Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Have you thought about cutting the cord from pay TV? I’ve got an idea for you to make it easy to watch free or cheap programming on your TV using your Internet connection.
Today, roughly four in 10 of us have an Internet-enabled TV. As a result, the number of folks who have disconnected from pay TV rose by quite a bit in the United States through the economic slump. The exact numbers differ depending on whom you ask, but as many as 12 or 15 percent of households have fired their cable or satellite provider and gone to a “rabbit ears” antenna for their local networks, along with Internet-only TV for more extensive programming options.
The earliest pioneers who cut the cord were very tech-savvy people. But it’s getting easier for dummies like me.
I’ve been testing the second-generation Roku. This device sells for anywhere from $50 to $80 depending on the retailer. It hooks up to your TV in just a few minutes and can get the Internet either wirelessly or via a hard wire from your high-speed connection. And bam — just like that you’re up and running.
Roku is easy to use as a simple TV system that gives you a massive choice in online programming. Pair it with a digital antenna to pick up your local channels, and Roku will give you more TV to consume than you could possibly want or need.
With it you can cobble together your own “poor man’s pay TV service” using Hulu Plus and Netflix ($20 or less each month combined) versus the typical pay TV bill of somewhere close to $90 each month. Visit Roku.com for more information.
It truly is Internet TV for dummies like me who just want things to be easy.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.