Cutting the cord on cable is becoming a more attractive money-saving option thanks to a growing selection of streaming services and the falling price of streaming hardware. Click here for a handy chart comparing the major streaming hardware options you can buy.
You can watch just about anything you want with the right combination of gadgets and services, and still spend much less than you would on a cable subscription. In fact, I know you can watch sports, local news and network TV for FREE. Is possible to buy the wrong streaming gadget or service and end up paying more than you wanted. That’s why it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time before jumping into anything, and I’m here to help.
One point of confusion is that every gadget on the market supports different combinations of streaming services. Sure, they all have Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube, but only some have Amazon Prime, only one supports iTunes, and, when it comes to smaller or niche services, there’s a patchwork of options.
Before I break down which streaming gadget supports what service, however, you need to figure out what it is you really need. The site Can I Stream It? is a big help here. Simply put in the TV series or movie you’re interested in and Can I Stream It? tells you what services show it.
Make a list of the shows and networks you watch and see which service or combination of services matches up the best. You’ll usually end up with one primary service that covers most things you want to watch and a backup to fill in the gaps, such as Netflix and Hulu, or Hulu Plus and iTunes.
Don’t forget that every service has a trial period and they all work through a Web browser. You can poke around and see what shows are available that you never even considered. If you like classics, for example, Netflix recently added “M*A*S*H,” the original “Mission: Impossible” series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and tons more you might not expect. Click here for three must-have tricks to get the most from Netflix.
Once you have your list of services you want, it’s time to see which streaming gadget supports it. To help you out, I’ve created a handy chart.
First, though, I should explain that I’m talking about systems, not specific products. Roku, for example has three streaming boxes and a streaming stick. Amazon has the Fire TV box and the Fire TV stick. And Google’s Android TV is primarily on the Nexus Player right now, but it’s also arriving on some newer smart TVs and other streaming gadgets. If you want a refresher on all this hardware, click here for my streaming gadget comparison chart.
Now, this chart is far from complete. Roku, for example, has more than 2,000 “channels” because any business or person can make one. Many of the other gadgets include smaller channels as well.
So you can find everything from PBS, the Smithsonian and fitness channels to local church groups and one-off comedy shows. However, this chart should give you a good start in making up your mind.
And don’t forget that for watch broadcast network channels with sports, local news and primetime shows in high definition, your best solution is my Komando Indoor Amplified HD Antenna.
Even better, pair my antenna with an HD digital video recorder so you can watch your shows and sports on your schedule. Click here to see which DVR I recommend.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.