More than 29 million people in the US subscribe to Netflix. Hulu has 4 million paid subscribers. When you are already paying for these entertainment resources, why also pay for cable? Let's take a look at some affordable digital TV options to save you some money!
First, there's Apple TV. Apple developed a box to plug into your computer to stream content through. That can be movies, TV shows or music you bought through the iTunes store. You can also set up your Netflix, Hulu or many other accounts for direct access.
Apple TV works great if you are already using Apple products. It syncs with your iPhone or iPad for a fantastic user experience. Currently, it costs just shy of $100 to purchase. However, if you're not already sold on using Apple products, there are other cheaper options available for you.
The top-most Apple competitor in this market is Roku. The prices range from about $50 to about $100, depending on your preferences. Roku doesn't sync with any other devices, but you can sign into your Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Amazon and most other major accounts to stream content to your TV.
And don't forget about Google's Chromecast! This little dongle plugs directly into your TV's HDMI port. A couple minutes of setup and you can stream content from your smartphone, tablet or computer directly to your TV. There are some limitations in transmitting from tablets or smartphones, but you can stream almost any content from your chrome browser on any computer within range of your dongle.
All of these options give you streaming options, but you do need wireless to access them. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.
Or you could just plug in your laptop to your t.v. with a $4 hdmi cable.
Thanks! This is really helpful info. I'm a fan Roku because it accommodates a wide range of streaming speeds - my connection is slow and other units wouldn't deal with it. I also tried hdmi to my iphone but didn't like the small screen.
This is a great blog and I love all the info it gives people. To add a little bit more info a lot of new devices are adding DLNA (Digital Living Netowrk Alliance). This allows a small version operating system on dvd players and other devices that allow users to play pictures and media from a device. So the question I ask people all the time is what do you want to stream? Then analyze the devices that are out there and features.
For more info on dlna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance)
I have 2 Roku devices a laptop hookup and a couple of dlna players :)
I never heard the word "dongle" before, and thought you made it up!
This is amazing, I love Apples!
Sadly both the AppleTV and the Chromecast require an HDTV for the copy protection.
The older (and cheaper), but still available, Roku models do let you use an old standard TV.
Thanks for this. We have an Apple TV and a Chromecast on the way (eventually...back ordered to October now). We cut cable about 2 years ago. I can use the ABC, PBS, 9News, etc. apps from my iPhone to "mirror" the shows on our Apple TV. They all connect to Netflix and Amazon Prime. And don't forget the PS3 can connect you to Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. as well. Looking forward to seeing Redbox streaming (with one DVD rental/month from the boxes) growing into new apps. For now, it's only on the new XBoxes. Though, I guess it may work to stream from a computer browser on Chrome to a TV via Chromecast? Books in print, audio, and e-formats? Yah, we still use the library for those, since we couldn't afford to access the number of things we read any other way!
There IS a better alternative than these...it is called VStream TV - for more info, go to
I have owned one for three weeks now, and I am amazed at how many movies and TV shows I can stream, as well as live sports channels. This is no joke.
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