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Should You Kick the Cable TV Habit?

Should You Kick the Cable TV Habit?
Linsay Thomas

The number of cable TV subscribers has rapidly decreased in the past year. According to MoffettNathanson Research, an industry analysis group, nearly one million households pulled the plug on their cable TV subscription in 2013. Why? The prices just keep going up higher and higher every year. A middle of the road package costs an average of $62 a month.

Are there any cheaper alternatives, and if so, are they worth the lower cost? Read on to learn about your options and determine if they are viable for you based on your TV habits.

Netflix

Netflix may be known for its movies, but episodes and full seasons of many popular TV shows can now be found on Netflix. Plans start at only $7.99 a month, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the $60+ that you may be currently spending. However, you may have to wait a year before you can see the current season of “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad,” which could prove challenging if all your friends, family members and co-workers still watch the show when it originally airs and enjoy discussing the latest episodes in detail.

HuluCable2

Hulu is a free option that allows you to stream episodes of many shows straight from the Internet. However, not all shows are available on Hulu, and if they are, you often have to wait a week or so after they originally air. There is also Hulu Plus, which offers much more content. You can often access episodes in a matter of hours, but it costs $7.99 a month – the same as Netflix.

Amazon Prime

Yes, the site that offers the best shopping in the world also offers streaming TV shows and movies. Subscribe to Amazon Prime for $99 a year and get unlimited content. You also get free two-day shipping on a variety of items.

Network Websites

Did your child miss the latest episode of Dora the Explorer? Some TV stations, like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Comedy Central, offer full episodes online for free. However, not all episodes are offered and it could be days or weeks before the latest episode makes it onto the website.

Should You Make the Switch?

Ultimately, you will have to decide between cost and convenience. When you watch your favorite shows on TV, you are getting the full experience as well as a routine. You know you can sit down on the couch on Friday night at 9 p.m. and watch “Shark Tank” right when it airs. You don’t have to sit by your laptop and wait for it to be available on the Internet.S

When you watch TV on the computer, you obviously need a fast and reliable Internet connection. And if your only computer is a desktop in the bedroom or office, you’re stuck there, which could be uncomfortable.

Another thing to consider is that many sporting events are not available online, so if you can’t live without ESPN, you better stick with cable because you won’t find many online viewing options. If you are considering pulling the plug on cable, research your options first and see if you can view your favorite shows elsewhere – for less.

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