(For those of you that would want to go that route, get a government coupon before the end of the year for a digital converter.)
For times when we do want to watch something on the dusty tube, we either watch movies bought at less than rental prices, borrowed or rented. We never rent new releases, we just wait until they hop off of that rack. Also anymore, libraries carry more than just educational videos. Check out your library's DVD section and you can probably find some of those on your list of want to sees and rent it for free. Also, church libraries usually stock lots of kid videos.
Or we use the internet.
The big channels, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CNN all have their currently running TV shows for streaming along with older series sometimes. You do have to have a fast internet connection.
I have been using Youtube a lot with the toddler. You can find all kinds of good short things. (I like short because I am uncomfortable with a toddler sitting watching TV for hours on end.) I have been able to introduce her to all kinds of different music styles for Music Videos abound on Youtube. She has watched many little Sesame Street snippets. And has seen all different types of dancing styles - she can imitate tapping, ballet, swing and others! And she can identify musical instruments from some of the videos I download for her.
Because my kiddo does ask to watch them many times, I download them to my real player on my desktop.
Here is a sampling of the varied youtube videos that my toddler watches over and over and has learned from:
Singing in Rain - Moses Supposes
West Coast Swing Champions
Hayley Westerna Pie Jesu
Corrs - Toss the Feathers
Sign Language Phonics Song
Jazz Ballet Scene
Where the Hell is Matt
Always Fair Weather - Tap Dancing Roller Skates
Paula Abdul Dancing with a Cartoon Opposites Attract
IMusici Vivaldi Summer Movement
Sign Language Song
Sesame Street Baker's Numbers
Robin Williams and Elmo