Entertainment has never been more readily available than before. You still have the staples, such as movie theaters, concerts and professional sports experiences. Today's consumers don't have the same restrictions when it comes to getting their favorite media, especially while at home.
With computers, flat screen televisions and streaming services, home entertainment has undergone a drastic innovation. People are starting to ditch cable subscriptions and opt for Internet-based options, such as Netflix. By paying a flat monthly fee, you get a large collection of movies, old television shows and new, critically acclaimed programming. The reasoning is cable packages are too expensive and contain channels that go unwatched, according to Bankrate.
Those who ditch cable are known as cord-cutters, and they're changing the way media companies operate. However, cord-cutters have to be careful when it comes to picking the services they want. Without a good overview of what you type of entertainment you want, monthly subscriptions can quickly add up, become more expensive than cable and drain a bank account. As always, budgeting can't be forgotten.
This category contains the services you've identified as crucial to your entertainment needs. First things first: You'll need an Internet package. Check your area for local service providers, compare rates and pay particular attention to megabits-per-second. You'll generally want a higher speed, but faster speeds also cost more. You should be set with a speed in the 10 to 25 mbps range. Your monthly Internet bill will likely be the most expensive monthly obligation, but costs will vary depending where you're located and any promotional offers.
If you want a large catalog of viewing options and premium content, look no further than Netflix. A monthly subscription will cost $9.99 and you can watch from your computer, TV, video game console, tablet, smartphone and dedicated streaming device.
Next up is music, something just about everyone enjoys. The music industry has been an area where many startups have caused disruption. Gone are the days of buying full albums and single tracks for $0.99. Instead, services such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Play and Apple Music offer unlimited streaming, all for approximately $10 a month. All of these services will work on numerous devices with the ability to download tracks for those instances when you are riding the subway or have no Wi-Fi connection.
Finally, you'll want to look into purchasing a high definition TV antenna. By mounting this inside your house, or on the roof, you'll be able to watch the local channels whenever you need to.
For your consideration
Anything that you don't deem essential should fall under this category. These can be other subscription based services, or gadgets, such as a Roku streaming device. Some services you may desire but don't necessarily need may include HBO Now, Showtime Anytime and Hulu Plus. These services are catered toward users who are fans of the latest hit television shows and don't want want to wait minimal time before watching. To help alleviate monthly costs, you may find it beneficial to only subscribe during the ongoing season and renew when the shows start up again.
Accessories exist to help you easily manage all your subscriptions and watch on your television. These include Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV. Most cost under $100 and provide many benefits, but aren't always necessary for entertainment purposes.
The Internet has quickly become the dominant platform for media consumption. This is a benefit for consumers, because slowly but surely they've been able to pick and choose what to pay for while saving money. This allows you to still watch your movies and listen to your favorite music at low monthly costs with no long-term contracts.