MythTip: Cut the Cable

The internet is a fantastic resource for anybody looking for the opportunity to shave a few bucks off their monthly budget. Well, actually, it can shave much more than a few bucks. Here is a tip on how to leverage the power of the internet to decrease your expenses and increase your savings!

Cut the Cable

Think about how much your monthly TV bill is. $50? $70? $100? $200!!? While it may not seem like a big deal to you to spend “just” $50 a month on cable, here’s something to think about. If you cut the cable and save even just $50 a month, then, if you invested it in the stock market, you would have $625 in one year, $3,871 in five years, and $113,024 in 30 years. Is your weekly fix of CSI:Miami worth $113,000 to you?

Am I suggesting you cut TV out of your life completely? No. I mean, you can, and that would probably be a good thing overall, but who wants to do that? I don’t. This is where the power of the internet steps in to save the day. There are great resources out there that let you watch your favorite shows online, FOR FREE. The major networks all post the latest episodes of most of their shows on their websites (CBS, ABC, NBC, etc.) Even some of the cable networks have free episodes on their websites (one such is HGTV, my wife’s personal favorite!) While these ‘”official” websites may not have EVERY show and EVERY episode, they are great resources and my family uses them regularly.

If you can’t find what you want to watch on official channel websites, don’t give up. Hulu is a great resource for finding literally millions of television show episodes. It divides the shows up by category, then you can simply browse by category until you find something that you like, or you can search for something specific. Another fantastic resource is Ovguide. This site searched many different video hosting websites for the show or movie you want to watch, then displays the results.

One thing to be wary of is a thing called Zango. Some websites that host video will want you to install Zango before they will allow you to access the content of their website. I would strongly encourage you to LEAVE any website that asks you to do this. Don’t click on anything except the ‘Back’ button on your browser. What Zango purports to do is essentially install a bug on your computer that allows them to track where you go and what you do on the internet. They use this information to present “helpful” and “relevant” advertisements directly to your internet browser window. Now, I am no tech-guru, but I smell a rat. Don’t ever ever do anything like this. There are so many legitimate and safe places to watch video online that there is no need to stay on a website that is even slightly questionable.

Using your TV

I know that computer monitors are generally not was easy to watch a show on as a TV, especially when many people want to watch at the same time. Well, there is a solution for that too. Most laptops have an s-video output.

You can get an s-video cable that will transfer the image on your computer screen to you TV screen. If your TV does not have an s-video input, then you can get cables that convert an s-video output to an RCA output. Last I saw, RadioShack had such a cable for $40, although I am sure that you can find it much cheaper other places. Cutting the cable not only saves you money, it also lets you watch what you want, when you want, wherever you want, and you can even do it on your existing TV.

Update: This article was written in 2009 and online video has progressed a lot. There are now many ways to easily stream video to your TV, including ChromeCast and other set-top boxes that are highly recommended as alternatives to traditional cable services.

Posted on 17 Jan 2009