A box containing a Philips DVR compatible with TiVo and DirecTV is displayed at a Best Buy store June 11, 2004 in Niles, Illinois. Digital video recorders (DVR's) are changing America's TV habits.
Photographer: Tim Boyle / Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images
PHOENIX - Watch your favorite television shows when you want! Digital video recorders or TiVo’s save you time, but they can also cost a lot of money every month. I did some research and with a little help, found some DVR alternatives that will save you a lot of cash and still deliver the programming you want to see.
Meet Fred Von Graf, he recently made some major changes in how he and his family watch TV.
He says they use to have Dish network, they had a couple of channels he and his family were interested in through Dish network and because of that they had to get those packages which of course cost extra. His monthly bill, including the DVR and service, came to $90 a month, that's more than a thousand dollars a year!
Fred went a different route; his family opted to use Hulu Plus. Fred says, because it allows for quicker access to the shows, it has longer archiving, and it was only 7.99 a month.
That's not the only way to save and still watch your favorite shows. Several websites offer TV and movies over the internet, some for free, others much cheaper compared to satellite or cable. You watch when you want and with few or no commercials at all.
In addition to Hulu Plus, Fred uses Netflix for an even wider selection of television shows and movies. Fred pays $12.99 for that package. And that $12.99 a month includes instant unlimited viewing without commercials and blu-ray movie rentals. If you can do without home delivery of the movies, the price goes down to $7.99 a month.
The selection includes full seasons of popular TV series, but you'll have to wait until after the season ends to see every episode.
You'll need high speed internet access, but you can watch everything on your big screen TV. You do need a way to get the Internet access to your TV. Fred says using tools like a laptop, Apple TV, or Mac mini and getting it connected to your television and determining what streams and or TV shows you really want to get into will help you decide what equipment you will buy to get internet to your TV.
Also, you may not even need to buy anything. If your laptop has an HDMI connection, you simply take an HDMI cable and connect it from your laptop to your HDTV and viola--you have sound and a crystal clear picture. You can also buy a little mini desktop computer designed to be part of your home theater, like the Acer Revo which will run you from $300 to $350 or a Boxee box will run $199.00.
Most DVR services have a search function to help you find your favorite shows. After Fred ditched his DVR, he found a service called Boxee to organize and find all of his favorite free content.
So it takes things off the internet that says these are things that are free and available, and it organizes them for you and the best part? Boxee is free.
You can send videos directly to Boxee , so when you want to watch it, It's all there at your finger tips.
So how much did Fred save by getting rid of his monthly satellite and DVR service?
Fred says he went from spending $90 to $21 a month. That is a savings of more than $800 a year!
And when it comes to content, Streaming Internet content versus Dish Network with a DVR, Fred says we can now access things through the internet like international shows, the BBC and other shows we didn't realize we wanted to see.
Fred says his family can watch all of the stuff they use to, plus and more and for a lot less.
Don't forget local channels are free and in HD. A digital antenna will cost you as little as $11, and then you won't miss out on your Smart Shopper stories or Smart Family and other local news and weather.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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