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Zero TV Households – Are You Ready To Cut The Cord?

More and more Americans are saying goodbye to watching traditional television. The number of homes who report no television jumped to 5 million in 2012 and that has broadcasters worried. Most of these homes aren’t giving up on media and turning to books, they are finding new ways to consume their programming. When television first began broadcasting, you needed an antenna and television with a built-in receiver to watch shows. Then gradually that changed to include the option of getting signals from a cable or satellite provider.

Now it’s possible to get nearly all the programming you want to watch without even owning a television. But you will need a decent high-speed Internet connection in order to stream programming. Customers who discontinue cable and satellite services have been called cord-cutters – meaning they aren’t tethered to a single provider for their entertainment.

So, if you decide to cut the cord, where do you turn for entertainment? One thing, just because you aren’t watching “television” doesn’t mean you might not have a nice large monitor in your living room. But you aren’t using it the traditional sense of watching broadcast television on the broadcasters schedule. You are watching on-demand what you want, when you want.

So if you say goodbye to the antenna and the cable box, how do you watch programming and get news? You have several options:

You can watch for free online using your computer, tablet or even on your phone. Broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, The CW and Univision offer many of their programs for online viewing at their websites or on sites like Hulu and YouTube.  Often there is a delay from the time they are broadcast, sometimes just a day and other times more than a week. Although many cable channels like TNT offer free online viewing, they will often require you to log in with the name of your cable or satellite provider for access to those shows. Hulu.com is also an excellent source for many popular new and classic television programs.

Many libraries are now offering free video on demand through services like Hoopla.  So check with your local library system to see if you have that option.

You could also choose to pay for an Internet TV service such as Hulu Plus (the pay version of Hulu) Netflix or Amazon Prime.  These services offer vast libraries of programs and movies and none cost more than $100 a year.

If you’d prefer to watch on a traditional larger monitor instead of a computer screen, you also have plenty of options. You could purchase a streaming device like a Roku that allows you choose video from hundreds of sources, both free and pay services that you’ve subscribed to. These devices are very small and unobtrusive. If you have a game console like an Xbox or Playstation, you can also stream video from many free and paid subscription services.

You won’t run out of things to watch, but you will find some limitations. Frequently sports programming is not available for online viewing or streaming. Many local channels will post some portions of their newscasts online, but many of them don’t stream entire broadcasts. So before you make any decisions, check to make sure you won’t lose coverage of your favorite sports or news.  You can also check out this article on Can I Streatm.it? [1] – a site that helps you find your favorite shows.

Remember, you will need a good consistent high-speed Internet connection if you want to enjoy your programming online.

Happy viewing.

~ Cynthia