How to: Substitute Internet TV for Cable

For many people, one of their biggest non-essential bills is for cable television. In order to receive a large variety of movie, sports and specialty programming, many households pay anywhere from $100 to $250. This can take a large chunk out of any budget, so it’s not surprising that many are starting to look for alternatives. One possibility, especially for those with a broadband internet connection, is to stop the cable subscription and get your television programming over the Internet.


While it may seem there is no substitute for the selection of 100’s of channels that you get with cable, studies show that the average person only watches 15 of those channels with any regularity. Once you’ve determined what you actually watch, you might be surprised at the alternatives you have.

Where Your Interests Lie

First of all, any local stations will be free to you with a digital antenna. These are generally quite inexpensive, and in a larger urban area give you access to dozens of channels. Next, think about what you like to watch beyond regular network programming. If you watch a lot of news, most of the major news channels like BBC and CNN offer free streaming video of their programming.  If you’re a sports fanatic, ESPN has partnerships with many ISP’s to offer free streaming of many events.

Many popular network shows are available on the network website within days after the original broadcast and sites like offer a wealth of current programming.  If you want a large selection of moves, Netflix offers free streaming through its “watch instantly” service which accompanies its most basic DVD mailing service.

If You Have Older Equipment

If you have older equipment, you might have to spend some money to get computer content to your television screen. Fortunately however, most new HDTVs come with a PC connection built in, and many computer monitors can double as a television screen.  You can also use devices like the xBox to stream movies for a yearly subscription.

One thing to be aware of is that you will need a high-speed internet connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second. That will probably cost at least $30 per month, but unlike cable, it can do double duty for your whole family’s personal computing. You are likely to get the best value for your money if you already have some or all of the equipment needed to optimize streaming content. If you don’t you could face some up-front-costs that will take you many cable-free months to make up.

Eliminate Your Cable Bill

It is very likely that Internet TV is the wave of the future. There are already a great many options available, and it seems that television statements see providing online content as a necessity. You can take advantage of this by cutting or eliminating your cable bill and watching your usual television programs via online streaming. If you have fairly recent television or computer equipment, and a fast internet connection, you should be able to make the transition easily and at a big cost savings over time.


The post is contributed by Calvin Scott, who blogs about ways in which different technologies can simplify life, if adopted. Visit his site for internet and internet en televisie.