Unbundle: Get top-tier TV entertainment Without the Price

by David Sung

Today many TV and movie watchers are turning away from cable and satellite providers and saving money on TV entertainment. The average American consumer is only interested in watching an average of 17 TV channels but is forced to pay for hundreds of channels that they never watch due to channel bundling.

This problem has gained a lot of attention in recent months, so much so that it is being addressed by  Senator John McCain, who has proposed the Television Consumer Freedom Act aimed at making “multichannel video programming distributors provide video programming to subscribers on an a la carte basis,” meaning that providers should unbundle channels giving consumers the option to subscribe to channels without paying channels they do not watch.

With cable providers charging more and more for channel bundles, many consumers are turning away from “traditional” cable and satellite. If you still want to enjoy your TV shows and movies without paying for the high prices, there are several options to choose from that have become widely popular.


With over 5 million units sold, Roku allows users to stream movies, shows, games, and much more instantly to TVs for a one-time purchase price ranging from $49.99 to $99.99, with no additional monthly costs. Roku offers a wide selection and also makes it easy for users to stream their existing subscriptions from online channels/content providers like Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.

Roku would not replace network television for those who like to watch currently running networks series.

  • Over 750 channels
  • Over 150,000 movies
  • Up to 1080p HD


One of the most popular Internet channels/content providers is Netflix.  Netflix has grown into the largest online streaming movie provider with over 29 million subscribers across the globe.  At $7.99/month, Netflix gives subscribers the ability to instantly watch unlimited movies and TV shows streaming over the internet on any device that streams directly from Netflix. Netflix does not keep up with network television series in real time. In other words, a new episode appearing on regular network television will not appear on Netflix the same day. Like Roku, Netflix would not replace network television for those who like to watch currently running networks series, but Netflix has come out with a number of programs and series that originally or only appear on Netflix.

Web Capable or Smart TVs

Smart TVs are yet another way people are saving money on monthly bills by unbundling. An Internet connected or smart TV gives users access to online movies, music, video, and many of the networks available on Roku. A smart TV is integrated with Internet features and capabilities focusing on online interactive media, and on-demand streaming media.

More and more families are purchasing smart TVs with Internet capabilities. More than 17 percent of consumers used smart TVs at of the end of 2012, and 22.7 percent will do so by the end of 2013, according to eMarketer. They expect the number of household with smart TVs to reach 40.2 million by 2016.

No matter which route you decide to take, it’s always good money management to look for ways to lower your monthly bills. How have you ‘cut the cord’ to save? Post a comment and let us know!    

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