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, 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 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!


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