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Staying pop culture savvy and footing the cable bill

Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix

Every time I get on the phone with my Internet provider, I’m always pleasantly offered to upgrade with a cable package. How sweet, they offer me a deal that charges double what I pay monthly for awful Internet service. Of course, I turn them down with the same excuses each time: college student who’s never home, rarely turning on the TV and simply not having the money — the first two of which are complete Oscar-Mayer-copyrighted bologna. Truly, I have discovered the loophole I can only hope a majority of college students have, too: the art of Netflix, Hulu, and an HDMI cable.

Cable and satellite providers should be obsolete to a college student. We’re constantly bustling around, never home for when the show we drool over is actually on and have so much going on that commercial breaks are never long enough. The beauty of our troubles comes from the geniuses that gave us another outlet for our pop culture fix.

The first of which is the undefeated Netflix. Originally combatting Blockbuster for convenient movie rentals, the day these guys created the Unlimited Streaming option was the day that this reporter got on board. For $7.99 per month, subscribers are unleashed into the beautiful library of Emmy-winning TV series, timeless films and cult classics. If you are so inclined, you can package it with mail-order rentals, but with the following two options, we should laugh at those who do.

Hulu covers Netflix’s butt when it comes to current TV. Sure, I just updated myself on the first three seasons of “Breaking Bad,” conquered “Mad Men” and pumped myself up for the new premiere of “Arrested Development,” but where’s my daily dose of John Stewart, my weekly fix on “Saturday Night Live” or “Modern Family”? Hulu, that’s where.

Sure, you have to deal with commercials, but they’re 90-seconds long at most. Plus, there’s the pause button: The most elegant tool you can get for free when you’re giving yourself a break from a paper or God-awful calculus problem.

There is a dark side to these two corporate entities, however. In their attempt to slowly weasel their way into your pockets a bit more, Hulu has gone Plus and Netflix has divided their packages, limiting your viewing. Hulu has seemingly said, “You can pay a little more to watch it the day after, right? No? Well, then I guess you’re waiting five more days for that recent episode,” while Netflix has exclaimed, “Unlimited to our choosing! You’re going to have to pay up if you want every movie out there.” So we must retaliate and go a little dark ourselves. In comes — or any other pirate-streamed sites. took a hiatus over the summer, but came back recently with the new URL ready and raring to go. Compiling all the pirated TV shows and movies and their sources into one place, you simply type in a title and it gifts you with four to 20 sites where you can watch that episode or movie on. With entire series up to date, my “Breaking Bad” addiction didn’t stop where Netflix forced me to; it flourished into the ability to watch seasons four and five whenever I want. Sorry, AMC, I can’t afford the advanced package you’re shoved into.

Sure, you can argue that Cox Communications is advertising $29.99 for the advanced cable package, but expect a laugh in return. Those gimmicks last for six months and then it’s back to almost $70 per month for you. And with Internet alone, you’d be saving $23-$60 depending on your taste for cable deals.

As students, we’re already giving an arm and a leg to the man with college tuition, rent, electricity, Internet and groceries. Why do the little joys in life have to add to the pain?


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