Looking for an Alternative to Cable TV – See How a Roku Box May Be for You

You may have noticed as I did, that your cable or satellite TV bill was going up higher every year. I knew there must be another option out there. I looked into Home Theater PC’s (HTPC) that promised the world, but seemed difficult to set up and maintain. Once I even tried it with an old desktop computer I had sitting around. The huge box didn’t fit well in the Living Room and many features simply wouldn’t work properly without constantly adjusting the settings, and even after that, they barely worked. I tested out the internet streaming on my Blu-ray player, even my Sony PS3, but they always seemed to be lacking.Not long ago Roku introduced a new box promising to deliver the internet and much more to your TV. Fed up with my rising satellite bill I gave it a shot!The little Roku box can hook to virtually any TV with an HDMI port. It delivers high definition streaming with over 700 channels to choose from.Using this little box as an alternative to cable TV is rather simple. I suggest subscribing to Netflix and Hulu Plus as a minimum to gain access to current TV shows and some of the latest movies. Both of these services will run you less than $16 per month. You can use an indoor or outdoor antenna to get your local stations. If you have a Tivo or other DVR this option will be great for you.In addition you can view pay-per-view movies and shows using Vudu or even Amazon Instant Video. If you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, they offer tons of shows and movies for free. They are the exclusive streamer for Downtown Abbey!For music there is Pandora of course, but also Tune-In with 1,000’s of radio stations to listen to.News stations include CNN (International is live), FoxNews, Bloomberg and RussianTV which is always good for an alternative take on our news.Set-up:The Roku can be placed just about anywhere due to its size. Mine fits in the palm of my hand and is located adjacent to the TV where it’s barely noticeable. You connect with an HDMI cable to your TV and plug it in. That’s it. And remember since the connection is digital, any cheap cable is good enough. Connecting to your home network through the user interface is really straightforward through the settings menu. My Roku is about 50 feet away from my wireless router and gets almost a full signal.Once you create an account online you go to your Roku screen on your TV and get the code to activate, enter it on the website and it is synced to your Roku box where you pick channels you’d like to have from their Channel Store.How to use:The onscreen interface is a set of icons representing various channels you select. Simply use the remote to scroll to the one you want and select it. That’s it!Channels:Selecting channels from Roku’s Channel Store is simple. The store has categories such as New, Movies and TV, News, etc. They have channels for just about everything including the following most popular:Another great Roku feature is Private Channels. Roku allows developers to add their own channels. Providing they adhere to Roku’s terms of service they provide a code you enter online and you get a new channel, and most are free. One I absolutely love is NowhereTV. Nowhere TV combines many channels from Roku’s channel store and some that are not, into one interface. A nice feature using NowhereTV are many local news stations where you can watch segments of news from your hometown you may not have seen in years. There are many other Private Channels and some searching online may grant you your wish of just about everything you want to watch.Many sports programming packages that are available on Cable are available as well. The missing big one is NFL Season Pass, however there are rumors it is in the works.For more information with more detail and channels, see this site http://thecreativealternative.com/alternatives-to-cable/

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