So, you’ve finally decided to cut the cord. (Congratulations!) But now that you’ve cut back on a huge monthly financial burden, how do you go about getting watching your favorite shows? It may not be entirely as easy as programming your DVR, but there are a number of ways to help keep you connected to the entertainment world. Of course, start off with our FlatWave antenna to get all your local channels, but what about the non-network programming you love? Here are the two best options:
If you haven’t heard of a dongle, it’s essentially a USB plugin that turns your TV, laptop, or tablet (the former being the most important of the three) into a simple streaming device. Google Chromecast ($35) was the first game-changer to enter the market. With it you can stream from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Google Play Movies and more. In April, streaming bigwig Roku is set to release its own dongle, Roku Streaming Stick ($49.99) includes the same options as Chromecast, with the addition of HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, and 1,000-plus TV stations. Finally, Amazon is said to be gearing up to release its own streaming dongle, though details are still scarce, so we’re unsure of pricing and details.
Stationary Streaming Devices
These gadgets, situated at your television’s side rather than portable ones like the aforementioned dongle, are another option. Apple TV ($99) and Roku ($49.99–99.99) are the go-to brands that most cord-cutters rely on. Both hook users up with virtually the same content type—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Youtube, Pandora, HBO Go, among others—but there are some notable differences. Apple TV lets you stream content—music, photos, and video—from your computer and Roku grants you access to 1,000-plus television channels. And for all you sports enthusiasts worried about missing out on your favorite team’s away games, which typically aren’t aired on local channels, both boxes give you the option to subscribe to season passes for MLB, NBA and NHL channels. They aren’t exactly cheap (roughly $200 apiece), but you’re still likely to save money over your annual cable costs.