Cable prices increase on a regular basis. As a result, you’re probably spending too much money on TV shows and movies. And with so many other options in addition to cable, you don’t need to spend so much on cable television.
It’s worthwhile to look into alternatives that won't break the bank, while still giving you the option to enjoy your favorite shows, movies, channels, etc. And because you’re cutting cable by using a streaming service, you have access to “originals” – amazing shows you can’t access with regular cable.
In this article, we’ll review a few FAQ, plus 12 amazing alternatives to cable television.
How Much Can I Save with Cable Alternatives?
The average cable bill is roughly $80-100 a month. This can potentially be a waste, depending on how often you enjoy television.
And even if you spend hours a day watching television, you shouldn't spend so much money on something way over-priced. Instead, you can use other options – alternatives that are either free or offer a low-cost subscription.
Plus, as a result, you’ll have extra cash for other, more important things.
Let’s get started on the 12 ultimate alternatives to cable television!
Best Alternatives to Cable Television
One of the less costly alternatives to cable is Hulu.
With Hulu’s streaming service, there are original shows and movies, as well as entertainment from various channels and cable networks. And it doesn’t take long for TV show episodes to appear on Hulu after they air – typically 24-48 hours.
The standard service is $6 a month. However, a lot of ads are included with that low price. You can upgrade your account to avoid them. This will, of course, cost more – $12 a month – but it’s worth it if you want to enjoy your shows without ads popping up every 10 minutes.
Additionally, Hulu offers a live TV option. The plan starts at approximately $40 a month. This allows you to watch a show at the same time as its regular air time on TV – at a much lower cost than basic cable.
2. Sling TV
Sling TV is probably one of the most cable-like services offered online. The two are very similar in how they operate, but very different in how much they cost.
Sling TV is equipped with 30 channels, including popular ones, such as Disney Channel. You can get Sling TV for approximately $20/month. You can pay more for additional channel add-ons.
Netflix is one of the biggest names, if not the biggest, when it comes to streaming services. This makes sense, as Netflix is affordable and accessible on basically any device with internet access.
The service offers thousands of shows and movies, some of which are originals only available via Netflix.
There are various plans you can choose from. For example, pricing will differ if:
- The service is just for you
- The service is for you + your family/friends
- You are a student
If multiple people are watching on one account, you can create numerous profiles. This way, you’re able to customize Netflix while keeping your favorite shows separate from everyone else’s. And the best part is – every subscription comes without commercials.
4. Television Channels Online
The majority of networks and channels responsible for creating your favorite shows typically offer recently aired episodes online. However, you might need to wait a bit after its air date to see it online. And once it’s up for viewing, it probably won’t be up for long.
Some examples of networks and channels that post episodes online:
Most of the time, it’s free to access these shows. Other times, you might need to pay for a subscription. For example, CBS has an “All Access” plan for $6 a month.
If you have a Smart TV, you’re likely able to download the app for whatever network you want to watch.
If you enjoy watching videos, you probably use YouTube. YouTube is a generally free platform. However, you also have the option to pay for a subscription called YouTube Premium.
YouTube Premium, which costs about $12 a month, allows you to watch YouTube “originals”, along with other popular TV shows and movies. It also comes with music, no ads, and the ability to listen to music/videos without having the app open.
6. Local Networks with an Antenna
HDTV antennas are a great way to step away from cable. Using an antenna, you’re able to watch local broadcast stations. These include:
However, if you’re looking into this option, be sure you can pick up a strong signal prior to getting rid of cable.
7. Amazon Prime Video
If you’re a subscriber of Amazon Prime, you already have the option to use Amazon Prime Video. But don't worry – if you aren't a Prime user, you still have access to the service at the low cost of $9/month.
Similar to other streaming platforms, you’re able to access thousands of shows and movies, some of which are Prime originals. Additionally, you can also rent movies and TV show episodes only available through Amazon.
8. Premium Channel Online Subscriptions
However, these companies have since evolved; creating their own streaming platforms. The prices range between $9 and $15/month.
This option is unique because, although you won’t get as much variety as with other platforms, it’s probably one of the only resources where you can access programming close to its live air date.
Philo is a newer option in the world of streaming platforms – and totally worth looking into. This is because Philo lets you view cable channels at a lower price.
The package consists of 58 channels. To access these channels, you pay $20 a month. They also offer a 7-day free trial.
The channels included are:
- Animal Planet
- AXS TV
- BBC America
- BBC World News
- Cheddar Big News
- Comedy Central
- Discovery Channel
- DIY Network
- Food Network
- Game Show Network
- Hallmark Channel
- Hallmark Drama
- Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
- Investigation Discovery
- Lifetime Movies
- Nick Jr.
- Oprah Winfrey Network
- Paramount Network
- Science Channel
- Sundance TV
- Travel Channel
- TV Land
- WE tv
- American Heroes Channel
- BET Her
- Cooking Channel
- Destination America
- Discovery Family
- Discovery Life
- MTV Live
Philo can be used on any device with internet access, including computers, TVs, and phones.
10. DIRECTV Now
You’ve probably heard of DirecTV as a TV service provider. Except now, the company joined the trend of creating a streaming service as another way to earn profit. The streaming service is called DirecTV Now.
The no-contract service will cost you between $35 and $70. The cost varies based on the package you choose. You will receive between 60-120 channels, which is a significant amount compared to most cable alternatives.
11. Playstation Vue
PlayStation VUE has a similar pricing structure to DirecTV Now, coming in at $30 to $64 a month. However, you get fewer channels, as the range is between 45-90 channels.
12. The Local Library
Most libraries offer a wide range of merchandise you can rent – not just books. For example, a good amount of libraries offer movies and TV series on DVD and sometimes BluRay.
The best part is – it’s entirely free with a library card, although you do need to return the merchandise eventually. The selection they offer, on the other hand, will not be as extensive as a streaming platform or other cable alternative.
Do You Need Internet to Use the Best Alternatives to Cable?
For the most part, a decent internet signal is necessary to use a cable alternative. If you don't have internet, your only other options are to use an antenna or go to the library. Both of these don't require a Wi-Fi connection.
Because of this, it’s imperative you look into your options. Be sure you have at least a 3G to 4G connection before purchasing a subscription, which is recommended for streaming.
If you find a method that doesn't require internet, you might still need a satellite connection.
Can a Firestick Replace Cable?
The Amazon Fire Stick is a great way to stream shows on your TV. But is it good enough to replace cable?
The short answer: yes. The Fire Stick allows you to view any of Amazon's content – movies, shows, music, etc., along with entertainment from other streaming services.
The Fire TV options are of a decent variety:
- HBO NOW
- Watch ESPN
- Watch HGTV
- CBS AllAccess
- Watch Food Network
- BBC News
- Disney Junior
- MLB TV Premium
- Hulu with Live TV
- iHeart Radio
- History Channel
- NBA Game Time
- PBS Kids
- Bloomberg TV
- Huff Post Live
- Amazon Prime videos
Thus, with the variety of “channels” a Firestick offers, it’s definitely an option to cut off cable. However, keep in mind it doesn’t have all of the channels offered by cable television, so you might not have the channel you regularly watch.
Is Roku a Good Alternative to Cable?
Roku is another service allowing you to view “channels” from various sources, including streaming services.
However, if you’re a sports fan, you might not find Roku to be a replacement, as it doesn’t offer many sport options. Other popular channels are also not included, and some channels require a subscription with a participating cable provider, defeating the purpose of cutting cable in the first place.
How Can I Watch Live TV Without Cable?
Using streaming services like Sling TV or Playstation Vue are great ways to watch live TV without paying for a cable subscription. All you need is a decent internet connection and a device to watch TV on!
And some options don't require the internet, like the library.
Is Streaming Better than Cable?
Whether streaming is better is subjective. However, with the full range of entertainment available on these services and the lowered price point, it's understandable why one might consider streaming better.
What is the Best Streaming Service to Replace Cable?
Netflix is the most popular option for streaming due to its wide variety of shows and movies, some of which are originals. Its price is also affordable – for now, at least.
A great way to make streaming services more useful than cable is by combining multiple services to get all the shows and movies you want.
This method is still cheaper than using cable.
What is the Best Alternative to Cable?
Any streaming service is an excellent alternative to cable. Examples of the best streaming services are provided above.
If you watch television but don't use a streaming service or alternative method, you’re likely being overcharged by money-hungry typhoons.
The sad fact is: many people don't realize how overpriced cable actually is. And even when they do, they often underestimate the power of other resources – like streaming services. But the truth is, in today’s day and age, we don’t need cable television.
So take the first step in cutting the cord by trying one of our recommendations today!