Save money by watching Internet television
4 ways to stop 'bill creep'
By Jean Chatzky
Fed up with paying on average $80 to $100 a month for cable or satellite TV? Tired of ordering your life around their schedule?
Cut the cable and instead watch your favorite shows for free via the Internet 24/7 on your home computer, laptop or even your smartphone.
Copyright laws have made it a little more limited, but you can still watch movies and shows for free on YouTube and Hulu.
Additionally, online portals from the three major U.S. networks feature many couch-potato favorites just hours after they air in prime time, as well as vintage TV dating back to the black-and-white days.
Get your weekly dose of "Scandal" and "Dancing with the Stars" at ABC.com. Over at NBC.com, they're serving "About a Boy" and "Grimm," as well as classics like "The A-Team" and "Miami Vice." (Nice suit, Tubbs!)
Networks are responding to online viewers and enhancing the experience by offering previews, interviews, behind-the-scenes documentaries, games and more.
On CBS.com, for example, viewers can "connect" with the staff of shows like "Elementary" to chat and ask questions. CBS also offers a feature called "My CBS" that allows viewers to use their computer or download an app and build a customized playlist of shows and movies.
Crazy for cable content? You also can pull up cable originals at MTV.com, TBS.com and TNTdrama.com and vintage reruns at TVLand.com.
"There are now two prime times: the normal prime time and noontime, when you catch up with your shows," said Elroy Jopling, former research director for consumer services for Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Inc., an information technology research company. "It's actually expanding the amount of time that people spend watching TV."
The revolution is being televised
In fact, Jopling said, free online TV content is just one of several technological innovations leading a revolution in the way we receive and manipulate televised content.
Fiber-optic Internet protocol television, or IPTV, through AT&T's U-verse and Verizon's FiOS TV services has already vastly expanded both our viewing options and the ways in which advertisers will be able to use our viewing habits to pitch their products.
Now, with the ultrahigh-definition smart TVs, your home will likely be alive with interconnectivity, enabling your TV to talk to your computer and your cellphone in exciting new ways. This generation of smart technology offers Web browsing, social media interaction and streaming video.