While you can’t get actual channels on here (yet), you can purchase your favorite shows as individual episodes or entire seasons to watch as often as you wish on your own time. Apple is also reportedly pitching a deal to the TV networks that would allow the tech giant to deliver programming via its multimedia products for a flat $30 monthly rate. Shows typically cost $1.99 each. Entire seasons are around $25 to $40.
If you’re currently renting a DVR box from your cable company, you might find it cheaper to send it back and go for a TiVo box instead. Here’s the deal: cable companies generally charge around $20 to $30 a month for a DVR box and its associated service. Instead, you can rent what’s called a CableCard, which allows access to all digital cable channels and costs as little as $2.50 a month. Add on the cost of TiVo service, which breaks down to as low as $8.30 a month with a three-year plan, and you’ve got yourself a savings of around $20 each month. However, keep in mind that you need to actually purchase a TiVo box, which starts at $150. Photo credit: TiVo
If you're a Netflix subscriber you may already know you can stream your favorite movies and TV shows on your computer for free via the Internet, but did you know you can also do this from your TV? With a Netflix-enabled player you can browse and watch those same programs on your big screen. All the major game consoles, including the Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3, support it, as well as several of the latest Blu-Ray players and TiVo boxes. Or you can buy a dedicated box like Roku for $79.99. Photo credit: Netflix
You can get the most popular cable channels and all your local channels, as well as DVR service, all for $19.99 a month from Sezmi. What’s the catch? You need to live in Los Angeles, for now. Sezmi hopes to expand to other markets soon. How does it work? Over the air, believe it or not. Read more about the service here. Photo Credit: Sezmi
Thanks to Windows, you can now use your PC as a DVR. With certain versions of Windows Vista or Windows 7 and a TV tuner, you can hook your computer up to your television, and press play on your own personalized TiVo-like video player. It can pause live TV, record your favorite shows and even help you transfer them to a portable device to watch on the go. The software, which is included with the standard home-premium-versions of Windows, is called Windows Media Center. Pictured here is the HP Pavilion Elite HPE, which features the Media Center program. Photo credit: Hewlett-Packard
A CableCard lets you watch and record digital-cable TV. This is what allows TiVo boxes to decode digital cable. One of these can also be used with a computer running Windows Media Center. Even some HDTVs can use a CableCard, eliminating the need for a cable box. These CableCards are available from your cable company for around $2.50 a month.
Don’t watch all that much cable TV? Why pay for it at all? With the proliferation of HDTV airwaves, if you live in or close to a major city you can get a high-quality signal from all the local networks with a plain old antenna -- and it’s totally free. Most HDTVs have built in tuners to let you view these channels. If you have trouble with the signal there are also several models of antennas, many of which work indoors, that are made specifically for HDTV.
Here are seven ways to either cut down or eliminate your soaring cable bill altogether -- without missing a second of your favorite show.