4 Affordable Options for Streaming TV Online
Consumers can determine how much they can cut cable or satellite television costs by taking into account the overall expense of devices, the cost of a digital antenna for local broadcasts, Internet provider fees and subscription fees for television shows. Greater savings often accrue through long-term usage of Internet streaming versus cable or satellite providers. Streaming providers such as Hulu Plus, Amazon.com and YouTube allow users to watch some content for free, while other television shows can be purchased for a few dollars per episode.
Google Chromecast costs $29 to $35, and the device plugs in to a digital television's HDMI port. It connects a smartphones and home Wi-Fi access points to allow you to watch streaming video on television. Plenty of networks, such as CBS, CWTV, ABC, FOX and NBC, have free video streaming within a few hours after first-run episodes air. These free videos do include commercials and periodic advertisements. Some networks, such as ESPN, offer streaming of live sporting events as they happen.
Roku connects a home Wi-Fi network to a digital television for $49.99 on the low end and $99.99 for higher-end devices. Roku has more than 2,000 channels that let users sort through free content versus paid shows. Roku's search engine allows you to find actors, series and movies quickly. Roku 3 comes with a remote control and a pair of wireless headphones.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV brings Amazon.com's streaming service onto a digital television for $99. Many movies and television shows are free with an Amazon Prime membership, a service that costs $99 per year. Individual episodes of shows cost between 99 cents and $1.99 a few hours after they originally air, which means users only pay for the shows they actually want to watch. Amazon Fire TV also lets viewers connect with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go and Watch ESPN.
Streaming Services with Internet-Ready Televisions
Internet-ready televisions already have access to several streaming services via a home Wi-Fi network. Netflix costs $8 to $12 per month to access past seasons of television shows and movies. Amazon Instant Video contains on-demand content shortly after episodes air on television for a fee, and users can purchase individual episodes or entire seasons. Hulu Plus contains commercials during television shows for $8 per month, and shows appear on the site soon after networks air them.
Streaming television shows online has become a way for viewers to lower cable costs, or even eschew satellite and cable television providers altogether. The average cost of cable is $64 per month according to a 2014 report from the Federal Communications Commission. As many as 19 percent of American households do not have cable or satellite service as of July 2014. Plenty of other services offer simple ways to watch your favorite shows online instead of through satellite or cable.