Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forget getting Netflix or Hulu Plus on TiVo-made cable DVRs

Forget getting Netflix or Hulu Plus on TiVo-made cable DVRs

Just in case you were thinking of upgrading your service to include a TiVo DVR from your cable provider, be aware that even though the devices are capable of streaming content from Netflix and/or Hulu Plus cable providers will prevent you from using their devices to do so. Read the Ars Technica article for more information.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Google TV Devices Delayed As Google Tweaks Software [REPORT]

Google TV Devices Delayed As Google Tweaks Software [REPORT]

The most promising technology that will change the way we watch television has met another hurdle. Companies that are planning to add Google TV to their television sets next year are holding as Google updates the software. Delays like this are not uncommon with new technology, but between the so-so reviews of the Google TV product and the fact that many major broadcast and cable networks are blocking access by Google TV the delays hurt rather help the image of Google TV.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TiVo or not TiVo - that is the question

Some cable and satellite providers provide digital video recorders (DVRs) to subscribers for a fee. These allow you record your favorite shows as well as pause or rewind live TV. Right now you can pick up a DVR from TiVo for $20 a month with a two year commitment. If you absolutely have to have TiVo this looks like a great deal. What I haven't been able to sort out is what happens after the commitment is over. Can you still use the TiVo without the monthly fee? If not then TiVo does not look like such a great deal.

If you have a newer computer, you can leverage that as your DVR easily. You need a way to get the content into the computer, a video in or video capture card with an antenna/cable input. There are some video cards that have TV tuners on them so you can possibly watch one channel while recording another.

The build your own PVR forum is a good place to learn what it takes to do it yourself. The content on the home page is helpful but dated. The forums are where you'll find the greatest help.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HDTV: A guide for the perplexed

Another excellent article about high-definition TV, HDTV: A guide for the perplexed. Some of the latest models come with widgets that will allow you to stream Netflix or other content to the TV, a few of those models will do this wirelessly. If you're in the market for a new TV, with the money you're saving on cable I hope, this article is a great place to start.

Roku XR Gets Free Upgrade to 1080p

Roku XR Gets Free Upgrade to 1080p

Tech site Mashable is reporting that the Roku XR is getting a free upgrade to stream 1080p video as the more advanced models do. In addition videos streaming from Hulu will load faster.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Amazon Connected Home

Link to Amazon Connected Home

Amazon has section of their site dedicated to streaming video to your TV. There are also offering many great deals on the devices available. Even if you're still on the fence about streaming content instead of paying for premium channels, there's a lot of useful information on the site. Bookmark this site!

Bargain Junkies Are Beating Retailers at Their Own Game | The Coupon Rebellion

Bargain Junkies Are Beating Retailers at Their Own Game | Wired Magazine

It's not related to cable, but it is about saving money! This is an interesting read from Wired magazine on how people are hunting for bargains online. In this story one woman walks into a market with so many coupons that she gets $80 worth of groceries free and $2 back. The deals are out there if you can find them and this article talks about how people are doing it.

Ars HTPC Guide: December 2010

Ars HTPC Guide: December 2010

Here is an excellent Ars Technica article on current home theater PCs. The technology is much more user friendly and more commonplace than even a year ago. Very helpful if you want to replace your cable with a HTPC.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hear what people are saying about cutting their cable TV.

Mobcast 82: MW2 vs. Black Ops, the State of AI, Zombies, and More

Bitmob is a site where gamers and geeks gather to talk about gaming and geek culture. This weeks podcast features a segment on cutting their cable subscriptions and the pros and cons of doing so with a PS3 or Xbox 360. It's worth a listen!

Monday, December 6, 2010

ESPN Networks - Get Live ESPN Programming Online!

Good news, you can watch live ESPN programming online including Monday Night Football! If you can get your PC connected to your HDTV this is the answer to you sports fix! Bad news, this service is only available to Time Warner subscribers currently. Hopefully the major ISPs will take advantage of this option as well.

Blu-Ray Player | Best Blu-Ray Players | Reviews

Blu-Ray Player | Best Blu-Ray Players | Reviews

This article contains a lot of useful information on the latest Blu Ray Players. Sony product make up 3 of the Top 4 featured. Players from LG, Oppo, Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba round out the others listed.

Comparison: HD 'Avatar' on Blu-ray vs. Vudu HDX, PS3 download, and Samsung 2D-to-3D - 'Avatar' in HD at home (photos) - CNET Reviews

Comparison: HD 'Avatar' on Blu-ray vs. Vudu HDX, PS3 download, and Samsung 2D-to-3D - 'Avatar' in HD at home (photos) - CNET Reviews

If you're wondering how things would look when streaming from the internet this CNET feature walks you through a comparison of James Cameron's Avatar on Blu Ray, VUDU, PS3 download and more.

VUDU on PS3™ - Try it Free!

Game On! VUDU Coming to PS3™ this November « Vudu Blog

VUDU is a high definition streaming service similar to Netflix. Select titles are available to stream at 1080p if you internet connection supports it. VUDU is currently available on the PS3 and for a limited time you can get a $5.99 credit toward a movie rental to try the system out. All that's needed is a PS3 and a valid email address.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Can a Home Theater PC (HTPC) help save money on my cable TV bill?

A HTPC, also known as a media center, is your one stop shop for replacing your premium cable TV programming. It is a computer that is equipped with additional software or hardware that supports your media viewing or listening. These PCs have larger hard drives, dedicated video cards that output to your HDTV and special software that will allow you to stream content to your TV or serve any other device on your network. The greatest benefit is that you have access to the widest variety of content; anything you can get on your home computer you can watch on your HTPC. Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, all of the broadcast networks websites would be available to you. You won't have to worry about content being blocked to your device like Google TV. The greatest downside is that also that it is a computer. You will have to do some setup to get the PC to work just the way you want to. While these days it is very easy to plug a PC to a HDTV, configuring the PC is another story. If you're savvy about the technology, you can build your HTPC yourself. This ZDnet article explains how.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cord Cutters: The Gift Guide for Cable-Free Holidays: Video «

Cord Cutters: The Gift Guide for Cable-Free Holidays: Video «

Cord Cutters is a video podcast about technology that will allow you watch TV cable-free. This is a great way to see some of the ideas I have shared with you in action.

How can I use a media player to manage my shows?

The term media player could be used to describe the different programs or devices that allow you to watch or listen to content.

Your computer likely has a default media player program. If it is a windows machine, your default program is Windows Media Player. On an Apple computer it would be iTunes. These are not your only choices. VLC is a free open-source media player. TVersity, Winamp and RealPlayer have free versions of their players but they both have premium full featured versions for a fee. For ease of use, Windows Media Player will be sufficient for most users. VLC is a popular media player with enthusiasts because it will allow you to view a wide range of content types and stream content to many different devices that have VLC software on them.

Western Digital makes a set of media player devices will allow you to stream content, including DVDs, from your home network to your TV. These devices are Netflix ready and some will deliver 1080p content to your television. You can find them online ranging from $90 to $125 on average depending on features. You can price them on Amazon. Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player

What You Need to Know When Buying a Web-Connected TV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

What You Need to Know When Buying a Web-Connected TV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

Here's another great article from Wired that gives great tips on purchasing a Smart TV also known as a Web-Connected TV. Many of the models listed are available at your local electronics store or online via Amazon: TVs at Amazon

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What You Need to Know When Buying an HDTV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

What You Need to Know When Buying an HDTV | Product Reviews | Wired.com

Wired Magazine has a great article that will help you decipher the technical-speak when it comes to HDTVs. Make sure you take the article with you when you're shopping this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Microsoft working on TV subscription service for Xbox, PCs

Microsoft working on TV subscription service for Xbox, PCs

If you have a Xbox 360 or a PC connected to your HDTV, then the latest development from Microsoft would be of interest. Microsoft is looking to provide streaming content subscriptions for its Windows devices. The only drawback is the willingness of content providers to allow their content on the service. Google is already dealing with the hurdles of having content blocked from Google TV. The biggest benefit would be to consumers who would be able to have true a la carte programming choices and not pay for channels they would never watch.

NBA Development League: NBA D-League Futurecast

NBA Development League: NBA D-League Futurecast

NBA D-League basketball games are available online via NBA Futurecast. The service is currently in beta. Over 400 games will be available in high definition and the service is free during the beta period.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Inexpensive HDMI cables are a right, not a privilege

Inexpensive HDMI cables are a right, not a privilege

For the best picture quality on your HDTV you will need a HDMI cable. You may see these cables in stores this holiday season for as much as $99. Don't be taken in! I made the mistake of spending $20 for a cable because I was impatient. A friend told me about a site called monoprice.com that has six foot cables for $3. I took advantage of a sale and bought three cables for $7.99 and free shipping.

DailyTech - Comcast Experiences Internet Outage on East Coast

DailyTech - Comcast Experiences Internet Outage on East Coast

We were impacted by this last night. What I learned this morning is that a problem with Comcast's Domain Name Servers prevented subscribers in the Boston and Baltimore area from getting on the internet.

What I also learned this morning is that there is a very easy way to get online if this issue re-occurs. If you find that resetting your modem and router do not resolve your connection issues and there is no indicator of a hardware failure on either device, you can change the Domain Name Servers (DNS) setting on your router to access the internet.

Get a pen and paper and go to Google Public DNS. Follow the instructions there and keep them near your computer the next time you have an issue.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Use an LCD Monitor as a TV Without a Computer

Use an LCD Monitor as a TV Without a Computer

This is an excellent post on how to set up a monitor to use as a TV. If you are in the market for a second TV, this is really the best way to go!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Viacom to Google TV users: no full episodes for you!

Viacom to Google TV users: no full episodes for you!

Google TV seemed like a viable set top box for streaming content to your HDTV, but many providers are blocking content to it. Programming on Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and now Viacom will not be available. However if you have Hulu Plus, a paid subscription service, you should be able to access content via Google TV once Hulu Plus is available there.

Money Saving Tech Tips & Philosophic Musings: Diamond Case Blu-Ray Buyers Guide

Money Saving Tech Tips & Philosophic Musings: Diamond Case Blu-Ray Buyers Guide

Some Blu Ray players will allow you to stream content to your TV. Visit the Diamond Case Knowledge Center to learn how to choose the player that is right for you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

So how much money will I save on my cable tv bill?

First a word about how much money you save. I am not guaranteeing that you will save $100 a month. You may save more, you may save less. Depending on what you have for equipment you may not see a savings in the short term. Before we cut back on our service, I already had an Xbox 360 and a Playstation 3. I have been a Netflix subscriber since 2002. I didn't pay for my Xbox; I won it in a contest when they were launched in 2005. Not including my PS3, I had a device that would let me stream content for free and I was already paying for Netflix. My costs were only the cost of the Netflix membership.

If you have premium channels, you will save money by making this switch. You will have to give up watching the latest shows the day they premiere to catch them on Hulu or wait for a DVD collection to come out.

If you don't have a home computer or a game console that will allow you to stream content, you can pick up a set top box for as little as $60 (Roku products on Amazon) and a streaming only Netflix membership for $8 a month. If you're giving up at least two premium channels you can recoup your costs within a month. You can even get free trials of Netflix as a new subscriber.

At this point I hope that you have made the decision to try saving money on cable TV. From this point we will be looking closely at the devices and content providers that you can take advantage of to supplement your TV programming.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to stream content to your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3

From any windows computer, it is very easy to stream content to either of these gaming consoles. Before you try to set up streaming here are some important points.

Content that is protected with digital rights management (DRM) will not likely stream. If you use iTunes to download TV shows for example, you can't stream that content to a game console unless the content is DRM-free.

You should also consider connecting the source computer to your network via a wired connection. If you have an older wireless router you will have issues streaming video to these console. If you have a newer 802.11n router, you will have better results but a wired connection would still be faster.

You should make notes of your firewall settings before you begin. If you run into problems connecting, your firewall configuration should be your first stop.

At this point you're ready to begin. If you don't already have it on your machine, download Windows Media Player 11. As part of the install your windows operating system will be validated. Once that is successful, install the player software and follow the instructions.

When the install is complete, open the media player. The first time you run it, you will prompted to set defaults. As part of the initial configuration, any items in your My Music, My Photos and/or My Videos folder will be added to your library. Under the Library button you will see an option for Media Sharing. Make sure you check the box under Sharing Settings to begin sharing and click the Settings button. From here you can name your Media Share and identify what kinds of content you want to make available. At the bottom of the window is a check box which will tell the media player to allow new devices and computers to connect automatically. The risk in checking this off is this; if you use your laptop away from home other people on the network will be able to access your content. If you leave your computer at home, I feel that the risk is pretty low in turning that on. If your network is compromised then you are also at risk. Use your best judgement. If you're not sure, leave it unchecked.

Now that the media server is running, go to your gaming console and try searching for the computer. On the Xbox 360 it is a simple as navigating to your library and selecting Window PC as your source. On the PS3, you have to search for media servers first. Once the server is found, you can navigate to the respective library and select the PC as the source.

In an earlier post I talked about using podcasts to tailor content to your interests. If you place the podcasts in the shared PC library, they will be available on the consoles. It's that easy!

If you're still not sure if this will work for you, my next post will walk you through the costs and savings of streaming content to help save money on your cable tv bill.

How to use podcasts to replace your premium cable TV channels

In addition to giving up televised sports, I gave up a lot of niche programming that I really enjoyed. I loved watching the Food Network and the Travel Channel as well as Discovery and G4TV for my science and video games fix. When my wife and I gave up our premium channels we found another way to get this niche programming we enjoyed. Podcasts.

You can think of podcasts as radio or TV shows on a particular subject. Most are provided free of charge as they are supported by advertising. If you can think of anything, there is probably a podcast for it. The only trouble with podcasts is that there are so many out there, how would you know which ones are any good. I leverage iTunes from Apple to help download and manage my podcasts. What is great about iTunes is that the podcasts usually have ratings from people who have downloaded them. You can also use iTunes to subscribe to your favorites as soon as they are available. This way you can always get the latest episode of your favorite podcast without having to click to download. You don't have to have an iPod or iPhone to use iTunes and it is free.

If you've read my other posts, you now have the basics on how to save money on your cable TV bill. Assuming you have fast enough internet service and a reasonable cap on your bandwidth usage all you need to do is pick out a set top box, get it on your home network and connect it to your TV. You can subscribe to Netflix for about $9 a month to gain access to their library of movies to rent or watch instantly. You can use iTunes to discover podcasts to fill the void of your niche programming. If you have a xbox 360 or a playstation 3 you can access sports, high definition movies and movies as well as stream content from your computer to your TV.

In my next post I will walk you through how to use those game consoles to get at content on your home computer. This way you won't have to move files around on flash drives to watch them on your TV.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saving money is great, but how do I connect my PC to my TV?

In order to access almost all the streaming content available to you on the internet to replace your premium cable TV programming, you will need a way to connect your PC to your TV.

If you still have a standard definition television, you're going to run into trouble getting content to your TV. There is no easy way to get the output of your PC to your TV without converter equipment. But, if you're dropping two or three premium channels to basic cable level of service, you can make the investment in a new HDTV and use the money you save to pay for it. At this time of year you'll probably get a great deal on a TV at Best Buy: This week's TV and home theater offers at BestBuy.com

To connect your PC to your HDTV you will need a VGA cable and a stereo audio patch cord. The audio cord would connect to the audio output of the PC to the stereo input which is normally located next to the VGA connector on the TV. If your PC supports HDMI output, all you would need is a single HDMI cable. HDMI provides digital video and audio so you won't need additional cable.

If your home network is wireless, you should be all set to connect to the internet and start streaming content. Be aware that you may run into video quality issues streaming content this way. To avoid that you should use a wired connection into your PC. If your modem or router is in another part of the house, you don't have to run cable. Netgear makes a device that allows you to use the wiring in your home as a network. Powerline ethernet is very effective in extending your internet connection. I use an older version from Netgear several years ago and it works very well with my game consoles and computers. You can purchase adapters at Amazon: NETGEAR Powerline AV 200 Adapter Kit

Now that you have your PC hooked up to your TV, my next post will tell you how you can access video podcasts on just about any subject. Food, Politics, Sports and even online college courses are just a click away!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to watch sports and save on your cable tv bill

One of the things I had to give up to save money on my cable TV bill was my premium sports package. I love watching the NFL and it was a hard giving up the NFL Network. But I have discovered that I can still get my sports fix via ESPN3.

While I don't get live NFL games via ESPN3, I can access NBA and Euroleague Basketball, College Football and Basketball, MLS Soccer and more in high definition. ESPN3 is only available via select internet service providers; you can visit ESPN3.com to find out if it is available. Also the only way to get the programming to the TV is if you have a PC connected to it or a Xbox 360 with a Xbox Live gold membership. If you already have a 360 in your house with a gold membership, you have everything you need to take advantage of ESPN3! If not you purchase one at Amazon, Xbox 360 250GB Holiday Bundle

On my PlayStation 3, I have access to MLB.tv and NHL Gamecenter. If I were a subscriber to those sites I could stream games in high definition to my television via my PS3. You can price a PS3 at Amazon here; PlayStation 3 160 GB

While the NBA and the NFL doesn't currently have programs on set-top boxes and video game consoles, you can purchase packages that allow you to watch games on your PC. In the US and Mexico, you cannot watch live NFL games online. You can watch commercial free replays in high definition. TNT Overtime streams NBA games broadcast on TNT online for free.

Blackout rules still apply for games being streamed online. This means that if a game is blacked out on local TV you will not be able to watch the game stream online as well.

If you're savvy enough to have a PC connected to your TV, you can stream all of the content to your TV with out a set-top box or video game console. If you're not savvy, my next post will show you how easy it is.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Switching to Netflix can save you money

Netflix was one of the first companies to provide movie rental service via mail. These days, in addition to being one of the top Blu Ray rental services, Netflix is known for its Watch Instantly service. Selected Movies and TV shows are available for streaming on demand. What is insanely great about this service is that you can stream Netflix to a wide variety of devices. Game consoles like the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii will stream Netflix content. Netflix content is available on most iOS devices including the iPod Touch, iPad and Apple TV. Roku makes a series of set top boxes that stream Netflix and there are several Internet ready TVs and Blu Ray players that will stream Netflix as well.

Netflix will also allow you to set up queues for your DVDs and Watch Instantly titles. You can change the order of either queue as often as you'd like. As you establish a pattern of movies and/or TV viewing, you'll be pointed to titles that you may like automatically. You can review titles if you're an armchair critic and even share your comments on Facebook.

As of this writing, movie rentals and streaming are only available in the US while Canadians can only stream content. This isn't a technological limitation as it is more of a licensing issue. Starting at $9 a month you can really cut into your cable bill!

Next post, I will talk about how you can access your favorite sports and still save money on cable!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How I save money on cable TV

We made the decision to change our service to basic cable because we needed to save money. We were down to a single income and couldn't afford to keep our premium channels. This is our current set up now.

We have a HDTV in our living room. Connected to it we have a Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 3 (PS3). I play video games more than I watch television. I have a Gold level membership on Xbox Live that costs me $60 a year. With that I have access to Netflix, ESPN3, Last.fm and the Zune Marketplace. The Zune Marketplace will allow me to stream HD rentals of movies to my TV. Rentals are paid with Microsoft Points. 1600 points is about 20 dollars and most HD rentals are 480 points. I can do Netflix streaming from my PS3 for free. If I wanted true 1080p streaming, the PS3 is my only option as I don't have a HDMI output on my Xbox 360. Based on my network configuration, the streaming quality is better on my 360. I also have MLB.tv on my PS3 and Hulu Plus is available for PS3 currently. I don't subscribe to either as I don't watch that much baseball or broadcast TV.

My HDTV has a VGA input so I could use it as a monitor for my PC. I can leverage this input to watch basketball on TNT through NBA Overdrive. By running my laptop into TV anything I can watch on the web would be available on my TV. Some folks have a home theater PC (HTPC) just for this purpose. The great benefit of this is that you can access anything on the web as well as movies on DVD or blu-ray depending on your configuration. The downside is that you need a well ventilated space for the HTPC. If you have free space near your TV you should consider this option.

My next post will talk about Netflix as an option for streaming movies and TV shows to your TV. It's an excellent service and very affordable. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's on TV?

One of the best things about streaming content to your television is that you can decide what you want to see and not pay for anything you wouldn't want. I had to pay a premium to watch the NFL Network and was not interested in the other dozen sports channels that came with the package.

In addition the local channels I get with basic cable this is what I have for TV viewing:

Netflix - Netflix rents movies on DVD and Blu Ray, but has a substantial number of titles that are available to stream. Some of the content is available in HD. There are many more shows and movies to rent on DVD than are available streaming, but there is still a wide variety of shows to choose from. You can sign up for $8 a month if you're only interested in streaming movies and shows.

ESPN3 - ESPN3 provides select content from ESPN as well as live sports including college football and NBA basketball. However ESPN3 is not available to all internet service providers. Also if you want to watch it on TV, you will have to connect a PC to it or have an Xbox 360 with a Gold Level membership (which costs $60 a year).

Revision3 - Revision3 distributes video content on a variety of topics, mostly geek culture. It's free to download the shows, however you would need a device to stream the content to the TV.

If you have made it this far, thanks! My next posts will walk you through how to connect all the pieces together so you can start saving money on cable!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What do I need to get started?

Streaming television shows or other programming (also known as content) to your TV requires two things usually; a high speed internet connection and a device to bring the content to your TV.

Even if you have a standard definition TV, you can take advantage of streaming content from the internet to help save money on your cable bill.

There are a wide variety of devices available to bring content to your TV, each with their own pros and cons. Roku makes set top boxes that deliver content to your TV. These devices support standard and HD televisions. You can add them to your wireless network or plug them in via ethernet. Dozens of 'channels' of audio and video content are available with about half of those channels providing free content. The premium channel subscriptions are somewhat cheaper than cable. These are a easy way to bring content to your TV. However, they will not let you stream content from your home computers.

Many video game consoles such as the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii will stream content to your TV. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will allow you to stream content from your PC to the TV but not just any content. Any content that is free of digital rights management (DRM) and compatible with the system can be streamed. If you have a TV show you have purchased from Apple via iTunes you will not be able to stream that to any device that is not manufactured by Apple. If you have any of the devices you're halfway there to saving money on your cable bill. Congratulations!

If you're looking to purchase a device, you may want to consider a Roku set top box since it is very inexpensive and highly reviewed. Game consoles have the added benefit of playing DVDs, in the case of the PlayStation 3 Blu Ray discs and of course compelling video games. At a starting point of $200, this could be a pricey way to get started.

Other ways to get content streamed to your TV include Apple TV and internet enabled Blu Ray players. Apple TVs currently run $99 and stream content from iTunes and Netflix. Some internet enabled blu ray players also will stream content from Netflix and other sources. They can be found for as low as $150.

If you're in the market for a new TV, there are some HDTVs that will allow you to stream content directly to the TV itself. Sony's line of internet TVs powered by Google TV will allow you to take advantage of all the content available on the web plus support streaming content from Netflix and other providers. The first wave of these televisions are pricey but with the money you'll save on your cable bill, it is well worth the investment.

In my next post I will let you know what kind of content is available for you to stream to your TV.

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Important Note on Bandwidth Usage

The way that I was able to save money on my cable bill was to drop my cable service down to the lowest level. I didn't think I would miss the programming because I had other means to get the shows and other things my family would want to see. Leveraging my internet service to get those things has helped fill the gap. However, I want to make you aware of some restrictions that may impact your decision to go the route I went.

Cable and Satellite providers that also offer internet access may have limits on how much data can be consumed by a customer. The measurement of this is considered bandwidth. Some providers have very low limits, others are more generous. Those that have limits, charge a fee for going over the limit. I strongly suggest you talk to your internet service provider to understand what your limits are and ask how much are the overage fees, if any. Comcast is my internet service provider and they offer a 250 GB limit per month. They say that over 90 percent of their customers don't come close to the limit. My family consumes on average 50GB a month; this includes downloading files and playing online games as well as streaming video. Verizon FIOS does not have any limits on bandwidth, however the service is only available in limited areas.

In addition to bandwidth limits, you will want to consider the speed of your connection. The faster the connection, the better the video quality. If you have a DSL connection, you may run into issues with smooth playback of high definition streams.

For information, visit the New America Foundation website for an August 2009 article that identifies the bandwidth caps that are in place at the largest US cable internet providers.

Saving money sounds great, but what is the catch?

You're probably wondering how this works. Saving money painlessly? $100 dollars a month? Really? Is this legal?

In a nutshell: This is painless! And more importantly legal! What you save on your bill is related to how much you're currently spending now. For example, we were spending $165 a month on internet services, leased cable modem, preferred digital cable, two premium channels and a sports package because I love NFL Network. By dropping down to basic cable and keeping the internet service, we are paying $64 a month.

Does this mean I have a way to keep all my channels and still save money? No. Stealing cable is illegal and I am not endorsing any means of circumventing the controls set in place by cable or satellite providers. Can I get Pay Per View television events like boxing? Not all events, but there are other legal means to order events that you can watch on TV. Don't I miss the NFL Network? Yes, I do. But there are ways for me to get my NFL fix, legally, on my TV.

In a nutshell, I am able to stream video to my television from the internet. I have access to thousands of movies, hundreds of shows that my kids can watch on demand and sports on demand via ESPN.

I started this blog to share with you how you can do the same thing. You probably have everything you need at home; if not I'll provide links to products that will help. If you'd like you can purchase these items from these links; my wife and kids thank you in advance for that.

What would you do with an extra $100 a month?

My wife and I are a two income family who recently found themselves down to one income. With four small kids in the house, a 5 year old and 3 year old triplets, we can't afford to have my wife go back to work. But we had to make some changes with a 40% drop in income.

Once change that we made that was surprisingly painless was dropping our premium cable channels. We were actually going to drop cable altogether but we have a pretty good deal on a bundle through our cable provider. For only $2 more a month get to keep our internet access and basic cable. Yes, we could have skipped basic cable but $2 a month is worth it compared to having to deal with the hassle of installing an antenna.

Since we made the change, we learned one very important thing. We should have done this a long time ago! A lot of what we enjoy watching is on broadcast TV. What's more is that we are watching it in HD; we didn't have that option with our regular digital cable box.

We are now saving $100 a month painlessly. Through this blog I am going to share how you can do this too. If you're looking to save some money, then you're in the right place!

What would you do with an extra $100 a month?