Shut Off Your Cable, Get Internet Video Free

More consumers saving cash by turning to Web for TV

By Lauren Jiggetts
|  Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009  |  Updated 5:38 PM CDT
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Do you have a computer hooked up to your TV?

Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid

A recent survey found that 25 percent of respondents were interested in replacing their cable or satellite service with internet delivered video.

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Josh Gilbert was tired of paying anywhere between $50 to $100 a month for cable, so he decided to dump his cable provider.  He hooked up his personal computer to his 50-inch television with an HDMI cable.  Through services like Hulu.com, Gilbert can watch TV for free.  Hulu is partially-owned by NBC Universal

"I can watch all the same shows as I like to watch when I had cable," Gilbert said.  "I can watch them from the computer itself directly into the TV."

Hulu offers programming from NBC, FOX and over 45 other networks, movie studios and web content creators.  You can find current and classic shows and movies on the site.  Unlike YouTube.com, Hulu does not offer any user-generated video. 

A recent survey by the research group In-Stat found that 25 percent of respondents were interested in replacing their cable or satellite service with internet delivered video. 

Consumers are also turning to sites like Pandora for music.  And you no longer need to go to the local video stores thanks to site like Netflix, Blockbuster and a service called Vudu.  But unlike Hulu, those sites are not free.  One of the easiest ways to hook up your television to your computer is by connecting the two with an HDMI cable.  Of course, you must have a high-speed internet connection to watch video on any of these sites.

"I have at least 5-10 customers on a daily basis asking how they can hook up their desktop computers to their TV," said Anthony Gomez, an employee at Best Buy.  

Gomez said most people want to know if the picture quality is any good.  "It's great," he said.

But cable and satellite still have advantages in certain areas.  Hulu does not offer live events like sports or awards shows.  It also does not yet offer programming from ABC, CBS and some premium channels found on cable or satellite.

But for Gilbert, the only way he'd return to cable is if it was free.

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