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Affording Your Favorite Media: It’s Easier Than You Think

March 12th, 2015 by Sara Stringer Comments

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As the world grows more and more dependent upon streaming media and on-demand services, more and more companies are trying to get a piece of the pie. For example, instead of simply uploading their shows to Hulu or Netflix, CBS has created its own streaming service. HBO also made headlines when it announced that it was going to split it’s HBOGo service out into it’s own entity, allowing anybody to stream HBO entertainment whether or not they subscribe to the channel through their cable packages.

There are roughly a dozen or so streaming media services available for a monthly or annual fee. If you subscribe to all of them, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to watch anything you want whenever you want to watch it regardless of what it is. It sounds great, but subscribing to every service will be extremely expensive. You could wind up spending hundreds of dollars every year. Most of you reading this can’t drop that kind of cash without it hurting your budget a lot.
So what are you supposed to do? Are you really just supposed to sit in the library queue for months at a time waiting for that one rogue disc of your favorite TV show to finally get returned and set aside for you?

No. There are a few ways to increase your entertainment package without having to sign away the rights to your soul…or your bank account.

Don’t Give Up Your TV Service
There’s nothing quite like just sitting around and flipping through the channels and seeing what’s on (unless you’re impatient and then you can just slouch back and scroll through the program menu). Unfortunately, these days, a lot of television programming providers have tweaked their packages to be as expensive as possible while not providing much in the way of the entertainment you really want.

You don’t have to force yourself to care about sports if sports are not your thing. Instead, you simply have to do some research. A lot of cable and satellite companies are terrified of their customer pool shrinking and have some great deals available to families that are willing to contract with the service for a year or two. If you search for Directv availability in your area, you’ll probably turn up a few subscription deals that you both like and can afford.

It’s true: one of the best ways to make sure you always have access to great television is to simply subscribe to a cable or satellite service. Their libraries have expanded quite a lot, many provide DVRs with extended memories, etc.

Sharing: It’s Not Just Manners Anymore
Streaming services used to only allow a few very specifically coded devices to stream media through a single account and almost never at the same time. This didn’t stop roommates and families from sharing accounts, so the services have relaxed the rules. This is part of why, for example, Netflix allows accounts to have several different lists and profiles. They, and most of the other streaming services like Amazon and Hulu have also relaxed the rules about simultaneous streaming on accounts.

So, if you want access to everything, why not divvy it up between your friends? You pay for the Netflix subscription, someone else pays for Hulu. Another picks up Amazon Prime. Still another tackles HBOGo or CBS All Access. Just make sure you read the terms of service before you do this! Streaming companies have relaxed but they still have rules.

If you’re internet savvy, you can find anything you want for free online. Here’s the problem: illegally torrenting and downloading media is still, most of the time, illegal (materials released under Creative Commons licences are the exception). It’s better to access your media legally. You don’t want to be the guy everybody knows because he got prosecuted for stealing content, do you?

The point is: if you’re creative, you can legally access whatever you want without having to take out a second job to afford it. These are just a few suggestions you can use…

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Sara is a former business aficionado turned mother, writer, geek, and solopreneur. She lives in Southern California where she enjoys going to Nerdcore shows and watching old episodes of X-Men.

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