Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Now Streaming

Q: I am tired of paying so much to watch TV. I have 2 old TV's 10+ years old. Purchasing a new TV is not an option at this point. I would like to know what my other options might be to get rid of my cable but still be able to watch my favorite shows. -S

A: With older TVs the only option is to get a set top box or internet capable Blue-Ray player. The Blue-Ray player may not be worth it unless a new TV purchase is next on the list. You won't be getting any benefit from the HD content and some won't even output to the older TVs. Set top boxes are nice since they offer several sources for content and are often compatible with may older televisions. One popular one is Roku and specifically for you the Roku 2 HD and it runs about $60. You can use this with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Pandora Internet Radio. Many of these services are subscription based and run about $8 -$10 a month (or yearly subscriptions of around $80 as the case with Amazon). Others allow you to purchase single episodes, whole seasons, or rent movies. Roku also has some free content available (a movie channel, news, weather, and access to online pictures and social networking sites). Here is some of whats available on Roku's Channel List.

One big drawback to these is selection. Not every show on every network is available. Some networks allow you to watch their shows online, but only on their website. It's best to do a little digging to find out if what you want to watch is available streaming and where it is available.

Another option (that is more complicated for setup), is a converter box hooked to a media PC or a laptop. This would be like turning your TV into a monitor so you can watch web content on the larger screen. This may not look the best, or be the simplest to just sit down and watch, but is another options.

As with all streaming, a good internet connection is a must. You will probably want a minimum of 3Mbps or higher to stream video.

Local channels are not provided with streaming, so you'll need an antenna and a converter box if your TV does not have a digital tuner.

Happy Streaming. We've got all sorts of suggestions for great TV shows if you need them!


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