Friday, May 3, 2013

Thinking of Cutting Cable for the Summer? 4 Sites to Help You Be a Streaming Champ

Quick post today. No time for sentiment. Iron Man 3 is out and I'm barely able to write this, let alone make it poignant. (Confession: I just spelled that last word as poingnoint, I'm in such a hurry.)

So, here comes summer and you want cut back on your $50 to $200 dollar cable bill. I don't know how much you spend but let's say you don't want to spend it anymore. What are your options?*

Books, games, outings, vacations, movies (theater or DVD), regular TV, tube storage TV, and ... STREAMING everything. I won't focus on anything but streaming here.

The technology we have available these days for streaming TV and movies is remarkable. It's nearly perfect except that, to remain competitive, companies have to offer exclusive content (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) or keep the content you buy from them locked into their services and/or hardware (Apple, Amazon, Google). So, it won't be perfect until they can all get along and that will never happen. Moving on ...

How can you be a champion streamer? Well, it's more than just having the services. You have to know how to get the most out of the services. Assuming you have access via web, Roku, AppleTV, etc. to the big names in streaming (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Vudu, etc.), you can use these sites to queue nearly everything you'd ever need to replace cable for a season. Here they are:
Why it rocks: "Have you ever rented a movie, only to find it streaming on Netflix? Or paid for a show on iTunes, not knowing it was cheaper on Amazon? ... With so many streaming services available, it can be time-consuming to hunt down ... Watch It Stream will show you if it's available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Instant. Even if your show is not streaming, the search results will guide you to the cheapest way to purchase the title online or on DVD/Blu-ray."
Why it's brilliant: "A free service ... that allows you to search across the most popular streaming, rental, and purchase services to find where a movie is available. If the movie you're looking for is not available, just sign-up, set a reminder and voila we will shoot you an email when your chosen service makes the movie available." It breaks down the services into movies (streaming instant/rental, digital purchase, DVD purchase, and Xfinity subscription) and TV (streaming instant, digital purchase, and Xfinity subscription).
Why it's helpful: "If you're a frequent viewer of Netflix's streaming fare, you're probably numb to how inefficient the rental service's browsing and search pages can be. InstantWatcher is a soothing balm of clean, fast movie browsing."— Lifehacker Feb 16, 2009
Why it's hacktastic: This site gives you all the Netflix New Releases for each week including the full list of new DVD releases that week (if you're still having DVDs sent to your home) and a list of interesting streaming releases in that past week. I like that option because I'm always looking for content new to Netflix.

There you go. Use these and you're off to a great summer of viewing in between all the other unfreakinbelieveable activities I'm sure you have planned.

Did I miss any? Have you used any of these? Let us know in the comments.

*This post was inspired by this one.

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