One of the biggest expenses in my home, after rent and my car payment, is cable TV. Yes, I hate to say it, but until recently my monthly cable bill was about $130 per month. I have recently trimmed that back to $80 per month.

How? Well, I realized there were plenty of cable channels I just wasn't watching, yet I was paying for them. So, I called my company and asked for "expanded basic cable". This gives me all of the local broadcast stations, along with news channels like CNN and Fox News Channel, as well as channels I do like to wach, such as the Food Network and the History Channel. My monthly cable bill also includes broadband Internet access, which I use for work purposes. I also have VOIP telephone service with Lingo, which also requires broadband Internet service.

But, this broadband connection also allows me access to some great television viewing which is available for free on my computer. If I wanted to cut back on my cable TV service even more, or altogether, I could. However, my kids also have TVs in their rooms, and I think they would revolt if I forced them to use antennae on their TVs (although that is quickly becoming the preferred choice for people with High Definition TVs who use High-Def antenna to pick up the High-Def signals from their local broadcast stations).

For example, most of the major broadcast networks now stream their programs online. These include CBS's Innertube service, NBC, ABC, FOX On Demand, and the CW.

AOL makes episodes of classic TV shows available on its In2TV service. The kids can also watch full episodes of TV shows from The Disney Channel online. You can watch TV channels from around the world at the Web TV List.

If you are a movie fan, you can check out old cheesy B movies that are now in the public domain at Public Domain Movies. Has your favorite TV show been cancelled? You might find it at Brilliant But Cancelled.com. They even have episodes of Roar, with a young Heath Ledger!

For documentaries and shorter video shows and clips, there is of course Google Video, YouTube, and Blinkx.com, which bills itself as the world's largest video search engine with more than 14 million hours of content. That should keep you busy!

All this TV rotting your brain? Find something educational at Science Daily, the History Channel (just clips, unfortunately), or PBS's Frontline, Nova, or Learner.org.

There's a lot of free TV to watch out there...and it's all on your computer!

2 comments

  1. Dan Robinson // November 19, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

    My wife and I dropped our premium channels and kept basic cable plus the internet service. We are saving $100 a month and are not missing a thing. The kids watch their favorite shows on Netflix and I watch ESPN on my Xbox 360. Why don't more people do this?

  2. T // November 20, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

    Dan, I think a lot of people just aren't aware of their options. They think that if they don't have premium cable, they are going to miss out on all their favorite shows. A lot of shows are available on DVD now, plus there is a ton of free content online. If people are struggling with their budget, cable TV is a luxury item that can definitely be replaced with other options, and they won't miss a thing.

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