month on that ever again. The fact is that when you work full-time you don’t have enough time to watch what you’re paying for. What’s the point?

  3. Brit

    I’ve been doing this for over a year. I’ve only been married that long and we don’t own a TV and with all the options online we don’t really see the point in buying a TV right now.

  4. Angela @ Homegrown Mom

    We use several of these as well, but I prefer cable and dvd’s for one main reason: Subtitles! I do not hear well and we’ve been using subtitles for years. Unfortunately, the technology used when streaming stuff doesn’t support captions, except for some network websites, which usually only offer the last couple episodes of any show. I hope Netflix adds captions one day!

    • Michele

      Angela – Netflix does have SOME captions on streaming, just not a ton. I started seeing them a few months ago on a handful of movies. Not enough to justify a Netflix account for my parents (my mom has hearing problems) but I think the technology is coming. We watch Netflix via our TV (Wii, computer or now a BluRay) but supposedly Netflix is rolling out the technology for PCs and Macs first.

    • Sarah

      Angela, reading your answer I was reminded that Netflix added a subtitle feature on the viewing screen for movies and tv shows recently. πŸ™‚

  5. Michele

    Tsh – We watch TV via a dedicated spare computer. We used to watch Netflix on linked computer (or our Wii) but we recently had to replace our BluRay and our new one has links for Hulu Plus (we have a free 3 month trial due to the purchase) as well as Netflix and Amazon VOD. The picture is much clearer streaming through the BluRay than any other method we’ve used.

  6. Samantha @ Mama Notes

    Can I just say that I love the title of this post? You don’t hear “nifty ways” too often these days πŸ™‚

    • Tsh

      Glad you like it. πŸ™‚

  7. Alison @ Femita

    That Roku device looks interesting! The thing I love about those ‘on demand’ services is the fact that you consciously decide what you will be watching instead of switching channels all the time while lying in the sofa with the remote control in hand. It’s very efficient and frees up time for other things.

  8. Cindy

    We bought a Roku for Christmas and we LOVE it. Now we listen to Pandora and cancelled the Sirius Radio that we had to pay for. Also thinking of getting rid of cable and going with Hulu or at least downgrading our current subscription to basic cable. It’s a great reminder of how great a free market is. When companies start getting greedy and charging too much for service people will search out alternatives.

  9. Kelly

    We lived abroad for 2 years, just returning this spring, and also felt like the entire world of entertainment had changed while we were gone. Also supremely jealous that we couldn’t even watch the olympics online bc we were using an out-of-country IP address! But now, we only watch our favorite shows, normally legally through Hulu. And we don’t watch mindless TV anymore. Much more freeing!

  10. TAbitha (From Single to Married)

    We’ve become a HUGE fan of Netflix instant downloads – I especially love that I can watch it on my iPhone when I’m board and not near a TV. btw – explain to me why I love the show Say Yes to the Dress when I’m already married and definitely not in the market for a wedding dress? Netflix has definitely enabled my addiction to that show!


  11. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    “I love that my children can have a wide option of children’s shows without the clutter of owning DVDs, and without the issue of watching less than savory commercials.”

    EXACTLY! We just gave away all but six or seven of our kids’ DVDs (keeping those on hand for the occasional LONG road trip, the only time we borrow a friend’s portable DVD player for in-car entertainment) and downgraded our cable to the most basic package because we are in LOVE with our choices on Netflix streaming.

    Kyle has found classic cartoons like Felix the Cat and others that the girls enjoy, and we’ve discovered shows like Shaun the Sheep and Pingu that we would never have access to with cable/satellite.

    Both Kyle and I love documentaries and have been eating those up in the evenings along with long-since-canceled but HIGHLY enjoyable series like Firefly.

    And I am the BIGGEST fan of Pandora. It’s truly one of the best services to come out in the past five years. Could not make it through my day without it! (Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it would be a sad, bleak day without it.)

    (Tsh – do you have a Forest Sun station? Try it. I am positive you will love it.)

    Love the idea of the ROKU. Glad to hear you are enjoying yours!

  12. Michelle

    We just got a Roku, mainly so we could watch our favorite shows on hulu without using a computer. However, we were disappointed to find that two shows we wanted to watch (Community and Chuck) are not available on hulu plus through the Roku. We like the Roku for many other reasons, but I would recommend that you make sure your shows are available first, if that matters to you.

    • Tsh

      Good point. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Rachel

    I *heart* my Roku. It’s really the greatest purchase we’ve ever made. I love not having to pay for cable—or getting all the smut that comes with it. πŸ™‚ I can be choosy without feeling wasteful. It’s awesome!

  14. karen @ our slo house

    We have a tv, but we don’t have cable.

    We love Netflix and Hulu. In a pinch, if it’s a rainy weekend and I don’t have a DVD for the kids, I use RedBox at the local grocery store.

  15. Sarah

    One important cheap – free – way to get movies, documentaries, etc. – the public library.

    I’m kind of a luddite so I’m learning a lot here – but I have to say, especially when my kids were young – we got so much use out of the public library including borrowing lots of movies and audio programs!

    • Tsh

      Very true! We still do that, too.

    • Elissa

      My public library has a digital library that allows me not only to check out ebooks for my Nook and Audiobooks, but it also has down loadable movies! Yay for the library!!! πŸ™‚

  16. Rona

    We watch most of our tv online. Netflix, Hulu, Fancast and various full online websites allow our family to watch when we want to. That’s what we love…the convenience.

  17. Rachel

    Going off what Sarah said about the public library: most library systems let you put books and movies on hold online. That lets you watch popular movies that are never on the shelf.

    That said, we also have a Netflix account.

  18. Katie @ Imperfect People

    We use redbox. It is only $1 a rental and it works out cheaper than netflix for us because we do it MAYBE 4 times a month. Lots of good rentals there too.

    • Elissa

      Katie – I’m surprised that Redbox wasn’t mentioned. In my neck o’ the woods, they are EVERYWHERE. My grocery store, my drug store, even the gas stations! And at a buck a rental…you can’t go wrong!

      I have digital cable and love it. I can record events and then watch them later – blasting through the commercials. The on demand feature is nice as well so I can watch past shows or movies whenever I want – usually for free but sometimes I pay for a new release. We also live out of market for our favorite sports teams, but can usually catch them on some obscure-ish cable channel like VS or ESPN3….but the games don’t stream on the internet.
      I’ve looked into Hulu, but we don’t have a computer in our house that can handle that kind of streaming video. Ah well! To each their own! πŸ™‚

  19. Melissa :: A Beautiful Mission

    OH YES! Netflix (streaming through our Blueray) and Pandora have COMPLETELY changed the way we watch tv/movies and listen to music. Really, Netflix just blows my mind every time! We enjoy not just watching movies, but tv shows. We never got in to Heroes when it was on tv.. now, we’re enjoying going through them all on Netflix.
    If it weren’t for sports, we would definitely get rid of our cable.

    • Tsh

      We’re not in to sports, but my dad is. Is there a particular sport? I know on the Roku you can get the MLB and NHL channels streamlined. He can watch every baseball game known to man this way. πŸ™‚

      • Elissa

        My husband had for a season…but I think our internet has issues – its sketchy…even our streaming netflix will freeze up. Its so frustrating! We live in a major metro area and everyone we talk to – the internet provider, tech people, everyone – just shrugs it off and says I dunno – wifi fan be that way. *grr*

        We can handle the freezes when we watch a movie, but if hubby missed an at bat of his Atlanta braves because if it – WATCH OUT! πŸ™‚

        • Sarah

          Hi Elissa, scanning through the comments I came across yours. And I can totally identify with your wi-fi issue πŸ™‚ we currently live in what’s considered a rural area even though we’re three minutes from the main st. so one thing we did is switch over to cable as the bandwidth is a constant 100.0mbps for wifi and regular. Friends of mine made this same switch and also bought a wifi tower for their house, (i don’t recall how much) through Verizon and its been totally worth it as it pulls directly from the internet @ home and gives you a constant strong signal working as your personal wifi tower. Just a thought. πŸ™‚ Happy New Year!

      • Melissa :: A Beautiful Mission

        He’s mostly an Ohio State/Big Ten Football and Basketball fan. But he also “needs” his SportsCenter fix! We’ll keep investigating. I have a feeling that cable is going to obsolete in a few years!

  20. Lia keller

    i wish I could use hili with the iPad!

  21. Lauren

    We are Roku-using HuluPlus and Netflix users! We haven’t had cable/satellite for over 2 years. I couldn’t be happier! Hubby still longs for HD sports, but if there’s ever a game on that is really important to him he goes to a sports bar or friends’ house to watch it.

  22. LaToya

    My kids LOVE Jelly Telly!! And we also love the PBS shows that we can see without cable or on the website.

    • Julia

      We like Jelly Telly too. And PBS. We’ve never paid for cable. Not sure what we’re gonna do about the Superbowl this year though, since we haven’t even got an antenna for our TV.

  23. Reese

    One thing that you get with Amazon on Demand that you don’t with Netflix or Hulu is the option to download the entire movie instead of streaming it. If you have a slow or not so reliable connection this is a great feature. Even when I had faster, more reliable internet, Netflix streaming would have hiccups. Being able to download the movie then watch it is much better.

    • Tsh

      Ooh, that does sound nice!

  24. green

    We’re about to make the switch to a Roku XDS this week! At $80/month for Directv, it’s just no longer reasonable, especially with this option out there. We’re getting both Netflix and Hulu plus… BUT, before all of that, we made sure that we could get local network channels (mainly for Sesame Street for my 2 1/2 year old!) as Street is not available on line… πŸ™ What we found was this:

    We built our own TV antenna that goes in our attic and spent $5 total on it. Well, had to buy the conversion box as our TV was from 2006… But, even 40 miles from the TV stations, we’re getting good reception for FREE. So that, combined with the other two options, means our monthly bill will drop by $60! We live out of town a bit, so getting the Redbox videos back was never a sure thing – we’ll probably be breaking even this way.

    We’re looking forward to better shows and less mindless viewing!

  25. Rana

    We’ve been with out cable since last summer and have been just getting movies from the library and watching some online. I signed up for Netflix a couple of weeks ago and we love it. We stream through our Wii.

  26. Katie Kerr

    Wish I still lived in the States for these options…Oh well.

  27. Meagan @ The Happiest Mom

    We love love love streaming Netflix, especially on the iPad, since it gives us so much control and flexibility as to where we watch the shows. I don’t feel like my kids need every option under the sun…there are plenty of shows and movies to watch, and not being able to choose ANYTHING we want means we’ve found a lot of treasures we wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

  28. Daniel Bourque

    I used to use Pandora until they cut out service in Canada. My brother-in-law introduced us to for a similar experience. (dot ca!) does work in Canada – both my mom and brother use the service, and are quite happy with it.

  29. Mandy M

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Netflix through our Wii. We haven’t had cable in the 4 years we’ve been married and I was cable free for about 2 years before that. I couldn’t justify the cost when I could get most of what I wanted with my good ol’ bunny ears. We bought the converter when they made the digital switch, but rarely use it.

    With two kids whose bed time is right at my primetime tv hour, it’s impossible to watch a show. Thankful for HULU and the other network sites that host their shows the day after! I’d be lost without The Office!

  30. RuthintheDesert

    If I could just get PBS on one of these other services, I’d give up my cable. (We have that 9.99/month basic package that the cable company doesn’t like to admit they offer.) I love the Britcoms on Saturday night, and my favorites aren’t available to view instantly at netflix.

    • Tsh

      We get PBS without cable. Three stations of it, in fact.

  31. David Willis

    We use Netflix through the Apple TV. Being able to fit movies or shows into our schedule, on purpose, has been really cool. Not having to have the movie back by the due date lets us plan when we want to watch, or if it is available to stream we can plan for that too. Good stuff. Thanks for this post.

  32. Alissa

    We’ve been talking about dropping the cable for a while. For a long time, I was the one promoting it, but my husband didn’t want to give up viewing access. Now, he’s all excited about the internet options, and I’m the one with this stupid fear that we’re going to “miss” something. Actually, I’m worried about missing our morning dose of Sesame Street – it’s become a critical piece to help us get out the door in the morning – incentive to get dressed; something to occupy kids while I do the last minute run around; and then the timer signaling when it’s time to walk out the door. Lame. I know. But the truth.

    • Tsh

      We can still get PBS with rabbit ears. It’s even HD. Is that not the case for you?

      • Sally

        Nope in the south central PA area the PBS channel even held to the original digital cut-over date.

  33. Sarah

    Our family has been sans cable/dish for 2 years now and we always have something to watch! We’ll never go back at this point.

  34. Courtney

    Perfect timing for me – last week I put our DirecTV on hold yet again. We do it after every football season because (other than football) we don’t watch much TV. Now we’ve got the rabbit ears back up. Kids watch DVDs or cartoons online, and my husband and I already get most of our news information online. I appreciate these tips on other options. Thanks!

    • Loren

      Hi Courtney – We have DirecTv as well and could give it up except for the sports options. You mentioned putting yours on hold – how exactly do you do that? Is it something DirecTv offers?

      • Courtney

        You can just call DirecTV and ask them to put your service on hold. They will do it for up to 6 months – but it extends the life of your contract by 6 months. So our 2 year contract has been going on for 3+ years now. . .

        Also, I noticed this in other comments: we do not get PBS with our rabbit ears, and it is a bummer. I’m considering trying “stronger” antenna, but for now I rely on videos for the kids.

  35. gretchen from lifenut

    We ditched our satellite 1.5 years ago and haven’t looked back. We can find anything and everything on Netflix, both DVDs and streaming. We use either our Wii or PS3, plus we have the Netflix app on our iPhones. It’s all very easy to use.

    We gave my ILs a gift subscription to Netflix for Christmas. They seemed dubious, but are now totally on board. Many of their favorite old shows and movies are instantly accessible. Can’t beat that.

  36. web from SimplyWebly

    My husband and I got rid of cable 1 year and 1/2 ago because 1) It got too expensive 2) hulu, itunes store and zune made our lives easier. is not mentioned on the list but we have access to it from our xbox live membership on our xbox 360. They are pretty good too and the other thing I like with zune is that sometimes they will feature movies that are not out on theaters yet and you can view them for $5. You do have to purchase microsoft points to buy movies. We also view our netflix movies from xbox.

    $5 beats the $10 movie matinee in the comfort of our home.

  37. Sea

    We went 7 years without anything, then 3 years ago we got Directv. We are having a hard time giving it up- we have the cheapest package- the family one. It’s affordable and offers a lot of Christian stations and shows (and I love the Chrisitan radio station), that are harder to come by through other options. That is the main reason we are having a hard time giving it up- we can’t find other options for these shows! We also enjoy some shows on National Geographic channel. Any options for Christians shows for the whole family through internet? Thanks!

  38. Miranda

    There is another way to watch TV on your computer or compatible mobile device like an iPad. I’m an employee and a subscriber of DISH Network and I like being able to watch my shows anywhere. I have a 722 DVR receiver and a Sling Adapter that allows me to access my DVR recordings as well as live TV. Mainly I use it on my laptop to watch Empire Boardwalk on my lunch breaks and I love it.

  39. Amanda

    Don’t forget the wonderful resource of your local library! The library- its not just for books anymore!

  40. Demelza

    My husband and I were discussing this exact thing last night. Netflix has an excellent selection of interesting, thought-provoking movies, TV series, documentaries, etc., and we always find something to stream that we never would have found on cable. They’re also a great source for obscure old films.

    Maybe we’re getting tired of paying a premium for hundreds of channels that offer very little in the way of stimulating content. Great post!

  41. Jennifer

    Again, like some of the commenters, sports is the main reason we can’t drop the Fios (Verizon Fios is the BEST service) yet…. but even though my husband works for Verizon, we would drop it if we could get ESPN and the football games, etc WITH a Tivo type option. We watch almost all our games on delay with the help of the DVR so that we can skip commercials – some out of simple annoyance, some skipped to avoid exposing little ears… πŸ™‚


  42. gboll

    Sounds great but my husband and I love sports so we pay for Directv, the sports package and then a MLB package. It is soooo worth it because we really don’t do anything else. πŸ™‚

  43. Lou

    We love streaming Netflix and Hulu — and rabbit ears for a few shows not available online! Pandora and streaming FM stations for music. I try to minimize our purchase of books, DVDs, and CDs, because our storage space is severely limited. Thank goodness for the library!

    My sister and her family still have cable. They play hockey and tennis, and can’t give up the sports channel.

  44. Rachel K

    Hi! The Nester had a link to your post! Yes!! I agree! My husband and I cancelled our cable about a month ago! We decided paying the $75 a month for us to only watch a few channels was not worth it! So we use Netflix, Hulu, and watch the over the air channels. My husband has us set up with a media computer in our living room (hooked up to the TV) that runs Windows Media Center and we have a device that allows us to still record our favorite shows! The shows get stored on the media computer and Media Center allows us to easily access our recorded shows, music library, etc. It’s funny… since we cancelled our cable, we are watching TV more!

    • Gloria

      Hi Rachel, can you tell me more about your media computer and Media Center or direct me to where I can find more info? Thanks!

  45. john sadowski

    have netflex. what do ineed to purchase to get netflex on my tv?

    • Sarah

      Hi John, do you have a game console, blu-ray dv player, roku or tivo? if so these are already set up with an app for netflix and all that’s needed is for you to open it sign in get an access code form netflix so it recognizes your IP address and you’re set to go. Netflix also has directions for each device and how to set it up. πŸ™‚

  46. Gloria

    Hi, I found your post via the Nester and love it. I also don’t have cable or satellite tv. We use Netflix and have a digital antenna that picks up our local stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, CW, ION, and Qubo). The antenna was only about $30 and now we have free TV. Of course, we also watch other shows on Hulu and Fancast (like Hulu). We stream through the XBox or the blueray player. I also L.O.V.E. Pandora and couldn’t live without it at work. There are so many options these days for basically free home entertainment. Although I do miss some shows from cable, I can live without them.

  47. Gloria

    Hi, I found your post via the Nester and love it. I also don’t have cable or satellite tv. We use Netflix and have a digital antenna that picks up our local stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, CW, ION, and Qubo). The antenna was only about $30 and now we have free TV. Of course, we also watch other shows on Hulu and Fancast (like Hulu). We stream through the XBox or the blueray player. I also L.O.V.E. Pandora and couldn’t live without it at work. There are so many options these days for basically free home entertainment. Although I do miss some shows from cable, I can live without them.

    I would love to do a post on this myself and if you don’t mind I would like to link back to your post. Thanks!

  48. Sharon@Hiking Toward Home

    We invested in a mini Mac. a little silver box, small and neatly placed and hooked into our hdtv. It is wonderful for editing photos and sifting through memories. My husband and I can sort through our photos without having to cram around a small laptop screen AND we can watch “tv” on it as you just described. You can also watch full length shows on The only thing that we are missing that we would have if we had bought the iMac desktop is the built in webcam… but that is fixable.
    Like you we quit watching tv while overseas, and I refuse to pay a cable bill stateside.

  49. jennifer

    I would completely cut out cable today but my husband played college football and we have a college age lacrosse player who is majoring in sports broadcasting. A day without Sports Center could be really bad here. this is our biggest dilemma. Sure wish there was a way to resolve this as I hate paying the cable bill every month!

  50. Debra

    Came via the Nester’s link to your site. Have been debating cutting the cable down to just Internet for a while. Unfortunately I have not found a way to get HGTV free, and as we are new home owners I am really hooked, plus I like all the shows on FX. I already have a Roku and Netflix Instant…and we watch those all the time.

  51. Kim @ Beautiful Wreck

    We did this over a year ago and haven’t looked back. Netflix is getting more and more every day. It is great for homeschooling and it is a fraction of what we were paying for a satellite. We also have a lot more control over what our children view. I am so glad to not have the commercials too!

  52. Deb

    I would so love to cancel the cable completely, but my hubby loves his sports, particularly his motorcycle and motocross racing. We live in a semi rural area and are surrounded by lots of large, old growth trees so an antenna doesn’t work very well either. I’m hoping that more programming will become accessible via Netflix, Hulu and other alternative sources so that we can finally let go of the cable. I hate spending that money every month when it could be going to something more worthwhile like vacations!

    We are purchasing a Wii so we can play some games, do Wii Fit, and stream Netflix. I have been a Netflix fan since they first started up, it’s brilliant!

  53. Jacquelyn

    Also just curious if anyone has used the Tivo combination with netflix and hulu. That is what I am thinking about making the jump to because of the DVR.

  54. RJ

    Hope y’all don’t mind a guy sharing our family’s efforts on this. My wife pointed me to this site. We did the same thing and can now record TV and watch it anytime and anywhere we have an internet connection on our iPhone/iPad. We created a blog to help share what we’ve done. We hope many of you can get something out of it.

    It’s called

    We’ve managed to save about $75 a month now!!!

  55. livepage

    Very nice page with lot of useful information. Just let me add that there are a lot of websites providing free TV streaming on the web. Take a look at News and informational site where you can watch thousand of TV channels online for free. Also read most recent news from any online newspaper around the world.

  56. Kang Wei

    i think that its worth it to pay a little to watch internet tv. i dont believe that anything free to watch online is good. always takes too long to stream, or is pixelated. rubbish quality. i dont mind paying 50 bucks for something worthwhile. take a look at this website promoting some online satellite tv software,, i think it makes some sense. i bought the direct satellite software, works great!!

  57. AJ

    I let my cable go last summer, I seriously just watch all I can online now. Streaming is the way to go, my provider just kept increasing the bill month after month anyway. It was b.s. Heading into baseball season, Ill just shell out $20 a month to watch my games, its all I need it for , the rest of my shows I Hulu or stream on other channels online already, who needs cable anymore?

  58. Justin

    Amazon Prime isn’t too shabby either honestly.

  59. Phil @ Satellite Direct Review

    Another type of technology that should be added is Internet TV Software (A.K.A. Satellite TV software) that delivers tons of live/on-demand streaming TV channels and radio stations to Windows and Mac computers. The software streamlines and automates setting up a Web TV system via computer so that individuals can watch sports, movies and TV shows instantly without searching the web.

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