Live without cable television and save some money

Cable television is often considered a necessity, and can run you anywhere from 30 to a hundred dollars a month. What if you could cancel your cable TV hookup, and not even notice? No, I’m not talking about stealing cable, and I’m not talking about taking a walk or reading a book instead of watching TV.

The internet has gotten faster at a frightening rate, and there is where our discussion begins. It’s fairly easy to download files at 200 KB/s, and it’s moderately easy to download files at 500 KB/s. This is actually enough to support streaming high quality video! You have a couple options here. There are many legal sites where you can watch television shows, and even movies online. The quality of these streaming video sites is medium. If you have a small TV, the quality of these videos will be fine. For larger TVs, streaming video probably won’t satisfy you, especially if you have an HDTV.

Some streaming websites allow you to watch TV shows for free, and simply insert commercials. An example is southparkstudios.com. These are the best sorts of websites because you don’t have to pay anything, the website is legal, and this particular site has excellent video quality. In fact, the video quality of this website is equal to or better than standard television.

What if you want to watch live TV? Don’t worry, you can do that too! An example of that would be channelchooser.com. This website is supported by ads, which means you don’t have to pay anything, and it’s legal. This website is an example of medium quality video. Again, if you have a big TV, the quality will be significantly worse than cable television. But if you want to watch live TV from any channel imaginable, these websites can be a great resource for you.

There are also less-than-legal ways to watch TV. Various hosting sites such as Rapidshare are known to host high quality video for a variety of television shows and movies. Downloading TV shows and movies illegally is, well, illegal. The advantages are that you can store the files on your computer and the quality can be higher than streaming online video. Generally, I wouldn’t recommend doing anything illegal, mainly because the consequences for getting caught are high. People are being sued left and right, primarily for downloading music, but television shows and movies as well.

Last but not least, there are services such as Netflix, where you can rent DVDs all you want for a monthly fee. The monthly fee for Netflix is far lower than any monthly cable television bill. Best of all, DVDs are, of course, high quality! Even better, most televisions shows nowadays are being put on DVD. Heck, even Tiny Toon Adventures season 1 was released on DVD not too long ago…so you should be able to find your favorite shows on DVD.

If you live in a well populated area, you may want to consider getting free TV over the airwaves. The switch to digital television broadcast will be made in the US in just a few months. It’s a good idea to check which stations you will be able to receive from your house before going out and buying any sort of antenna. You also want to make sure that anything you buy is going to be compatible with the switch to digital broadcasting.

If you choose to watch streaming video online, or download video to your computer, you will probably want to get the video onto your television. You may want to consider getting a small media PC. If you have a laptop, you probably have some sort of S-video out port which you can use to connect to your television. If you have an HDTV, you will want either a DVI or HDMI connector in order to display video from a computer on your television.

Posted under Saving Money, Technology

This post was written by admin on November 4, 2008

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Save your pennies, don’t buy popcorn

We all know that buying popcorn at the movie theaters can be quite expensive, but why is this? As it turns out, most of the money movie theaters make is not from selling tickets, but rather, from selling food and snacks. This money is used to maintain the theater, projection systems, and to make some profit, which seems fair. But how much is the popcorn really costing you?

Many grocery stores, such as Safeway, display the total price of each item, and price per ounce. This information is very helpful because it helps us consumers pick out which items are really the best deals without having to carry a calculator around with us. Again, how much does movie-theater popcorn cost per ounce? The answer is around $1.30 per ounce. Most of us don’t have a great perception of how little an ounce weighs, so let’s put this inter perspective; the popcorn at the movie theater costs $20.8 per pound, which is more expensive than filet mignon. It only costs the theaters 10 pennies for every $1.30 you spend on popcorn. The next time you go to a movie theater, don’t just think about the final price of the popcorn, and think about how much you’re paying and how little you’re getting in return. Also think about whether you really need the popcorn in order to enjoy the movie.

Before wrapping up this post on how to save a couple pennies, I’d like to comment on a couple things. If everyone stopped buying popcorn at the theaters, the theaters would go bankrupt fairly quickly. It is fair for theaters to make a small profit off of you because, after all, it is a business. If you are used to buying popcorn every time you go to the movies, try cutting back and buying popcorn once every three or four times you go to the movies. This will help the theaters stay in business, and will help keep your wallet full. As for sneaking in food, all I have to say is that if you’re bringing your date to the movies, you don’t want to look cheap. ;)

Posted under Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 19, 2008

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Your TV may cost you more than you think!

It is common knowledge that when electronic devices are off, they consume little to no electricity. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Depending on your particular television, it may be consuming anywhere from half a watt to 76.11 watts! It is unbelievable to think that in this day and age, a product would be designed and sold to use so much electricity when it’s ‘off.’

Already, CNET has posted a list of large, high-definition televisions along with their power consumption when on, and when on standby. You can check out the list here. If your television isn’t on the list, it’s worthwhile to try to look up the standby power consumption of your television online.

The absolute best way to save electricity is to disconnect your television from the power grid, even when it’s off. If your television consumes 10 or more watts of power when on standby, you can save some real money simply by disconnecting it when it is not in use. Of course, make sure the television is off before unplugging it.

Let’s do a little experiment to see how much your TV could potentially be costing you. Suppose your television consumes 30 watts of power when on standby, and you use the television 5 hours a day. Next, assume you pay the national average of 8.96 cents per kilowatt-hour.

$ 0.0896 / kWh * 30 W * (1 kW/1000 W) * (24 – 5) h/day * 365 days/year = $18.64 / year

As you can see from the example scenario, leaving your television plugged in when it’s off can cost you almost twenty dollars a year! Now, most televisions are designed to consume next to no power when off, but it’s worth it to double check and make sure you have a power efficient television. If it turns out that your TV consumes a significant amount of power when off, the simplest way to remedy the situation is simply use a power strip. If you use a power strip, you can disconnect your television and any other related equipment with the flick of a switch. Best of all, power strips are readily available and cheap.

Here’s a short list of the worst offenders:

  • Sharp LC-37D90U 40.04 Watts
  • Sharp LC-65D90U 76.11 Watts
  • Westinghouse LTV-32w3 33.76 Watts
  • Pioneer PDP 5060HD 25.12 Watts
  • Pioneer PDP-5080HD 22.95 Watts
  • Mitsubish-62628 50.88 Watts
  • Mitsubishi WD-65833 19.35 Watts

For more televisions, check out this list.

For more ways to save electricity, be sure to have a look at this page.

Posted under Saving Electricity, Saving Money

This post was written by admin on August 10, 2008

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