QUESTION: How can a couple ready to downsize – DOWNSIZE their monthly expense for these necessary items: Internet and ability to record “TV”? At no cost. Stop laughing and breathe. We know we can plug laptops into the tv and get to all the entertainment we need via web. What I’m saying is we want to drop our monthly 170.00 cable bill to zero. This is all about saving money. Imagine I’m your favorite Aunt – and ACTION. – Marla C. from Indianapolis

ANSWER: Let me first state that the way you write your questions always cracks me up. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I can count on an “Aunt Marla” question to do the trick!

Unfortunately, I think what you are asking is to have your cake and eat it too. You want to have all of the premium programming and Internet service you are accustomed to for $170/month for free. And short of standing outside your neighbor’s house and watching television through their window (which I don’t recommend), you’re probably not going to get what you want without opening up your purse or wallet.

That being said, I can make some suggestions for you. If most of the television programs you watch are on the major, free networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, you can ditch your cable service and replace it with a good set of rabbit ears. That’s right I said rabbit ears. They’re all you need to pick up your local network stations in full and glorious high definition.

To record these shows, consider a free or open source DVR system like Windows Media Center, BeyondTV or MythTV. Or do your own Google search for open source DVR and pick another one you like.

MythTV Features

I know you already mentioned this in your question, but it’s worth repeating. Most of the television programming today can be viewed online, either through the network’s website or through services like Hulu or Netflix.

Which leads us to your desire to cut your Internet bill. If you plan on eliminating your Internet bill then you can forget about viewing anything online. But if is absolutely has to be done, your best bet is to call around to other Internet service providers to see what the lowest service plan you can get is. You’ll sacrifice speed but you’ll save money.

It’s either that, or get yourself a nice laptop and head to your local coffee shop every morning to borrow their free Wi-Fi while catching up on your favorite shows.

I’d love to hear what you end up doing so if you think of it, drop me another line and let me know what you came up with. I’m sure other readers would benefit from your solution as well.

Meanwhile, if any readers have their own suggestions for Marla, leave them as a comment below.

Do you have a question for Mr. Noobie®? Submit your question here.

Patric Welch

Patric Welch founded Noobie, Inc. in 2006 to help others effectively choose and use technologies to enhance their work and lives. The catchy company name earned Welch the name of Mr. Noobie®, but, in reality, Welch is an experienced and professional techie. Unlike most techies, Welch evaluates emerging technologies from a noobie’s perspective and provides technology education for all skill levels in a friendly, non-threatening way.

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