Break Free From Traditional Service Providers

Until lately, competition in the world of service providers was so little that they didn’t need to require additional efforts to gain customers. Companies providing services like cable networks, landline phones, mobile devices, internet service provider and even satellite radios have exclusive control with their prices and they are the only one who can manipulate rate of fees. It’s either pay the huge price to avail the service or just live without it. But that was before…

Their reign has come to an end. Web-based services and technologies are now being introduced worldwide and this will surely end the happy days of monopolistic companies. Web-based services cost really low compared to traditional service providers and some are even free.

Almost all of the services we pay each month are now offered in the internet. Online streaming of movies and television programs are replacing the need for cable networks. Voice over Internet Protocol of generally known as VoIP is now being adopted by consumers to supplant landlines phones. Online fax services defeating the manual way. Satellite radios were dethroned by online radios, and the list goes on.

Pay Online Streaming Websites instead of a Cable Network

Why is online streaming better than cable televisions? Isn’t it enough reason that streaming sites allow customers to pay per movie watched or with monthly or annual fee which is absolute smaller than what cable networks ask for their service. Moreover, online streaming gives viewers control on what movies or programs they want to watch compared to cable movies offering the same shows. Even if you prefer premium shows, no worries because almost everything can be found in the web. Aside from that, there are a lot of free streaming sites giving quality programs without requiring a cent.

Here are some of pay-per-show websites:  Amazon VOD, Apple iTunes, Blockbuster On Demand, Jaman and Zune Marketplace and a lot more, offering thousands of movies and programs.

Online streaming fees vary but usually present options. Usually, customers can watch unlimited movies in a day which only costs $3 to $4. The rate for premium programs such as HBO requires more or less $30 to $40 for a whole season of episodes. Networks shows are about $10.

It might sound pricy and you might prefer buying DVD’s but if you will take time to add up the price of each disc which does not usually contains complete episodes for a season plus the number of movies you will probably watch, the total will be as much as half the amount you pay for your cable provider.

If you prefer watching on a portable media player, available options are iTunes for iPhone and iPod devices or Zune Marketplace foe Zune compatibility. Unfortunately, other online movie stores do not support portable media players. At least, you can still watch the programs in your televisions if you have an Xbox 360 or Apple TV.

Another good online streaming source is Netflix. It has the cheapest price for monthly subscription which amounts to $8.99 only. Netflix showcases thousands of movies and television programs. Aside from streaming from your computer, Netflix can be watched in your own living rooms without needing a computer through Xbox 360, TiVo, PS3, Roku compatible devices. Other online streaming sites that are compatible on most of the mentioned hardware devices are Blockbuster, Jaman and Amazon. Just check the support pages of your television and hardware before installing.

Other than that, keep your eyes open for the opening of streaming sites such as Sezmi service and Boxee Box. These are promising sites that will also offer internet and hardware compatible streaming. Sezmi, which will be introduced this year, promised to include live sports and local programs in its library.

Find Free TV Programs and Movies

There are also a lot of free to watch sites, Hulu is an example. Although, it is unsure if the site will be a paid streaming site one day. Most of the recent shows can be found in the website, but some old programs lack some episodes or season. But this is a free site so we should not be complaining.

Must watched movies include All the King’s Men, Spartacus and Dirty Work.

Other suggested free streaming sites aside from Hulu are Comcast Fancast, Crackle and the popular YouTube also offers TV programs and movies. If there is a program that you are unable to find in these websites, try visiting the official site of the show.

Websites which offer live sports are scarce but here are a few sites for sport fanatics: MLB.com, a pay to watch streaming site that offers live baseball shows. Another site that has a wide range of sports programs is Justin.tv. And even if it is unauthorized, many people pay to watch live sport streams in their local stations.

But the cheapest of all, is no other than an antennae. You only need a television with an HD or PC TV-tuner. Programs are absolutely of high quality and often better than cable feeds.

A Wise Alternative for Landline Phones and Fax Machines

Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is now emerging and replacing the traditional landline phones. If you have a fast internet connection, you can avail the service through VoIP phone companies. Calls can be made through your computer, but better if you will use a VoIP handset. The device works by connecting with Wi-Fi or Ethernet networks.

There are also web programs that offer VoIP services, an example is Skype. With Skype, member-to-member call is free while real phone calls cost 2 cents per minute. Traditional landlines can even call you in Skype. Other than Skype, there are a few sites that offer the same service.

RingCentral is another program that offers call services. The program has some outstanding features and is very versatile. A complete RingCentral package includes local phone number for incoming calls, a toll-free number and fax line for incoming calls and messages. These functions make RingCentral stand out from other internet call service provider. RingCentral can also send the incoming calls wherever you want it; it can be to a phone, a mobile line, and a VoIP handset or in any place you want receive the call. And if ever you are unable to receive the call, it can be transferred to a voice mail.

Fax services are also offered in most RingCentral plans or if it is the only service you want to avail, you can get it for $8 each month. You can send and receive fax messages through your e-mail account. RingCentral fax service is really cost-effective compared to traditional fax machines. Other firms that sell fax services are eFax, Mbox and MyFax, all priced with the same rate.

Freedom from Wireless Phone Services

Most mobile devices do not allow users to change wireless carriers. When a person avails a handset, it is most certain that the device is already paired with a certain carrier and switching providers are almost impossible because each carriers use a different networking technologies.

Network carriers such as T-Mobile and AT&T depends on GSM networks; Sprint relies on CDMA; and Verizon usually uses CDMA, but the carrier also offers support for dual-mode mobile phones to use GSM network. The popular iPhone, for example, can never be used with a Sprint network even if it is unlocked. Users can always ask support from network carriers if ever they want to switch, but not all devices can be enabled.

Apple’s iPhone is a smartphone depending on GSM network. The handset can be unlocked and to change network, the owner needs to swap his GSM SIM with the desired provider.

If you want to be free from your wireless phone bills, an option is to use VoIP in Wi-Fi enabled spots. VoIP applications such as Fring work and Truphone can work in Blackberrys, Android handsets, iPhones and even in iPod media devices. A headset microphone is a necessary component for each of these players. Of course, it is different from traditional wireless networks, but is still a good alternative.

Even without a handset, a person can also send text messages through instant messenger applications. This web service is free and instead of subscribing to voice-mail transcription, you can avail the same service through web-based voice-mail applications such as YouMail, SpinVox, PhoneTag or Google Voice.

Review Internet Service Providers

Review customer reports on different broadband options before subscribing. Often, you will find a local internet service provider in your area which offers the best price compared to bigger internet service providers.

For some areas, a person can avail free connection through Wi-Fi enabled spots. To know if a place has a Wi-Fi, run inSSiDer application in your computer. And if you don’t usually use your internet, you can just ask favors from your friends or just rent in a café. If your neighbor has connection, you can ask him if he can unlock the signal so you too can avail the service, or you can share fees for a single internet subscription.

Wi-Fi coverage from Boingo and T-Mobile are frequent in airports so you’re most likely to find a free network near the area. However, if you need constant connection, Sprint and Verizon offers EvDO USB modem for a fair price.

To check if a place has Wi-Fi coverage, you can check websites like WeFi, Jwire and Hotspotr.

But if you need connection most of the time, a better choice is subscribing to contract internet service offered by Verizon or Sprint where you can either choose a short or long term service. There are also USB modems that can be connected to laptop or desktop which you can avail in a cheaper price than wired internet service. Some internet service providers also offer mobile phones as part of the subscription. MiFi, a portable router that can turn mobile connection to Wi-Fi is also a wise choice.

Reconsider Satellite Radio Subscription

Satellite radio monthly subscription is a waste of money if you only listen for a period of time. Try availing the same service in your computer or even in a smartphone through programs like Last.fm, Pandora or Slacker.

A free radio website is Last.fm, whereas the others require fees. You can program the music according to your liking. You can adjust the playlist with whatever music or musician you prefer.

There are also proposition on creating the same services for mobile phones. The mobile version will replace traditional car radios by streaming music from the smartphone to the car. The smartphone to car music streaming will depend on 3G coverage. With Slacker Radio, you can cache your favorite songs to your smartphones or any compatible device so music streaming can still be possible even without internet coverage.

Look for Better Offers or Just Stop Subscribing

For a cost-effective living, stop subscribing to services that you don’t really need. Of course, there are some services that we can’t live without, but managing to cut even one service will certainly make a difference in your monthly bill. It is also wise to ask for discounts when availing services. More companies are now offering budget plans to suit different needs of consumers.

Before availing a service, check for good deals and different rates. You will eventually find a better provider by reviewing companies and reading customer feedbacks. Ask opinions about a service from your friends and neighbors.

Pay only for the services that you need the most and disregard other offers. Choose wisely for a better living.

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