As technology evolves, the landscape of entertainment is radically shifting. More and more people are shedding traditional cable and satellite subscription services for new options to watch their favorite TV shows, sports and movies via high-speed Internet. This shifting terrain is fraught with uncertainty. While some methods are being widely used, not all are legal. Inland 360 looks at some of the ways consumers are cutting their entertainment bills on both sides of the law.Tools for online streaming
As download speeds increase the Internet is becoming a go-to source for watching movies, TV and sports. Here is some of the equipment people are using to stream content from the Net.
Computer: Laptops and desktop computers can be connected to a TV with a coaxial cable.
Gaming console: Several consoles, including the PS3, XBox 360 and Nintendo Wii, allow you to view online content if your system is connected to the Internet through your home network.
Home theater system: A variety of Blu-ray players, DVRs and HDTVs support online streaming.
Set-top streaming box: Devices built to stream Internet content to your TV include Apple TV and Roku. These small boxes offer hundreds of channel-like apps and most cost less than $100.
SEVEN POPULAR OPTIONS FOR GETTING ONLINE CONTENT (LEGALLY)
When deciding whether to downgrade or cut your cable or satellite package, you should first evaluate which shows you can’t live without. More and more content is available online every day, but available content varies by provider.
Here are some of the most popular legal ways people are streaming movies and TV shows. These companies have the right to distribute programs, but shows they carry vary widely. Some charge a subscription fee, while others feature limited free content or options to rent movies online.
1. NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and PBS — All offer a variety of full episodes online or through apps that people can watch for free.
2. YouTube — Offers movies and TV episodes for free and by subscription.
3. Netflix — Has a huge archive of movies and TV shows. An online streaming only subscription costs $7.99 per month. A one month free trial is available at Netflix.
4. Hulu.com/Hulu Plus — Subscription service offering full current seasons and a deep library of back seasons of hit TV shows from networks like NBC, FOX and Comedy Central for $7.99 per month (with some advertising). A one week free trial is available. Hulu.com, free, is far more limited, offering the last five episodes that aired on TV.
5. Amazon Prime — For $79 a year (breaks down to $6.59 a month) subscribers have unlimited viewing access to more than 41,000 movies and TV. Additional benefits include free two-day shipping on almost all Amazon products.
6. Vudu — A huge selection of high-definition movies, including new releases. No subscription needed. Prices start at $2 for a two-night rental on Vudu.