“Over-the-air HDTV is awesome, but the truth is, as a cord cutter sometimes you will yearn for more. The good news is that there’s a lot of low cost and free streaming media sources that can provide you with a plethora of viewing options.”
Streaming media (for those who don’t already know…) is programming that is sent via the internet to smart TVs, PCs, and streaming media devices. It allows users to easily access paid streaming media services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, in addition to free streaming services like Crackle, Mohu One and Pluto TV.
Paid streaming media services come with a low subscription cost; usually paid monthly with a credit card on file. Some of these services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, give you a free trial of one week to one month. Even when you subscribe for the low monthly fee to one of these paid streaming services, you can opt out at any time if the service isn’t for you.
Considering the high quality services available, the ease of access to these services by multiple devices, and the significant savings by comparison to cable or satellite TV, supplementing your over-the-air TV with streaming media has never been more attractive.
Streaming Media Devices
Streaming devices are all the rage for cord cutters and non-cord cutters alike. A good device will quickly guide you through a step by step process for easy setup, and provide you with an easy to understand interface for continued ease of use. The devices access your wireless network and all you really have to do is enter your network’s password to gain access to streaming media services. Apps (programs used for various streaming media services) can be accessed with a click of a remote.
I have several streaming media devices which provide my family with an incredible amount of streaming entertainment for very little money. My devices include a Roku 3, Apple TV, a Blu-ray player with apps, a smart LED HDTV and PCs with XBMC (now known as Kodi) software.
All of these devices work well for streaming media, but the Roku 3 is the simplest to setup and use. I like it because it provides me with quick access to my favorite streaming media content from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus. For those who don’t mind a challenge with great rewards, consider adding XBMC software to your PC. XBMC can provide you with live TV from various countries including live sports programming. Check out this video on how to install, configure, and customize an XBMC setup, which I found to be very helpful to me when setting up XBMC on my PCs:
Free Streaming Media Services
Not all streaming media has a fee attached to it. Some really great content is actually free! Here are some of my favorite sources.
- Mohu One - Integrated into Mohu Channels.
- Pluto TV - Setup is easy to use and offers excellent programming choices.
- Crackle - Movies and more movies, for free.
- YouTube - Incredible resource!
- VeVo - Awesome source for the latest music videos.
- Hulu (not Hulu Plus which is a paid service) – older movies and documentaries.
There are a lot of ways you can enhance your cord cutting with streaming media. To enjoy the experience, make sure you have a strong high speed wireless internet connection and a streaming media device with the apps you want installed. If you aren’t afraid to try, internet based media sources can truly give you more programming than you ever had with cable or satellite TV, at a fraction of the cost.
Andrea Polk hails from Oregon and is a wife, mother, writer, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer, and more. She’s also the author of the Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV as well as the avid deal-seeker behind SavvySleuth.com, where she scours the web for the best online deals.