This may not be news to a lot of you, but in talking with friends I've found a lot of people don't know about these resources for some free entertainment. We haven't had cable since we've been married, and the interent is making that easier and easier all the time.
They all require an internet connection.
A lot of networks have some or all of their TV shows on-line to view for free. It's great, and on demand. The commercials are limited, but the annoying part is a lot of them will air the same commercial every commercial break. Cable networks offer this aswell. Currently we are watching a series on Sci Fi called "The Tin Man". I can't say if it was good or not b/c my MIL called two minutes into it. My dh said it was cool though. Anyway, it's worth checking out your faovirte network to see if they have shows you like on-line.
If you can't find you shows that way, check out www.youtube.com. You Tube is a site with all things video, from someone's baby learning to walk to bootlegged movies. Also, There is tons of stuff on there put on my media companies, etc (in other words it's not all bootlegged). You can watch music videos, listen to comedians, watch tv shows, clips of tv shows and movies. You Tube does have some undesirable material on it as well, but you have to have an account to access it. I think it has parental controls, I'm not sure how that works as it is not an issue in our home.
And then there is iTunes. You have to download the iTunes program from www.itunes.com. This is a media program created for ipods, but you absolutely do not need an ipod to enjoy it! Anything contained in your iTunes library can be played right there on your computer. Obviously, you can have the added benefit of putting it on your iPod, for portable enjoyment, but it is not required. You can upload music you already have, whether it was downloaded, or ripped from cds you have. They also have free songs and programs that can be downloaded. They feature a few songs every week you can download for free, and a lot of networks put free episodes of their tv shows on there to generate interest. There are also podcasts (which are basically radio shows you download, although some are from tv which include video) and free downloadable videos/tv shows. There are things like the nightly news, larry king live, and a special Sesame Street video podcast.
iTunes also has streaming radio. That means there are like tons and tons of radio channels (every genre you can think of) that just play that type of music all day. These are also totally free. You can even chose from 32, 64 or 128 kbpsto ensure the best quality for your connection, be it slow or fast.There are also a lot of other free radio sites on-line. Someone else could list those better than I could.
Obviously, they have tons of stuff on there that costs money. They have a free section, but it is tiny. There is tons more free stuff than what is listed there. I think companies pay to have their stuff listed there. The best way to find it is to search for things you like and see if it is free, etc. Maybe if there is interest we could start a thread listing cool free things we found on iTunes, or other on-line media.
Anyway, these are some options that are out there, and free! So get some homemade from scratch cocoa and curl up in front of your computer.....
If anyone has more questions feel free to ask, I didn't want to drone on and on and on.......
Also, a faster internet connection is optimal, but not required. I will say that it may be worth it to check and see if you can get a faster connection for little extra cost. I paid $10 for dial up for a long time, b/c I wasn't willing to spend the extra on dsl or cable. In our area one of the phone companies lowered their dsl prices to $17! Plus, I already have phone service with them, so they take off $5 per month for that. So I only spend an extra $2 for the much faster service. It's so great. I highly recommend looking into it. If they don't have it, tell them to get it! My MIL lives in the middle of nowhere. I told her phone company we wouldn't get internet for her house until it got a lot cheaper. They gave me a deal of $20/month, if I prepaid a year. That was her Christmas present. She spends a lot of time on-line, so it was totally worth it to her (when she starts paying the bill next year.)