Cutting the cord: How to ditch your cable company

TV programming no longer belongs solely to cable companies, but viewing the shows you want online can still be difficult

By Megan Geuss, PC World |  Consumerization of IT, entertainment

Satellite Direct is another service that you've doubtless seen advertised on some of the less-reputable TV-streaming websites out there. For a one-time $50 fee, you download a media player onto your computer, and can use that to access "over 3500" channels from around the world (or so the company claims). The download was easy enough for me, but after I selected the United States as my country and started flipping through the channels, I quickly found that many of them were duds. Satellite Direct aggregates all streaming television channels--legal or illegal--into its program. But if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency were to discover and shut down the illegal ESPN stream, for instance, that would leave you with a dead stream.

In my tests, I was able to watch MTV, VH1, MSNBC, and a Florida affiliate of NBC that was airing 30 Rock. But the quality of the video was usually poor, and for every channel showing 30 Rock there was an independent channel showing only ripped clips of Family Guy in Auto-Tuned Spanish on repeat. If you're not tied to any one type of programming, but you just need some background noise while you're working on a project, maybe Satellite Direct is for you. Otherwise, it isn't worth your $50.

Finally, lots of cord-cutters who want great programming at no cost download video through BitTorrent, a protocol for file transfer that is not in itself illegal, but allows peer-to-peer file sharing that may occasionally wander into copyright-infringement territory. BitTorrent clients such as Vuze or µTorrent allow you to build RSS feeds for specific shows.

With this list, you should be able to get started on breaking free of your cable company. If you're willing to watch shows a day later, or in poor resolution, you shouldn't have any problem leaving those hefty cable bills behind.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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