Once upon a time, if you wanted to watch a show on television, you had to be in front of the TV at the time it aired. Maybe you could catch the rerun if you saw it listed in the TV Guide — otherwise, it was gone for good. If you wanted to watch a recent movie, you went to the theater. Then, if you waited a decade or so, that movie might show up on TV on the Late, Late Show. Those were the only means by which you could watch television and movies when the technology to create them was young.
In the 1970’s an amazing thing called Cable Television came about, delivering the ability to view not only ABC, NBC, CBS and a handful of local stations around the country but independent national networks that sprang up with original programming. It was a big adjustment for people to pay for the privilege of watching TV but the benefits of having all those choices proved worth the cost. Not long after that, HBO (Home Box Office), arrived on the scene bringing movies into our homes less than a year after they appeared in theaters! Since then it’s been a continuous stream through the years of more channels, more programming and more ways to watch entertainment.
Fast forward to today where we not only get TV and movies on our phones but there’s virtually no such thing as ‘appointment TV’ — we can watch what we want, when we want, wherever we want. While the choices are overwhelming, there’s a bright upside — the cost of entertainment is actually more affordable than ever. We’re a long way from bloated cable and satellite packages offering us more channels and choices than we can possibly watch at more than we need to pay.
While still present in most homes, cable and satellite companies aren’t the only game in town anymore for providing electronic entertainment. More and more customers are opting for basic service and filling out their options with the ‘a la carte’ options that abound, such as:
- Pay-per-view / On demand: If you don’t want to go to the expense of paying for premium channels 24/7, you can choose a pay-per view or on-demand selection through either your cable or satellite provider, computer, mobile device or gaming console, to watch specifically when you want. Pay-per-view usually costs less than $5 each; special events, such as boxing matches, are sometimes offered at a higher price. Subscription services, like Netflix, offer unlimited on-demand movies and television streaming over the Internet for under $10 per month.
- Internet: Miss an episode of your favorite show? Go to the network’s website and chances are you can watch the full episode online. Another way to access entertainment via the Internet is through a Roku box which enables you to watch Internet-based content on your TV. And Hulu.com provides access to TV shows and movies with free and paid plans.
- DVD Rental: They look more like vending machines than storefronts now but you can rent DVDs of movies or television shows for as little as $1 each per day from Redbox. Netflix will also deliver DVDs to your house instead of over the Internet if you prefer.
Compared to the price of expensive premium channel cable or satellite packages or going to a movie theater, these at-home or on-the-go solutions allow you to have top-quality entertainment delivered to you anytime, anywhere for very little outlay. Today’s technology has created the means for more entertainment to be more affordable.
How does technology cut your entertainment expenses?
And if you really can’t let go of your TV service, at least look at all the currently available broadband promotions to see if you can save some money every single month.