The 11 Best Alternatives To Paying For Cable

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Photo: Marco Bellucci / Flickr, CC

Now that most American workers will see 2 per cent more of their take-home income disappear this year, it’s as good a time as any to find ways to trim household costs.By far, the simplest place to start is with your cable or satellite bill. 

Anyone with a solid Internet connection, a computer, and a couple hundred bucks to invest should be able to break their cable addiction. 

To give you a leg up, we’ve compiled our favourite gadgets and hacks to help you finally cut the cord –– for good.

DVI to HDMI cables sync your computer's feed to your TV

The biggest tool in your arsenal will be your computer, but it won't do you any good without an essential piece of the puzzle: DVI to HDMI cables.

They link your computer to your TV monitor so you can stream any video ---- Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and more ---- surf the Web, and check out YouTube on a bigger screen.

For this to work, you need to invest in a sturdy Internet connection and a computer that works fast enough to stream video. Without that solid foundation, your feed could come out fuzzy and and HD will look less than stellar.

Cost: $6 and up

Warpia Stream HD is the wireless version of the VGA cable

Warpia Stream HD functions as a wireless VGA cord, enabling you to wirelessly connect your laptop or desktop to your TV screen from up to 30 feet away.

Unlike the VGA cord, Warpia Stream lets you stream in HD and surround sound.

Cost: $140

Apple TV is great for Apple faithfuls and sports fans

What makes Apple TV different from the other streaming devices is its complete access to the iTunes cache of films and videos, and lets you stream content from all Apple devices.

As a bonus, you can also stream NBA and MLB games, along with the usual video streaming suspects (Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu Plus). With the Airplay feature, this content isn't exclusive to your TV -- you can stream it right on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Cost: $99

D-Link's Boxee lets your browse the Web for shows

With Boxee by D-Link, you can browse the Internet for the shows you want to watch. It's not limited to a Hulu app, either, so you can play any random flash video or file.

Bonus: Anyone with a Droid or iPhone can turn their phone into a remote control.

Cost: $169

Video game consoles do more than just play

The beauty of modern video game consoles is they also function like computers ---- you can stream just about anything from your console to your TV with the proper set up.

The Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 all have TV streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube, and Hulu Plus. With the PS3, you also get a Blu-Ray player, and Xbox has sports channels like ESPN.


Wii: $179
Playstation 3: $299
Xbox 360: $193

The Sony Netbox is a one-stop shop for household streaming

In addition to Bravia Internet video, the Sony Netbox allows users to play DivX and MKV video files off a USB drive. The best part is that the box can stream across multiple TVs (and tablet computers, too) so you'll only need one for your household.

If you're big into streaming torrents or film, this is the box for you. The Netbox can play MKV files and stream Internet content.

Cost: $89.99

EyeTV is tailor-made DVR for Macs

If you're dedicated to your Mac and love to record shows, you'll be a fan of EyeTV.

The system allows users to create recording schedules for their favourite shows, edit their recordings, and even cut clips.

Cost: $171

Get 300 channels with the Roku

Roku offers more than 300 channels, from Amazon to Angry Birds. The box also streams Internet radio like Pandora, in addition to games, apps, and video.

Roku is the cheapest option for Bravia Internet streaming, plus it's also straightforward and easy to use.

Cost: $49.99 and up

Google TV turns the Internet into a TV guide

Google TV integrates television with the Web. You can download apps for all major TV channels, along with Netflix and Hulu. It will also turn your TV into an Internet browser so you can Google all the TV you want.

If you're into tech and prefer Internet video to traditional TV, this is your best bet.

Android users get an added perk: They can use their phone as a remote.

Cost: From $87 to $699 through Google

The Slingbox works anywhere in the world

The Slingbox works about anywhere in the world, allowing users to stream cable from another user's connection, whether it be a friend or family member.

The main drawback is that you can't both watch cable at the same time.

Cost: $288 (Free with existing DISH Network service)

Antennas are old fashioned but effective

Call us old fashioned, but you can't go wrong with good old antennas if you're looking for basic channels without all the fuss of gadgets.

Depending on where you live, you can get standard stations like ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, Fox, public access channels, and PBS. People in well-populated cities will probably find this option more viable.

Cost: Antennas typically range from $4 to $55. There are many to choose from, however, so check out Antenna Web to help you decide.

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