Last week I talked about trying to spend more time with family, and recently we ditched our satellite service. Don't get me wrong, we love tv, but when we really sat and looked at it 95% of the shows we like to watch are available somewhere for absolutely nothing. A good portion of them come on local channels (Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS), which with over air digital receiver, we can watch them all for free.
I then discovered this website, where all you do is type in the name of the show you like to watch and it will tell you where it is available online. A lot of times it is free, but sometimes it will be on itunes or Amazon to pay for. I'd say all but one or two of the shows we like to watch were available somewhere to watch for free. If we want to watch the shows on our regular television, we just plug in my computer with an HDMI cable. The added advantage is my computer has a blu-ray disc drive, so we can also get Blu-Ray movies to watch.
The third thing we did was buy a Roku. This is teeny-tiny device that connects to the tv. Through it you can stream Netflix, HuluPlus, Amazon on Demand, and other things. These are all pay services, but they all run fairly cheap compared to pay tv. We're doing a free trial of HuluPlus right now, we'll see how we feel. As well as having those channels, it has many other "channels" that you can add to it. For us we could add BYUTV, which is a channel that plays a lot of great programing on matters of our faith. We also have the Pandora channel for when we just want some music on. The newest version of the Roku actually has a remote that works like the Wii remote, and they are adding games all the time. If you like Angry Birds, it comes pre-loaded on the device.
Everything else we make up for with Rebox and the Library.
The only downsides are that there is a bit of an upfront cost for things like the over air antenna, HDMI cables, and Roku if you choose to do it, but I think for us that would only equal a few months of satellite. Also, you'd need one for each tv you have, or have the patience to move things to different rooms.
Even with upgrading our internet, we are paying significantly less. Thankfully the "phone" company around here has stand alone dsl internet, and it is soo much better then Comcast's. We also still get 911 access on our home phone, and people can still call us, we just can't call out. If we agreed to sign a contract with them for the internet we'd get a lower rate, and since we love them so much, we agreed.
This is just some food for thought. We really started to look into it when we realized we really didn't watch a lot of tv anymore and that sooo much of what we like to watch was available for free online. It may not work for everyone, but it works for us.