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Internet Sites Like Hulu And Netflix Help Save On Cable

BOSTON (CBS) - Rob and Heather Conroy of Framingham just celebrated an anniversary.  They've now been paying less for TV for a year.

"It's been a really easy transition," said Heather.

They still watch shows they love, like NCIS, but the savings are the best part.  "It's huge," said Rob.  "When you added on the cable box, and then to get HD is an extra fee when you can get all the broadcasters over the air in HD.  Right there, that was $20 on top of the regular cable bill just wiped away."

If you're willing to use a computer and an antenna, the number of programming choices is exploding.

Steve Giaquinto, a salesman at Percy's in Worcester, spends a lot of time explaining all those programming options today.

"If you download Netflix, you pay about $8 a month.  They have a full data base of movies, and what you do is stream movies right off their website onto your TV," he explained.

Websites like Hulu compile many of the popular shows.  Their basic service is free, but you often have to wait a day or two to access a program.

Hulu Plus turns shows around faster, but costs $8 a month.  That is the service the Conroy family uses.   "Occasionally, if there is something that we can't get anyplace else, we will buy it on iTunes and we will hook up our iPod to our TV," said Rob.

Using these types of services with high speed Internet, and an HD antenna for free access to networks like CBS, and the savings can really add up.

"We are talking hundreds of dollars annually, you know $70-$80 a month for the average person," added Giaquinto.

While any family budget would welcome that windfall, Emerson College professor David Gerzof Richard says there are some important considerations.

"The first question you want to ask is how quickly do I need to see the content? On cable, you get it when it broadcasts.  Can you wait?" asked Gerzof Richard.

"It's really difficult with these platforms to be able to get live sports.  There is a lot of licensing involved here," added Gerzof Richard.

These are small trade-offs for the Conroys.  They're happy with the choices they have, and even happier with the savings.

"That's formula for a baby, or that's a good shop at Target," said Heather.

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