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TV Viewing Gets Complicated

The problem with cutting cable is buying service piecemeal might be expensive, and many customers have their cable bundled with Internet and phone service.

| BY Kent McDill

Every day, it seems, another option comes along that makes it seem more possible that you could actually get rid of your cable or satellite provider for TV services.

 Every major network offers its shows on either their own special Internet site almost immediately, or do so after a short waiting period after the program’s initial broadcasts.

Meanwhile, some web-based programming is being issued on websites alone, and Netflix has jumped into that market with both (figurative) feet.

There are two complications regarding the cutting of the cable cord, however. The first issue is that cable does offer programming from a variety of channels at one place, as opposed to having to chase down shows from individual sites and pay for them individually, which could add up. Also, many people pay to have their Internet and phone service bundled with their cable packages, and separating those could prove expensive.

But it does seem that cable and satellite are on their way out, and if today is the day it might be removed from your home,

Fortune Magazine has offered a primer on just where you can go to get the most television options off the Internet.

PlayStation Vue, the newest entrant, is viewed off of a PlayStation device and offers more than 50 channels in both live television and on-demand streaming forms at a base price of $50 a month. The package also includes several major broadcast and cable networks. It can be accessed via PS3 or PS4 in only three cities so far, but is expected to expand to include other cities and other devices, such as the iPad later this year.

Sling TV, provided by The Dish Network, has approximately 20 channels, and it has ESPN where PlayStation Vue does not. It does not offer major broadcast stations like the Big Four of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Sling is available on Xbox and other devices but not on Apple or Google devices. It is relatively inexpensive, at $20 a month.

Apple TV is not operating yet anywhere, but Apple said it will be ready in the fall, and is reportedly going to have the major broadcast stations on line. The Appel service is expected to cost between $20 and $40, depending on the level of membership purchased. It would likely only be available on Apple devices, however.

HBO, which already offers HBOGO, plans to have its own streaming service available in early April at a price of $15 per month. HBO Now will also initially be available on Apple TV or through Cablevision, but will offer all of its original programming along with movies.

CBS charges $6 a month for a subscription streaming service that offers live and on-demand access to all of its broadcast network programming, not including NFL games. CBS is looking to launch a service similar to HBO Now for its premium network Showtime.

NBCUniversal parent Comcast is reportedly going to stream its programming with a focus on comedies, including “The Tonight Show” and “Saturday Night Live”. The Wall Street Journal reports that service would be just $3 a month.

And what about the kids? Thanks to Viacom, Nickelodeon has launched its service called Noggin, which is available on Apple products for $5 a month. It does not, however, including current Nickelodeon programming, instead offering old episodes of former hits like “Blue’s Clues.”

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.