New Hardware, Software Help TV Viewers Cut the Old Cable Cords

1 - New Hardware, Software Help TV Viewers Cut the Old Cable Cords
2 - The Dish Sling TV Could Be a Game-Changer
3 - Netflix Is a Major Change-Agent
4 - Hulu Plus Has Network Backing
5 - Amazon Expanding Its Instant Video Service
6 - The Apple TV Continues to Make a Move
7 - CBS Goes for Stand-Alone Streaming
8 - NBC Pushes for Cord-Cutters
9 - HBO Go Breaks the Tie With Cable
10 - Google's Chromecast Turns Dumb TVs into Smart TVs
11 - Roku Remains a Leader in the Instant Video Marketplace
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New Hardware, Software Help TV Viewers Cut the Old Cable Cords

by Don Reisinger

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The Dish Sling TV Could Be a Game-Changer

The Sling TV, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, is arguably one of the most exciting services yet for cord-cutters. The service, which will cost $20 a month, will allow users to watch live television, including sports, cable shows, and news, on a wide variety of devices. In addition, the service comes with the ability to rewind, pause and fast-forward shows, and go back three days to watch certain programming. There's even on-demand service.

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Netflix Is a Major Change-Agent

It's hard to talk about the issues traditional television is facing without acknowledging the profound impact Netflix has had on that revolution. Netflix has a wide variety of movies and television shows, as well as its own original content. The company's service can be considered both a competitor to traditional satellite and cable (though it doesn't have live TV) and on-demand programming. It's a real winner.

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Hulu Plus Has Network Backing

Hulu Plus has grown in popularity over time because of its network backing. Several major networks, including NBC and Fox, provide their recently aired shows to Hulu Plus subscribers, giving cord-cutters the opportunity to stay up-to-date on their favorite shows without much delay after the premiere. In addition, Hulu Plus has movies and documentaries, which makes it a nice option for a lazy Friday night.

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Amazon Expanding Its Instant Video Service

Amazon has made a major move into the cord-cutting space. The company offers its Prime Instant Video, as well as on-demand services for those who want to download (or rent) movies. In addition, Amazon has a Fire TV set-top box that streams programming from the company's own services, as well as Netflix, Hulu Plus and others. It's a great alternative to traditional television programming.

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The Apple TV Continues to Make a Move

Apple is another player in the entertainment space, offering both hardware and software solutions. Apple TV lets viewers rent and buy movies and television shows, including recently aired programming. It also provides access to a library of older movies and shows. The Apple TV includes access to other apps, including Netflix and HBO Go.

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CBS Goes for Stand-Alone Streaming

CBS made a major announcement last year, saying that it would provide a direct-to-consumer service that will allow users to watch its programming for $5.99 per month. The service, called CBS All Access, will offer full seasons of current shows, and will air the latest episodes a day after they air on traditional channels. CBS won't be offering NFL games with the package, but the sheer amount of shows it will be making available should appeal to users.

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NBC Pushes for Cord-Cutters

NBC on Dec. 16 announced a new service, similar to CBS that would allow its users to stream live programming from it networks to PCs. The service will provide users access to programming on NBC, its cable networks and affiliates. Unlike CBS' offer, which is available for $5.99 per month, NBC is offering its TV Everywhere solution for free. However, it'll only be available to those who can prove they already have a pay-TV subscription that includes NBC networks.

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HBO Go Breaks the Tie With Cable

HBO Go has been providing its streaming programming to users for a while, but that's only true for those who are paying for it through a provider right now. HBO announced last year, however, that it will be offering a stand-alone service that will bring all of its programs to users without requiring them to have an HBO subscription through a cable or satellite provider. That's big news and could attract many cord-cutters.

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Google's Chromecast Turns Dumb TVs into Smart TVs

The Google Chromecast is an important offering in the home-entertainment space. The device is a dongle that plugs into a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port and allows users to stream content over their home WiFi network. Chromecast offers a wide range of apps, including Netflix, but it's an effective and cheap tool for turning dumb TVs into Smart TVs.

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Roku Remains a Leader in the Instant Video Marketplace

Roku has been offering set-top boxes for years and now the company offers an HDMI dongle similar to the Chromecast. The major selling point for Roku, however, is its software. The company has, at last count, more than 1,800 channels available that allow users to stream all kinds of content to the devices. The "channels," which are really just apps, include everything from Netflix to Amazon Instant Video to obscure food channels you've never heard of.

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