How You Can Replace Cable with Smart TV
There are many ways to access your favorite television shows and movies without paying over $100 a month for cable. The Internet has a wide variety of platforms for obtaining content, including streaming sites, network sites, pay services that offer on-demand video and content stores such as iTunes where you can buy video to keep in a digital library. You can also watch content by hooking up your laptop or game console to your television and channeling online content. There are also mail-in video services. Another platform, the Smart TV, offers a hybrid viewing experience that combines the functionality of your television set with the accessibility of your Web connection. Here’s what you need to know about how you can use Smart TV to replace your cable bill once and for all:
What Is Smart TV?
Smart TV, which is also referred to as Connected TV or Hybrid TV, comes in two platforms: A television set that includes Internet connection capabilities, or a set-top box with an Internet connection that can channel content through your television. These devices allow you to watch online videos through your television and to access other online content. For example, with many Smart TVs, you can also access e-mail, surf the Web, play games, and download apps. You are essentially turning your television screen into a giant computer monitor. In short, Smart TV allows you to access limitless content, thousands of movies, customizable apps, videos and the best of the web all organized in a simple to use interface.
Smart TV Demo
Who Offers Smart TV?
As the idea of watching video online has become more popular, more companies have started to introduce Smart TV technology. Apple made a big splash when it introduced its set-top box as industry experts expected it to transform the industry the same way that the iPod transformed the music industry. However, the technology failed to make the impact that was expected. Google has introduced its own set-top box, which experts are also watching closely to see if it will succeed where Apple didn’t. Other players include the LG Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, Sony Google TV, (integrated TVs, not a boxes), Roku and Boxee (set-top boxes).
How Do You Access Online Video Content?
There are multiple (legal) options for accessing the content that you would get from cable through online sources. Many free streaming sites are available, including network websites like NBC.com, Comedy Central, and ESPN. Some pay sites like Hulu also offer free content.
Video-on-demand services are offered through Hulu, Netflix, Blockbuster and Amazon Instant Video. These services include a large catalog of movies and television shows. Plans vary depending on the amount and type of content you would like to access, but basic plans can be accessed for as little as $9 a month. Read Online TV Channels to learn about all the different sites you need to know about when watching Internet TV.
Finally, you can purchase many movies and video shows for permanent storage in your digital library through content stores like iTunes and Amazon. Again, prices will vary.
What are the Drawbacks?
Because Smart TV relies heavily on an Internet connection, you may have trouble accessing content because of a slow connection speed. Many cable providers have responded to the reduction in cable subscription and the transition to Internet TV by offering tiered broadband packages that intentionally limit how much content can be accessed at any given time. If you want to experience high speeds, you will have to pay more for the service.
The type of content provider you choose will also significantly impact the type of experience you have. For example, if you like to watch current episodes of your favorite television series when they air, you would not be able to do so if you were a subscriber of Netflix, which doesn’t get most television shows until after the season is over. However, Hulu offers current episodes of many popular television shows. Also, if you find that you are combining multiple services — such as subscribing to Hulu and buying movies from iTunes — to get all the content that you would have with cable and DVR, then you may find that you are paying the same amount or more for Internet providers as you were for cable. Make sure you evaluate the content and the pricing plans of several providers before you commit to anyone.
Have you ditched your cable for Smart TV? Tell us about the hardware you chose, how you are able to access content, and what your experiences have been like!
Guest Post by Amanda Tradwick is a grant researcher and writer for CollegeGrants.org. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, and has recently finished research on college grants for high school students and student grants in New Hampshire.
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