Guides

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Hulu

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Hulu

This post may contain affiliate links. See the full disclosure here.

Happy fall everyone! My favorite time of year! The leaves are changing, it’s football season and all my favorite shows are back with new episodes! With all that awesome it also means the days are getting shorter and our routines are getting busier. That’s why today I want to introduce you to your new best friend for this TV watching season, Hulu.

Hulu is a premium streaming service that offers its subscribers access to episodes of their favorite TV series.

Hulu includes programming from 3 of the 4 major networks: NBC, Fox, and ABC. The great thing about using Hulu is that you can watch shows on-demand, whenever it’s most convenient for you, starting the next day after they air live. Hulu even lets you watch some shows on premium channels like Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Hulu has been around for a while but has really grown in the last few years.

They even produce their own content now, like The Mindy Project and The Path starring Aaron Paul.

You can stream Hulu through their app on Roku and Fire TV or a number of other ways that you can see on their website here. If you’ve been wanting to try out Hulu there’s no better time than now. Just follow my guide below as I show you how to get everything setup and running.

What you will need:

  1. Computer or Smart Phone
  2. Roku or Fire TV (which one’s right for you?)
  3. Internet Connection

Subscription Details:

  1. Cost: $7.99 per month (with commercials) or $11.99 per month (commercial free)
  2. Free Trial: 1 week
  3. Cancellation Policy: Cancel anytime

Setup and Usage

hulu1     hulu2

hulu3     hulu4

hulu5     hulu6

hulu7     hulu8

hulu9     hulu10

hulu11     hulu12

hulu13

My Final Thoughts

I really enjoy using Hulu. They have a really nice interface that makes it easy to find and favorite the shows I routinely watch. The streaming quality is really good as well. I’ve been the most impressed with the amount of content you get with your subscription, including cartoons for kids and even movies. The only thing I don’t particularly care for are the ads that take the place of commercials. It makes it a little difficult when trying to fast forward through part of a program, but I guess I could always up my subscription to the commercial-free option if it bothers me too much.

What does everyone think of Hulu? If you’ve used it before, what do you like or dislike? If not, are you thinking of giving it a try?

 

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Posted by Dan in Guides, Streaming, TV, 0 comments
The Cord Cutter’s Guide to Internet Service

The Cord Cutter’s Guide to Internet Service

This post may contain affiliate links. See the full disclosure here.

Let’s talk internet for a bit today. From my experience, one of the most overwhelming parts for Cord Cutters when making their transition to a cableless household is getting internet-only service setup. Most of that is due to uncertainty, but in reality, it’s not all that difficult once you have all the steps and resources laid out for you. So keep reading on as I break this process down for you.

These are the 4 main things to consider when looking for Internet-only service:

  1. Go with cable internet whenever possible
  2. Look for speeds around 25 Mbps
  3. Don’t sign a contract!
  4. Purchase your own equipment instead of renting

Cable over DSL

Cable internet is delivered to your home over the black coax cable that you typically plug into the back of your TV, where DSL internet is delivered over your existing phone line. Whenever available, I suggest choosing a cable internet provider over a DSL internet provider. Reason being, cable internet is generally faster and a better value. There are a lot of different cable internet providers across the United States (Comcast/Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter), but usually, there is only one or two that will service your residence. To figure out which ones are in your area and to see their current offers, I like searching allconnect.com.

Speed…Vroom Vroom!

Internet providers have packages that span across a large range of speeds, measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). They start out basic (“granny just wants to do emails”) and go all the way up to enterprise speeds (“I want to run a Google server in my basement”). To be a cord cutter and stream movies, shows and live TV you don’t need anything too crazy. It all really boils down to how many different things you think you will want to stream at a given time. If you only have one TV or live alone then you can get by with something towards the basic end of the spectrum. If you have a family of 6 and everyone likes to watch something different at the same time, then you should consider something a little faster in order to get the best experience. In general, I suggest going with something around 25 Mbps. This will work well for most people, giving you a reliable connection that is fast enough to handle 2 or 3 devices streaming at the same time while staying at a reasonable monthly payment.

Contracts = yuck

Traditionally, cable companies have used contracts to strap you into long term agreements, that you can’t get out of, then they slowly increase your monthly payment over that term until your paying an absurd amount for a service you just paid a fraction for a few months prior. When you are getting quotes from your local internet companies always ask for “No contract offers”. Tell them you aren’t interested in signing any contracts and just want a reliable internet connection at a fair price. Speaking of price, I have always found that it is best to do your homework ahead of time before you start getting quotes. The best way to check out the current deals is to search on slickdeals.net for the internet companies name plus “internet promotions” (ex. “Comcast internet promotions”). Click through to the end of each post to see the most recent discussions on internet offers people are receiving.

Provide your own equipment

One of the easiest ways to reduce your monthly internet bill and gain lots of negotiating power with these big internet companies is to buy your own equipment instead of renting theirs. Historically, whenever you signed up for cable service your provider included x number of “boxes” that go throughout your house. Some of these boxes provided the internet and WiFi connection to all of your devices. Along with those boxes came rental fees that jacked up your monthly bill and really added up over time. By purchasing your own modem and wireless router you can save a ton of money. This minimizes the amount of work the cable company needs to do in order to turn on your service since you have the ability to setup the equipment yourself. A lot of times this just involves the cable company “flipping a switch” and BAM! you’ve got internet flowing to your house. This eases the work on their end since they don’t have to send out a technician and also reduces your ties to that particular company since you don’t possess any of their equipment. You can walk away next month, with very little effort, and use your equipment with another provider if they don’t want to offer you a fair price. The setup really is easy, you can even find instructions like these on the cable company’s website: Comcast/Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter. As far as purchasing this equipment for yourself, here is what I recommend:

Cable Modem – this box converts the cable signal coming into your house to Ethernet internet

Go with the ARRIS SURFboard SB6141. This modem has the latest technology, so your investment will provide a blazing fast connection for years to come. Also, this guy works with all the major cable companies like Comcast/Xfinity, Cox, Charter, Time Warner.

Wireless Router – this box converts the internet to WiFi

The TP-LINK Archer C7 is widely considered the best WiFi router for most people. It can broadcast super fast WiFi throughout your typical multi-story home without any problems. This is my top choice for sure. However, if you only need to cover a small area, like a one bedroom apartment, then you could opt to go with something a little more basic like the TP-LINK N450 and save a little money.

       

I hope this information helps guide you in your search for Internet only service. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave a note in the comments below.

 

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Posted by Dan in Guides, Internet, Streaming, 0 comments
How to setup your TV for Over The Air channels

How to setup your TV for Over The Air channels

This post may contain affiliate links. See the full disclosure here.

Now that you have installed your HD antenna, if you missed that one be sure to checkout my article on How to watch local TV channels for free!, you need to setup your TV for receiving Over The Air channels. This varies from TV to TV, but the process is similar for all televisions. First, locate the Setup or Menu button on your TV’s remote control. Press the button to bring up your television’s Setup menu. Next, set your Input to either “Antenna” or “Air” as opposed to “Cable”. This option might be on the Setup menu main page or it might be hidden under another section like Channels, TV, or Broadcast.

The second step is to run a Channel Search or Auto Program. This will make your TV look for all the channels that it can get over your new antenna and save them for easy ‘flipping’ in the future. Again, this feature is accessed through your TV’s Setup menu. While this is running you will probably see your TV list off the channels as it finds them. Check out my video below to watch just how easy this is!

If you are curious as to what channels your TV will pick up, here are two ways to check:

  1. Go to www.tvfool.com and punch in your address. This will create a list of channels in your area, ordered by the tower’s distance from your house. Under “Netwk” is the channel name and under “(Virt)” is the channel number you will enter on your TV.
  2. Go to www.zap2it.com and enter your ZIP code. Then, under “Choose Your Provider” select “Local Broadcast (Antenna)”. This will create a guide or schedule for the channels in your area.

 

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Posted by Dan in Antenna, Free, Guides, 0 comments
How to watch local TV channels for free!

How to watch local TV channels for free!

This post may contain affiliate links. See the full disclosure here.

One of the first questions asked by new cord cutters is “What about local channels?” “How can I watch my prime time shows on the major networks?”. All of the major networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS and CW are all broadcast over the air by your local television affiliates which can be grabbed out of the air and displayed on your television for FREE using an HD antenna. This is the same way people watched TV back before the time of cable television, using good old “rabbit ears”. As technology has evolved we have switch from using rabbit ears getting staticy analog TV to HD antennas getting high quality HDTV. In addition to purchasing an HD antenna, you must make sure your television is HDTV compatible. If you’ve bought your TV within the last 10 years then its safe to say its HDTV compatible. If its a flat screen, you are probably good to go. If you are unsure, look for an “HDTV” logo on your tv set.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk antennas. There are many different types of HD antennas in today’s market, below are the two most popular and simple to install in my opinion.

Option 1

The quick and easy HD antenna that can be added to each of your TV’s is the Mohu Leaf 30 Paper-Thin Antenna. This thing is a flat piece of plastic, about this size of a sheet of paper, that hangs behind, above, on the back of or next to your TV. It does not need any power, so you don’t have to plug it into any wall outlets. All you do is hang it up and connect the 10 foot coax cable to the back of your television. This antenna has a 30 mile range, so as long as you live in a reasonably sized town, you should be able to rope in all of the major network channels.

Mohu Leaf 30 Paper-Thin Antenna | Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Option 2

The more advanced HD antenna that can supply all the TVs in your house is the Winegard Freevision HDTV Antenna. This is a large wire antenna that can be mounted in your attic or outside your house on a pole. It also does not need any power, so you don’t have to plug it into any wall outlets. All you do is mount it up and connect the provided coax cable into your house’s existing coax network. The best way to do this is to find where your existing coax comes together at a splitter, usually this is in your basement or inside a cable box on the side of your house, and connect the antenna to the input side of the splitter. This will surely require some investigating and troubleshooting, but is totally doable with a little patients. This antenna also has a 30 mile range, but since it can be mounted higher up (in your attic/on your house) it can pick up channels that option 1 might not be able to depending on where your house is located.

Winegard Freevision HDTV Antenna | Photo Credit: Amazon.com

So there you have it. My top two ways that you can get local TV channels, for free, in your own home. As always, please don’t hesitate to comment or ask any questions you have below.

 

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Posted by Dan in Antenna, Free, Guides, 0 comments