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Technically Speaking: Watching TV isn’t what it used to be

Is it time to cut the cord? No, I don’t mean the phone cord, but the television cord, or cable to be more precise. Although you can now have access to hundreds of cable channels, can you always find something you like? How can your Internet provider enhance the way you use your TV?

Did you know that the same cables that bring hundreds of new channels to your TV also bring high speed Internet to your home computer? Yup. The technology that lets you watch a Netflix movie on your computer also allows you to access the same ‘streaming video’ through your TV.

Deciding whether to cut the cable depends a lot on your viewing preferences and your budget. Most people want both cable TV access and Internet access, which means paying for two services (for example, Time Warner Cable plus Time Warner Internet or a Road Runner connection). Be sure you know how much you are paying for these services, especially if your provider is offering a special price on ‘bundling’ two or more services together — it might be more expensive than you think.

For video streaming services like Netflix or Hulu you will need to have a computer or some other device to send the signal to the TV. Most major video game systems like the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or Wii now have the ability to do this. Many of the newest Blu-ray players now also come with the ability to stream these services to your TV when connected to your Internet connection. Finally, you can also buy devices from companies such as Apple (Apple TV), Sony (Google TV) or Roku, which sit next to your TV (like a cable box would normally do) and stream these services. With these devices, you just need an Internet connection and a connection to your TV.

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