If you’re tired of paying $30 to $150 a month for your television package, why not consider watching cable Internet TV for free instead? If you’re already paying for cable Internet or DSL, you can watch hundreds and even thousands of television shows free right over your PC.
Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not. There are a number of very popular websites online that let you watch actual television programming, like hulu. There are many more where you can download television shows and movies for free. Not all websites, though, are legitimate and legal, so you have to be careful.
While legitimate streaming websites are available, many more will advertise that you can watch free HBO or Showtime programs. Since channels like HBO and Showtime aren’t technically “cable” channels now but are pay channels that you must subscribe to in order to watch television, you can’t watch those free online. At least not through legitimate, legal means.
But many shows that you can’t watch without cable or satellite television are available for free online on Internet cable TV. A channel like Comedy Central, for instance, requires that you be subscribed to cable television, or that you get your TV through something like Direct TV or the Dish Network.
But on hulu.com, you can watch the last couple of weeks’ worth of episodes, all for free. There’s no need for you to be subscribed to a television package in your home. The episodes stream free online with limited commercial interruptions.
Hit shows like Family Guy, House, The Office and hundreds more are available at hulu. Another popular site called Joost carries station programming that you typically need a pay cable package to view, like shows from MTV and VH1.
You stream the television show or movie on your PC free. How do they make money from letting you watch the content for free? There are at least a couple “commercial” breaks during your show. Just like television stations make money from the commercials that are shown during programming, these websites make money from advertisers, too.
If you’re immediately put off by the idea of watching cable TV online and having to sit through commercials, don’t worry. At least at hulu, for instance, the commercials are mercifully brief. While you might have 2 to 4 minutes of commercials at a time on television, commercials are limited to one per break, and they usually last less than 30 seconds each.
If you’re not one of the many people who pays for cable, you can still get a benefit from watching online. How much better is it to have a 30-second commercial twice during a half hour show, than to have 3 or 4 commercial breaks of at least a few minutes?
And if you don’t have digital recording technology on your TV or through a subscriber service, cable Internet TV viewing gives you an added convenience. You can pause the program at any time, rewind, fast forward, and even watch it more than once.