A visit to any TV related forum will show that, while the economy is reportedly improving, British households are still cutting their outgoings and growing numbers are looking to do so by axing their pay-TV subscription.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks people raise is the loss of recording once their subscription is switched off.
A few years ago the obvious advice would have been to buy a Freeview or Freesat digital recorder (PVR) to replace their Virgin Media or Sky set top box.
But the falling prices of Smart TVs – TVs which connect to the internet and include access to services such as iPlayer and 4oD so you can watch shows you missed without having to record them – means this isn’t always the best option.
Depending on the shows you watch and the size of screen you want, upgrading your existing TV to a Smart TV may be better value than buying a separate PVR, especially when you consider the long-term electricity savings from reducing the number of devices you’re running.
A decent digital recorder will cost in the region of £200 while a large screen Smart TV from major brands – including Hitachi and Philips – can now be had for just an extra £50-£100.
If you’re looking for a smaller set for your bedroom it’s even possible to buy a big name Smart TV for less than a PVR.
And, if you’re not a fussed about the name on the front, you can get a lot more screen size for your pound by going for a high street own brand which often offer the identical features as the more expensive big brand models.
There are some caveats – pretty all Smart TVs include BBC iPlayer which means you’ll be able to catch Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who debut should you be out on August 23rd, but only specific brands offer access to ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5.
It’s a good idea to list the programmes you watch and which channels they’re on to ensure your chosen set has the right apps for you.
In addition to catch-up content, Smart TVs offer access to optional subscription services such as Netflix – so you can watch the big US boxsets for less than a standard TV subscription – and free content including Vevo, a huge collection of music videos including the latest hits from the world’s biggest bands and acts.
Some models also include apps for Twitter and Flickr and for the BBC’s Connected Red Button service which gives expanded coverage of major events such as the Commonwealth games and BBC Proms.
Many of these are features which the pay-TV firms lack so you could even find that you increase the content available to you while cutting your bill.