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March 10, 2014

Learning to cut the cable

Locals explore television alternatives

(Continued)

But Time Warner customers aren’t the only ones whose bills are getting bigger. According to Money Magazine, two major satellite providers recently raised rates as well. DirecTV increased by about 4.4 percent, with its “Entertainment” package costing $58 per month. Dish kept the price of a few plans unchanged, but raised others by $3 to $5. Its “Smart Pack” is increasing $3, to $33.

Agoglia said that for his family, being fans of the Olympics, it might have been difficult to get by without cable while the games were on, but that things are going well now. 

The family is experimenting with Netflix to see how much viewing it provides. Agoglia said he can access the online video streaming service through a Blu-ray player or a computer, adding that the latter works better.

Netflix provides on-demand media such as television programs and movies through a variety of devices. Besides the Agoglias’ computer and Blu-ray player, Netflix videos can be viewed via several different types of videogame consoles, as well as through standalone set-top boxes such as Apple TV and Roku, which stream select channels directly to the television set. 

To work, these devices need to be hooked up to the television set, as well as being connected to a WiFi network. Apple TV, which retails for about $99 and has an option that allows devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to work as a control. There are a variety of Roku players, with the top model listing at $99.99. 

The devices aren’t exclusive to Netflix, however; they also offer access to other services. Hulu, a free service that offers more limited content, is also available. Movies can be rented on Roku and various platforms through channels like Amazon Instant Video. Apple TV allows rentals through its iTunes Store. Various sports channel subscriptions are also offered for the various devices. Accessing Netflix costs $7.99 per month; the same cost for Hulu Plus, which offers commercial-free viewing of its various television shows and movies. 

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