Understanding the Best Options in Home Entertainment

It used to be you had just a few simple channels on the T.V. Then cable came along and we suddenly had hundreds. Satellite TV also gave us more choices. Services began to expand their options (now reaching well over a hundred channels). Now you have all those online options.

There are times when you’re spending more time trying to find something to watch than watching the show or film. It’s very frustrating and becomes doubly so when you’re trying to find something for the kids.
Dump on the fact that the price of cable, broadband, and the tech we use to view this media continues to splinter in every which direction, and it can be easy to get a little confused.

My mission, with this post, is to help you navigate the options and hopefully give you enough insight to find the entertainment option that gives you the best bang for your buck.

Let’s Start with the Big Picture
There are generally three main items you’ll find when checking out the providers:

  • TV
  • Broadband
  • Phone

Companies love to bundle their services and by doing so you generally get a better deal.

You can get better deals; AT&T U-Verse offers coupon discounts for many of their services which is a great way to cut down the overall cost of their services.

Overall, it depends on what you need in the home. If you’re the type of family that loves watching their sitcoms, sports, and regular shows then the basic TV option should suffice. You may or may not need a phone if you all have cell phones. But the one item you definitely want to include is fast broadband.

If you get anything from your provider just be sure that you get fast access to the Internet because from there you can start using online services for all your entertainment and at that point you can really start cutting the costs.

The Options
I’m a techie, which means I love checking out the new gadgets. These last few years I’ve taken a focus on living room entertainment.

Combining a streaming video service with a set-top box (for the TV) gives you a ton of flexibility on what type of entertainment you can view (and sometimes interact with). For those who want the absolute basics I would recommend:

  • A set top box such as a Roku or Apple TV
  • Subscription to either Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, or Hulu+

These set top boxes cost less than $100 and can be found at most retail chains (or ordered online). Services like Netflix and Hulu+ cost less than $10 a month. Amazon Instant Video is packaged within their Prime option, which is about $80 a year but you also get 2-day shipping, access to ebooks, and their streaming video service.

Setting up these devices are very easy, too. You plug in a few cords, add your Wi-Fi, input your streaming video service account, and you’re good to go.

Bang for Your Buck
You might be saying “okay, what is this going to cost me and is it worth it?” Well, from someone that’s been doing all of this streaming video and cord cutting for the last few years, I can give you a handful of awesome tips:

  • Many set top boxes have additional apps such as educational games, news feeds from other countries, music channels, and more.
  • Once you’re subscribed to a service, you can use it on many different devices like a tablet, phone, or video game system. You can also share your account with family members, which will cut down their costs, too!
  • The fast broadband you got to support the entertainment really changes the way you use the Web. Browsing is lightning fast, which is great for sites like YouTube, reading the news, chatting with friends/family, and playing online games.

All in all, there are many options when you’re looking at entertainment but all you really need to do to get the best bang for your buck is to decide what you really need or want and then find the right device/service to facilitate.

I don’t think you’ll have any problem. You’ll love it, your kids will love it, and everyone will be happy and entertained.