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Cutting the Cable TV Costs for Streaming

Updated on March 9, 2014

Millions of Americans pay on average between $60-140 a month for cable TV. Comcast is the gorilla and now set to acquire Time Warner cable. When this happens, Comcast will have a near monopoly stranglehold on cable TV. They can easily raise prices. The only way around it is satellite TV, which is only a little cheaper overall unless you refer customers to them to get a discounted monthly bill.

For a long time, I have been paying $80 a month for Xfinity TV service with 100 channels or so, and like most people, feel it is a total waste of money because I only actually watch not more than 10 channels on a regular basis and of those, only 2-4 on a daily basis. All of the other channels means there is too much choice and no time. Of course, Comcast refuses to allow a subscriber select specific channels to subscribe to because they only sell packages. I am sure the have the capability and the satellite TV companies are now offering subbers to only pay for the channels they want, instead of having a package of too many channels, many of them just trash or in foreign languages.

Recently, I returned to streaming using Roku 3. Just a few years ago, streaming was too unpredictable and choppy. The streaming today is nearly interrupt free and quality is good to very good. the Roku 3 costs $80-100, hooks up very easy and allows you to get over 100 streaming channels-websites using a remote, much like using your cable remote to select the channel. There are many free channels but the good ones charge nominally-Netflix, Hulu Plus. Together these two would cost not more than $15 a month and provide you with all the TV shows, movies you could want. Roku offers a few live, real time news channels also, but most are just a collection of videos from live news programs.

If you do not want to pay for movies or TV shows, current ones, just log into They offer many of the same TV shows and movies for free. Now the only downside with cutting the TV cable cord is if you thrive on CNN or other 24\7 live news programs. You can only stream CNN live if you are a Comcast subscriber. While there are a few live news offered using Roku, like RT, it is not the same.

Roku 3 or their new Roku streaming stick ($50) basically allows you to select which websites to stream from in one place. You could, for instance, just log into Netflix, to select the show or movie without Roku, if that is the only site you go to, Roku just offers a lot more variety, which you may or may not need. The Roku stick simply is inserted into a USB port on the TV and does the identical thing the Roku 3 box does. Of course, the reason to buy Roku is so you can stream to your large LCD TV and not your small computer monitor. But, if you do not have a need to stream to the TV, there is no need for Roku.

So, streaming is really great via Netflix or Hulu Plus. The content is always available and all the seasons are available. But not the most current or new episode. But that quickly changes. Once the new show has aired on a network, it is available to stream within a few days. At worse, you wait a few days to see the most recent episode. Far cheaper than paying that costly $100 cable bill.

Comcast should get wise. They should charge a customer only for the channels they want, maybe $5 a channel. But, streaming is great and you will not miss cable TV much except for live news shows.


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