Practical Saver: Cheap alternatives to costly cable abound

Cable television is loaded with choices to satisfy most viewers' entertainment needs. But cable TV is not the only way to view your favorite movies and programs. Despite our family not having cable television for more than 15 years, we still watch all of the movies and television series we want whenever we want. How do we watch all of our favorite shows without cable or even without basic television reception? Fortunately, there are numerous economical options to watch movies and television shows on your own timetable that don't involve having cable TV.

Redbox is a wonderfully convenient movie rental service that can be found across the Prescott area, as well as in 37,000 boxes across the country. Redbox kiosks are actually red-colored machines that can be found inside grocery stores, Walmart locations, and outside convenience stores. At these boxes, customers rent DVDs for $1.20 per day and games for as little as $2 per day. The best part is that the movies can be returned to any Redbox location across the country, so these rentals are fabulous for road trips. Pick up a movie in Arizona and drop it at a Redbox in Texas. Redbox often offers discount rental codes as well. To be notified of the discounts, text SIGNUP to 727272. You can also visit Redbox.com to sign up for email notifications.

Teenagers typically don't want to watch "Finding Nemo" anymore, but would rather watch an action movie. Unfortunately, action flicks are often bombarded with inappropriate language and situations. One way that you can filter the content on a DVD is by using a special DVD player and subscribing to a service called Clear Play. The DVD player is updated through programming on a USB FilterStick that silences bad words, violent scenes, and sexual content. The annual fee of approximately $65 gives you access to codes that enable you to watch DVDs with certain content (you select the level) filtered out. It is an incredibly valuable service, especially when you have teenagers. To learn more, purchase a Clear Play DVD player, and to subscribe to the service, go to ClearPlay.com.

Netflix is another fabulous service that offers a streaming plan for $7.99, plus tax, per month. Netflix is watched by "streaming" the show from the internet to your game console, computer or television. Netflix has movies that you can instantly download, but even more exciting is the fact that it offers hundreds of television series as well. There are no commercials on Netflix, so it is possible to watch and hour episode of "Psych," "CSI," or "Jericho" in 42 minutes. There are many networks like Discovery Channel and TLC that also offer their programs on Netflix. The Netflix service is paid monthly, with no long-term commitment. Go to Netflix.com for more information. The drawback to watching movies on Netflix, however, is th e inability to filter content with the Clear Play service. Since Netflix movies are streamed in through the internet, and not with an actual DVD, they cannot to be filtered using the Clear Play filtering system.

One of the drawbacks to watching television series on Netflix is getting hooked on a series and being unable to continue to watch the most recent seasons since they are not yet available on Netflix. For example, there may be five seasons of "Psych" available on Netflix, but there are newer seasons already recorded and in circulation. No worries. There is a free website that makes newer seasons available. Investigate Megashare.com for additional episodes of your favorite television program. The format is a little different, and there may be advertisements, but it is an excellent option for when you really want to know what happens in the next season. You can also go directly to www.History.com/videos and www.AETV.com/shows to watch episodes from History Channel and A&E on your computer.

If you have ideas or information about other entertainment services, please email me at practicalsaver@yahoo.com.

Kara's website www.PracticalSaver.com helps make shopping simple and savings possible.