Can you really watch TV on Internet connections, and is it really free? Yes and no. You can watch streaming television shows, movies, sporting events and more on your PC through a high-speed Internet connection. And much of it is free. There are also paid services to pick up the slack when you can’t find what you want free online!
Television is expensive today. Of course, you can buy a $40 converter box and just watch the basic networks programming in your area. You’ll get your local NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS and one or two other networks, as well any local programming, with no ongoing cost.
But this means you’ll miss out on some of the best movies and shows on television today. Many of the top critical and popular hits are on cable channels that you must pay for a programming package to see. Comedy Central, ESPN and even news networks like CNN are all cable access only.
And some of the best shows consistently come out of cable channels that require a separate subscription in addition to whatever you pay for your TV package. HBO and Showtime are prime examples of pay stations that cost extra, but offer some of the finest viewing available.
It’s incredibly easy to have a monthly cable or satellite bill that’s $70, $100 or more per month if you subscribe to any pay channels. And if your package contains all of the “basic” cable channels available, you could pay that before you even pay the extra $15 for HBO.
But with streaming TV on the Internet, you can watch most if not all of your favorite shows without paying for cable or satellite at all. Granted, if the shows you want to watch are on subscription stations like HBO or Showtime, if you find them streaming free online it’s probably being done illegally.
But other cable stations like Comedy Central, for instance, have shows available free with only one or two very short commercial interruptions, through their website and hulu. Most popular stations have these types of streams available today.
You do have an option for watching movies and programs from pay channels like HBO. Of course, you must wait until the shows come out on DVD to see them. But if you don’t want to buy or rent the DVDs you can subscribe to a website like Netflix.
Throughout Netflix, not only do you get to rent DVDs at home for a low monthly fee, you can watch many shows and movies online for no extra charge. So you could still be able to watch some pay channels shows online for very little money, as well as rent DVDs, so you’re getting more for the money than if you were subscribed to the channel.
As far as other programming, there will be shows that don’t partner with Joost or hulu to stream online. But you can watch TV on Internet and then watch those shows on DVD later, if you’d like to ditch the cable bill.