Cable TV has gotten expensive, but breaking up is hard to do when you’ve committed to your favourite programs.
Still with cable companies screwing over their customers, Netflix splitting into two and confusing everyone, and Hulu Plus not offering much bang for your buck, we’ve been having second thoughts about ditching our subscription.
Thankfully, there’s a whole market devoted to finding a more cost-effective way to watch TV, whether you’re a self-proclaimed addict or occasional viewer. Most options only require a down-payment for equipment, and the subscriptions only cost around $20 (or less) per month.
To help you decide whether your cable should stay or go, we compiled 10 of our favourite ways to catch up on culture, from VGA cable to antennas and video consoles. Try them out and let us know if you think they’re worth it.
VGA cables connect your computer to your TV monitor so you can stream any video--from Netflix to Megavideo--watch DVDs, and check out the best viral videos Buzzfeed has to offer.
Worth It? Using your computer as a TV only works if you have a solid computer and Internet connection. If you don't have a decent video card, the feed can be fuzzy and you won't be able to stream in HD.
Cost: From $6 on PC and $12 on Mac
Best For: Frugal computer nerds
What makes Apple TV different from the other streaming devices is that you can rent/buy movies and TV shows on iTunes, then watch them instantly. Apple TV offers streaming coverage of NBA and MLB games and also streams Bravia internet video (Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu Plus, etc.). With the Airplay feature, this content isn't exclusive to your TV--you can stream it right on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.
Worth It? Only if you purchase everything on iTunes.
Cost: $99 at Apple
Best for: Apple users, sports fanatics
Video game consoles aren't just for video games anymore. The Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 all have TV streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Xbox is working on a more comprehensive TV subscription service that should be released by the end of this year.
Worth It? If you don't play video games, get a cheaper streaming box, but keep in mind Playstation 3 also functions as a Blu-Ray player. Xbox has deals with ESPN and other channels.
Wii: $164 new on Amazon, from $98 used on CowBoom
Playstation 3: 160GB for $249.99 new at GameStop, 40GB from $184.59 used at Electronics Emporium
Xbox 360: $199.99 new at Wal-Mart, from $150 used on Amazon
Best for: Gamers, TV viewers
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.
Worth It? Roku is the cheapest option for Bravia Internet streaming, plus it's also straightforward and easy-to-use.
Cost: From $59.99 at Roku
Best for: Occasional TV viewers
In addition to Bravia Internet video, the Sony Netbox allows users to play DivX and MKV video files off a USB stick. The box also transmits to multiple TVs (and your iPad!) so you'll only need one for your household.
Worth It? If you're a heavy torrenter or in film, this is the box for you. The Netbox can play MKV files and stream Internet content.
Cost: $79.99 on Sony
Best for: Video junkies
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.
Worth it?: 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
Best for: Internet addicts
Yes, people still use them! With an antenna you'll get ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, Fox, public access channels, and PBS. Most antennas receive around 20 clear channels, while most markets have HD channels too.
Worth it? If you don't watch much TV and only want the news, network primetime television, and major sporting events, get one.
Cost: Antennas typically range from $4 to $55. There are many to choose from, however, so check out Antenna Web to help you decide.
Best for: Basic TV viewers who could care less about premium networks
What makes Boxee by D-Link different from other Wi-Fi streaming boxes is that it searches the Internet for the shows you want to watch. Boxee is not limited to a Hulu app, either, so you can play any random flash video or file.
Worth it?: Get Boxee if you watch lots of videos.
Cost: $179.999 on Amazon
Best for: Purveyors of weird, obscure videos, flash nuts
If you purchase a Slingbox you can access your friends' cable from your phone or computer. It's like having DirecTV, Time Warner or TiVo on your laptop or mobile device.
Worth it? The catch with a Slingbox is that two users can't watch cable simultaneously. Slingboxes are for occasional TV viewers or those who can compromise on their viewing.
Cost: From $179.99 at Best Buy
Best for: Families, couples, people who have friends who don't mind sharing 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.
Worth It? If you love HD, but really hate long cords, Warpia is for you.
Cost: From $139.99 on Newegg
Best for: HD fanatics
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.