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TV Alternatives

Does your cable bill seem like it's only getting more expensive? The cost of cable has risen 59 percent since 1996 [source: Tuttle], and the average monthly cable bill is about $75, according to CNN Money [source: Pepitone]. What if you're ready to give up cable -- but not your favorite TV shows?

There are several other services you can turn to. Streaming video services like Netflix charge a flat, $10 fee for unlimited access to a library of television shows and films, while Web sites for television networks and services like Hulu.com often allow free streaming of original programming. The iTunes online store allows a la carte downloading of television and films. Set-top boxes like Roku stream Web-based channels onto your television screen. According to Wired magazine, using a combination of a digital television antenna, streaming video services and television network Web sites, a set-top box, and a roughly $500 annual budget to download television shows from premium channels, you can knock a $1,643.16 cable bill down to $1,104.15 in the first year -- and the costs go even lower in each subsequent year. Be prepared to make a few sacrifices: It's hard to find a selection of sports programming to rival cable providers online, for example [source: Wired].

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