Who needs TiVO? Not me!

Posted by T | 5:46 PM | 0 comments »

TIVO has sort of become a generic term for any digital video recorder which allows you to record all of your favorite shows and skip the commercials…sort of like Band-Aid, or Kleenex. The brand you buy may not actually be Band-Aid or Kleenex, but that’s what we call pretty much any bandage or facial tissue.

So I used to have a DVR provided to me by my cable company, which we called our TIVO, even though it really wasn’t a TIVO, but it did the same thing. It was great. I didn’t have to worry about missing the latest episode of “Prison Break” or “Survivor”, because the TIVO…er, DVR…would take care of recording it for me.

Then I started taking a closer look at my monthly cable bill. Between equipment rental and the fee I paid each month for the service, my fake TIVO was costing me about $20 a month. Now, $20 isn’t really a lot of money, but over the course of a year that works out to $240. That’s a lot of money to pay for watching TV shows which are normally free.

In an effort to trim my cable bill, which I eventually did…from $130 a month to about $85 per month…I lost the fake TIVO. At first, it took some adjustment. I had to figure out a better way of staying on top of my television viewing (yes, I’m something of a couch potato).

That’s when I discovered that most of the major broadcast networks made full episodes of their most popular shows available for viewing online…for free! Now, when I miss an episode of “Bionic Woman”, I can just go to the NBC web site and watch it anytime I want. You can find a page with all of the network links here: http://streamingtvepisodes.com/

If you are a sports fan, you can even watch some games online. The NCAA March Madness games are streamed live online for free, and you can catch live audio streams of major league baseball games online, too…as well as recorded video, although there is a $9.95 charge for that service, but it’s still cheaper than TIVO. As far as I can tell, the NFL is not using a feature like this on their web site yet, although you can watch video highlights there for free.

There are now some computer programs and hardware you can purchase (rather inexpensively) to turn your home computer into a DVR…with no monthly charges. You can find a description of two different programs here: http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,126104-page,1/article.html

For now, I’ll pick up the free video streams on the network web sites. After all, it doesn’t get much better than free!

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