8 Devices to Help You Cut the Cable Cord

As consumers become more savvy with their entertainment dollars, more devices have entered the streaming-media fray allowing even the digitally challenged to cut the cord on cable and satellite dependencies and save big money on movies and shows.

8 Streaming Media Players That Will Help You Ditch Cable

Cable and satellite subscriptions are on the decline. With streaming boxes, gaming consoles and other ways to connect, there are many products available to access popular services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and others. And it's having an effect. A recent analysis conducted by Experian, a marketing services provider, reported that "cord-cutters" grew by an impressive 44 percent over the last seven years. The way we watch and get our entertainment is changing dramatically. With the proliferation of binge watching, on-demand video and DVRs we want our shows when we want them, not on someone else's schedule.

Devices are available across the price spectrum and many offer simple intuitive interfaces.

Get an HD Antenna

Step 1 should to be to find out what broadcast channels are available in your area. Go to TVFool and check your area. It will provide a map that shows you the broadcast channels available in your area and the direction you may wish to point your antenna. You may be pleasantly surprised by the amount of channels available. There are many HD antennae to choose from such as indoor antenna for city dwellers to larger roof mounted antennae for homeowners.

Is your device not listed in this slideshow? Please tell us which device you use in the comments section.

Price: Prices Vary

Xbox or PS4

If you're a gamer, chances are you've got all the hardware you need to cut the cable. In fact, according to a recent BusinessInsider article, gaming consoles are the largest part of the connected TV market accounting for 54 percent of the global traffic. While these units cost more than the other options on our list they do more, they include built-in Wi-Fi, a Blu-ray player and, of course, gameplay.

Price:
Xbox One $399
PS4 $399

Company: Microsoft, Sony

Roku

Roku has been at the forefront of streaming video devices since launching its first device in 2008, and its devices reflect that experience. Its products are simple and intuitive, and because Roku offers a few options there are choices for the budget-conscious as well as the media-hungry.

Roku touts more than 750 channels and along with the Chromecast is one of the most popular streaming devices on the market. You can check out its ever expanding channel listings here. The newest Roku 3 offers expandable memory, something lacking in previous incarnations.

Price:
Streaming Stick $49.99
Roku 3 $99.99

Company: Roku

ASUS Cube with Google TV

The ASUS Cube with Google TV, a newer entry in the market, runs a custom UI that offers voice-enabled search as well as 50 GB of free Web storage, allowing you to access your media content across your different devices. If you've already owned and enjoyed a Google TV product, than the Cube may be a good choice for you. Hulu and some other major networks have blocked Google TV, but many of the other major players are there such as Netflix, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Plex and others.

Price: $111.99

Company: ASUS

Apple TV

Whether you are locked into the iTunes ecosystem or your just one of the many who loves the simplicity and the "always works" Apple polish, than Apple TV is the right choice for you. This box supports your iTunes content as well as the major streaming media outlets like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go. AirPlay Mirroring allows you to stream web video from your iOS devices as well.

Price: $99

Company: Apple

Chromecast

Chromecast is one of the least expensive devices on the list. At $35, it offers full 1080p streaming. It plugs into your TV or monitors HDMI ports such as a thumbdrive in a PC. Using a version of the Chrome OS Chromecast, when connected to your TV and your wireless network, it allows you to watch content from your mobile device on whatever HDMI TV you have available. It works with iOS, Android as well as with Macs and PCs with Chrome.

One advantage for Chromecast is the beta feature that allows you to broadcast one tab from your Chrome browser to you TV, which in short means access to the entire Web not just the usual media suspect.

Price: $35

Company: Google

Amazon FireTV

Released earlier this year, Amazon Fire has a simple and intuitive interface and a solid voice search for finding movies and titles. It offers content from all the major players, but Amazon content is front and center and voice search works only on Amazon and one or two other content sources. There are some limited parental features as well, something not typically seen in this market but nice to have if you have children.

It's also worth noting that if gaming is a consideration, Amazon says it has that covered by offering a game controller add-on and access to a collection of games designed for larger screens.

Price: $99
Game Controller: $40

Company: Amazon

Streaming Blu-ray Players and Smart TVs

The proliferation of devices that will stream media to your TV has led to some great Smart TVs and streaming Blu-ray players. Sony, Phillips, Samsung, Toshiba and other major brands have all entered the fray with products that wirelessly connect to your home network and deliver streaming video and audio to your big screen. Some will also mirror your mobile device allowing you to access content on your phones and tablets.

If gaming is a consideration to you, than the PS3 or a PS4, depending on your budget, may be a better choice.

Price: Prices Vary