Beyond Television

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They say that ninety percent of TV is junk. But, ninety percent of everything is junk. ~Gene Roddenberry

Every cable and satellite company has pre-set packages, ranging from the Basic to the OMG-Do-You-Have-NO-OTHER-LIFE-Beyond-Television?!? Package. In a perfect world, we could pay only for the channels or shows we watched and nothing more. Not only would we save money, but we’d be more selective with what we watched. Lord knows, I’d spend way less time gawking at Toddlers in Tiaras if I had to pay for it. Except that I AM paying for it. Every month.

I am also paying for all those sports channels that I don’t watch, and the shopping channels and the Old Game Shows network … I could go on. And on. I honestly only watch ten or fifteen channels consistently, and of course, the bulk of them aren’t included in any provider’s Basic package. That’s how they get you. Or get me, anyway. Except now, the ways in which people watch television have been changing and the technology has been adapting and we’re getting closer to the day that I fire my satellite provider once and for all.

Consumer Advocate and all around Penny-Pinching Guru Clark Howard has long railed against the cable/satellite monopolies and now recommends the Netflix/Hulu combo as the best bang for your television buck.

Currently, the Shoestring household has five televisions, three DVRs and five computers (four of which are capable of streaming video). We have a Netflix subscription, which costs less than $11.00 a month and provides unlimited streaming and 1 DVD at a time. (We used to have the plan that included three DVDs at a time, but they started piling up.) We stream movies and television programs to the main television through the PS3 and can also stream content to the four computers throughout the house. We currently use Hulu’s free limited streaming, but if we added Hulu Plus (another $10.00 a month) and upgraded some gadgetry, there’s honestly very little we’d miss by canceling our DirecTV subscription.

The very idea is both thrilling and terrifying. From $135.00 to under $25? With the money we saved, I could rent a toddler and buy my own damn tiara! And that, my dears would truly be shoestringing with style.

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