Streaming To Your Computer
The second part of this endeavor to end the cable expense is getting programming from the Internet. This can be done a couple of ways. The first is watching TV programs on you computer. That’s right, there are many TV programs and movies you can watch on you PC, Mac, laptop , desktop, iPad, iPhone or Android phones.
- The most popular of these services is Netflix. Watch thousands of movies and TV shows streaming to your computer for the low price of $7.99 per month. I really like their huge selection of documentaries. There is a thirty-day free trial.
- The second most popular service is Hulu. There are many popular TV shows on Hulu. Movies also. There are some brief commercials. There is no charge for Hulu but there is a premium service that gives you more shows and more ways to watch for $7.99 per month.
- Amazon Instant is streaming video programming that is billed a la cart through your Amazon account. Programs are different prices ranging from $1.99 to 3.99. For TV series you can buy season passes for $1.89 per episode. Amazon Prime customers get Instant free as a part of their membership, price $79.
- Crackle has free movies and TV.
- Google has also gotten into the streaming content per view with Youtube Movies. Much of the content is from aforementioned services but aggregated here in YouTube. The cost per movie varies from free to $3.99.
- There are many video podcast on any subjects A to Z. If technology is your thing TWiT and Revision3 are two networks dedicated to geek subjects. You may also subscribe to these podcast and have them download to your computer rather than streaming for a more consistent experience. Learn how to subscribe.
Streaming To Your TV
If your computer screen is just to small or you just fill like kicking back on your couch when you watch your Internet TV you can use an Internet enabled device to bring this content to your television. Many game systems including the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 can do streaming. Many new TVs are now Internet ready. These all get content from many of the services mentioned above.
The Roku is what I use to get my Internet content on my TV. The Ruku is stand-alone devices that just does Internet TV and that’s all it does. Oh yeh! The new Roku does Angry Birds. They are inexpensive and easy to use. The Roku streams content from the services mentioned above. Netflix, Hulu (Requires a Plus account.), Amazon Instant, Crackle, TWiT, Revision3, cnet TV, Fox News are all services you can use with the Roku.
Google TV is a similar device to Roku but it has the added feature of bring the web to your TV, Kinda like the old WebTV. Some TV manufacturers are putting it right into the television. I have not seen a Google TV so I can’t really comment on it.
Apple TV is something similar but I think it probably uses iTune which is the worst software with the worst user interface ever. I don’t recommend it for that reason alone.
Windows Media Center attempts to aggregate all the content on your computer (music, pictures, videos) all in one place to view on your computer but with a video-card like the “ATI All In Wonder” you can have Media Center control your entire TV watching experience.