Everyone needs to kick back and relax a bit and watch a good TV show. Or two. Or ten. But if cash is tight, premium cable and satellite programming may be off the table for now. How can you get your TV fix without deflating your bank account?
Here are a few ideas for people who can’t afford Sky or Virgin TV, or who are just a bit tired of the monthly fees.
One of the newest entries into the English dictionary is Bing Watching, a term coined to describe the practice of watching multiple episodes of a television show in a short period of time. This is made possible by streaming services where entire series are made available for viewing. While these are subscription services with a monthly fee, the price of one or even two of these are much less than you are paying for cable or satellite, and you can watch the episodes whenever you like.
The major players in this market are:
- Netflix: Famous for destroying the Block Buster business model in the US, Netflix offers movies and TV shows from a variety of markets for viewing when you want, and as many times as you want, all for a small monthly fee. This service will also make recommendations on other shows you might enjoy based on your previous choices. Shows automatically save your place in the episode or movie, and the service offers multiple user profiles for family use.
The base plan features viewing on two screens per account, with additional screens available for a graduated fee. Viewing is available on the Netflix web site, as well as with apps for most tablets and smart phones.
- It is also available on many game consoles and TV based devices like Roku or Chrome Cast. Netflix also has an impressive and growing stable of shows produced by Netflix including Daredevil, House of Cards, and a number of children’s cartoon shows.
- Amazon Prime Video: This is a service from Amazon.com featuring access to a large segment of its massive video library. Access to Prime Video is an automatic benefit when you sign up for the Amazon Prime Shipping Service, but can be purchased separately for a monthly fee.
In addition to many free to view titles (both movies and TV shows), membership allows you discounts on other Amazon Video titles. Like Netflix, Amazon works on PCs, tablets and phones, as well as the Kindle Stick.
- Now TV: A wholly owned subsidiary of Sky TV, this is an attempt by this media giant to get a line on both ends of the TV viewing spectrum. This service will allow you on demand access to a number of programs normally seen on Sky TV. Access is available on a number of devices but only 4 units can be activated at a time. With the other services, there is no limit to the number of devices that you can set up for viewing, just on the number of devices being used concurrently.
While Now TV is not fully HD ready, and picture quality is not always the best, being part of a media company gets them access to many of the newest programs and movies before Netflix or Amazon,
where it is not unusual for the previous series of a show to be available only when the next series is about to begin broadcasting.
What about Hulu:
Hulu, which specializes in streaming current episodes of TV shows, is not available in the UK at this time.
If you are cost conscious, and can wait a bit for your programming, there are options that you can employ to have your TV and keep your budget at the same time.