The Future of Tech, News and making sense of it all!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Cutting the Cord for your TV-it's easier (and cheaper) than you think!

So many people are now asking how it is I can live without tv--being in the TV industry all these years. The fact is I haven't stopped watching TV. I just watch what I want and nothing more. As well,  watch it when I want, where I want. That is because it is now nothing more than a video file that I can either take with me or stream through my internet feed.

For starters there are costs involved but these are either monthly or saving even more by paying annually. The great part is, most of these services provide you with a free month to be sure you want to start paying for them.

What I use as services that I pay for are as follows:

Your internet service: Depending on just how much you watch you will want, not only a faster than average download speed but a larger data capacity. Paying for a faster speed will also increase your monthly data capacity.  I'm paying for the max my service provider offers which at the time, was 100mbps but has since been upgraded to 120mbps however since I signed up to the 100mbps plan, my rates haven't changed but my speed has!  With this plan I get 650GB/month. Note that the 120mbps plan now provides 800GB/month so you can be the judge on what you need. With most internet providers, if you go over your allotment the first month, they will typically notify you and/or automatically move you to the next plan but you should be able to check your data usage from their website. (Note: in Canada the CRTC demands they provide the ability for you to check your usage on any plan that has a capacity limit, for obvious reasons).  The "download" speeds are obviously what is important here but your upload speeds will also increase depending on the plan you choose.

Roku, your internet/tv device:  There are many choices here, but I like Roku as it is a separate box that is always providing more apps.  If you opt for a roku box then you also have the ability to plug in a usb stick or external usb hard drive to the side of the box and utilize the roku media player. There are others like chromecast but that requires a computer or smart phone to source the material you want to watch. The chromecast device works only as the device that converts that data to your tv.  Apple TV is also like the Roku box but with Apple you are part of the "walled garden" so I'm not a fan, even though I do own many apple devices!

Plex:  A wonderful (free) app that plays nice with Roku and allows you to hold all of your data on your computer and stream it to your roku in a very easy to use Graphical User Interface on your tv. It does things like sorts your data from tv shows to movies, knows what you have watched and what you haven't, allows you to continue from where you left off, even if you were watching it on a laptop and then switched to your big screen tv.  It also allows you to watch stuff on your laptop while travelling by streaming it from your home computer which acts as a server.

VPN Service:  For this I recommend as they provide a very easy to use and least expensive service at just $4.99/month or $49.99/year (get 2 months free) plus you can try this for 1 month free through this link!  Why are you going to need this?  If you are wanting to watch programming from another Country, such as the USA or if you are in the USA and want to watch Canadian content then you are going to have to "trick" your computers web browser in to thinking you are in that country.   With you can choose to install a small app on your computer that you can turn on and off or set it up by changing the DNS settings on your router, so that your entire house has the ability to stream videos from another country.

Sling TV:  If you are a fan of TV, and who isn't, otherwise what are you reading this for? Sling now offers many great channels including ESPN, AMC, HGTV, FOOD NETWORK as well as Prime services like HBO for additional fees. The basic Sling TV service costs just $20/month and you can upgrade to additional services for $5/month. The provide you with 7 days for free so you really have nothing to lose. You can learn all about this, including purchasing your ROKU 3 for 50% off or Roku 2 for free through this link.  If you would rather go with the Amazon Fire TV then you can also get $50 off from this link.

As for watching any and all of the programs I want, if it isn't live through Sling or on a Roku channel then I will take advantage of the torrents. As people watch the live streams they are saved as video files that you can download from "reputable places".  For this you will need to ask a friend that knows more about this or contact me and I can point you in the right direction.  Since most networks now offer services: NBC has HULU, ABC and CBS both have their own APP, as well, ABC is now in with Sling as they already own ESPN/Disney. 

The bottom line is to figure out just how much you are spending now, per month or per year, on television, which is obviously limited to sitting in your easy chair and watching it. Regardless of the added attachments you may also be paying for like DVR's. Then figure out how you would rather be watching TV. For example, on your laptop or tablet while you are doing something else or while someone else is watching something on the TV. Being able to pause and play whenever you want and where you want... it is entirely up to you.  The best part is you don't have to get all of these devices at one time. You can start by implementing a Roku in to the mix and seeing just how you can integrate your existing internet to your big screen TV and go from there.  It won't be long before you are deciding you can cut the cord and be without the added expense of cable television.  Lets face it, the Cable companies already know this and that is why they are constantly upgrading their internet speeds and providing even more "package deals". Yes, of course they want all of your business, phone, cable tv and internet. But do you really need all of those?  By dropping your cable tv subscription and increasing your internet speed will likely still save you money.

If you find yourself being blocked from watching content only available in a particular country, I suggest using the vpn service which you can try for 1 month free. It's very simple to set up, whether you want to do it on only one computer or your entire home router for everyone. At $4.99 per month or $50 per year, it is well worth it!