Prices for regular cable TV have surged over the years, and if you have not paid attention to your cable bill, perhaps it’s time for you to take a look at what you are being charged on a monthly basis. Some premium programming can literally cost you an arm and a leg to watch some of your favorite ongoing TV shows. While it may make sense to have a packaged deal for your cable, phone services, and internet, many households have now opted to watch TV without cable instead.
So what are some alternatives to cable TV that are quality programs available without going through your cable utility company or dish networks? If you are in the market to finally make that switch, where do you start? What options are out there?
Learning about all the different options on the market is crucial for you to make the right choice that is going to fit your lifestyle and your entertaining needs. Whether you are an extreme cable fan who prefer to watch live TV, or you prefer the benefits of watching your favorite TV drama at the leisure of your own time; there is an option here for you. The important thing is to weigh out all of your alternatives to cable TV for one that fits your budget as well as your families’ needs. Let us take a look at our favorite picks.
Paid Streaming Services
A natural alternative to cable TV that can traditionally cost upwards of $30-$50 a month is the concept of paid streaming services that can be subscribed to for as low as $8 a month. Here are our top choices to consider when you are shopping for the best-paid streaming services to watch TV without cable.
For as low as $7.99/month, you will have access to a fantastic selection of past TV seasons and movies at your fingertips. You will also have complete access to Netflix original content and recent favorites that you can’t wait to binge watch. Netflix is an alternative to cable TV that streams across many different streaming devices such as Roku TV, Apple TV, and many more. The only downside is that you will be behind on the latest drama on your favorite shows because newly-aired shows won’t be available until the entire season is done. So if you don’t mind potential spoilers from friends and coworkers or waiting, Netflix is the cheapest and best option for you.
Another very cheap way to watch TV without cable is to subscribe to Hulu Plus TV that can cost as low as $7.99/month. You will have access to the latest episodes on-demand and at your own leisure. If you missed your favorite episodes, you can easily access it or start complete series anytime you want. Hulu Plus is an alternative to cable TV that also works across many streaming devices such as Chromecast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Wi-Fi-enabled TVs. One thing to consider, however, are commercials. Although they are limited and there are only a few, if one of your sticking points are commercials, you may want to consider splurging an extra $4/month to select their commercial-free option.
As per CNN Money, 46% of American households have an Amazon Prime membership. If you are one of 54 million Amazon Prime members, you are in luck to take advantage of their Amazon Video included in your membership and watch TV without cable. At the cost of $99/year for Prime membership or $8.99/month, if you wish to just subscribe to their Amazon Video without a Prime membership, you will have access to a vast selection of on-demand mainstream entertainment along with access to some award-winning Amazon Original content. Amazon Video is a fantastic alternative to cable TV that works with hundreds of devices including Amazon Fire devices, Roku, and gaming consoles such as PlayStation Vue and Xbox One. The one downside to being aware of is that Amazon often mixes their premium paid content with their included content. Users often find that this alternative to cable TV is challenging as you may click on a show and begin watching before realizing that it is extra paid content that will be charged on top of your memberships.
If you are a huge fan of HBO as an alternative to cable TV, HBO now can give you unlimited access to all of HBO’s most binge-worthy shows that will work with many streaming devices such as tablets, smartphones, and Wi-Fi-enabled TVs. At the cost of $14.99/month, you will be paying a premium price for HBO’s best content. Albeit the smaller collection of shows, many users opt to combine HBO Now services with regular programming from Netflix or DirecTV as their option to watch TV without cable.
Sling TV is another option to watch TV without cable that is similar to Netflix and Hulu. However, it differs where unlike other streaming services, Sling TV allows you to view live TV shows instead of on-demand shows. It is an excellent alternative to cable TV or satellite TV shows. Packages range from $20 to $40 a month, this slightly cheaper option works with your internet connection instead. Although it is more helpful to your budget, Sling TV may not offer you access to your local channels.
AT&T offers another way to watch TV without cable through their DirecTV Now packages that can be streamed over the internet. This alternative to cable TV can be supported by many primary streaming devices such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. Many users have rated it as the best live TV streaming services being offered on the market. Depending on your current AT&T packages, the costs can go as low as $10/month for all of your regular content.
YouTube hasn't just filled with all user-generated content anymore. With the new selection of YouTube live streaming services, you can watch TV without cable through YouTube’s entertainment packages. The packages include just about every cable TV channel including ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS. At a price of $35 per month, YouTube TV works with a large selection of streaming devices include Wi-Fi ready TVs, Android devices, and Apple TV. If you are a regular YouTuber, you will easily be able to watch TV without cable no a platform that you are already familiar with.
Streaming services work with many families. However, you may prefer traditional methods to watch TV without cable through the use of antennas.
If you remember those rabbit ears that sat on top of your TV when you were a kid, HD antennas are mostly the same product that will allow you to watch TV without cable. All you need to do is to purchase the antenna and hook it up to your TV, then put the device somewhere near a window to enjoy the many free channels available in your local area.
It is important to note that this alternative to cable TV may require a few upfront costs and know-how for where to place your antenna. The placement of the antenna can affect the number of channels as well as the quality of the shows you receive. Do your research and look for your area to determine the type of HD antenna you show purchase. You may need a stronger antenna if you live in a remote location where the broadcast towers may not give you excellent access to watch TV without cable. It also matters whether you have an indoor antenna or outdoor antenna, depending on where you live and what type of dwelling you live in (apartment, townhome, or stand-alone house).
TV Channels Online
While streaming services may have become a prevalent method to watch TV without cable due to its low costs, other options could cost you less or nothing at all. If you have a regular internet connection, an alternative to cable TV is to watch your local channels online. This option allows you to view TV online from your laptop or computer. However, the availability of some channels may not be accessible to everyone. Some sites will allow live streaming in one area while being unavailable to other regions. Live cable services on big local stations such as CBS, NBC, and ABC is a great way to watch TV without cable if your area allows.
Another free option to watch TV without cable is to visit your local library for their selections of DVD movies that you can rent out for a week at a time. There may be wait lists, and the options may be older, but you can definitely bet on some classic favorites that will be available for you to enjoy as an alternative to cable TV.
What Will You Choose to Watch TV Without Cable Moving Forward?
There isn’t one option that is better than another to watch TV without cable. You may even find that choosing several of the options mentioned above will best fit your needs. Whatever option you end up picking, we hope that you have made a happy choice to getting your entertainment needs met.