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Tired of paying high cable prices month after month? I hear you…cable can be very expensive, and it’s not going to get any cheaper…
In fact, the average U.S. household pays more than $100 per month for their monthly cable subscription. But the good news is that there are plenty of cable TV alternatives out there thanks to on-demand streaming services that could save you $1200 or more every year.
So if you are wondering how to give up cable and still watch TV, I’ve put together a list of the best cable TV alternatives available and even a few free cable replacements.
Looking for more ways to save money around the house? Check out these articles.
What Equipment Do I Need to Watch TV without Cable?
A simple digital TV antenna will allow you to get a few local channels, however; if you want more options you need a streaming device and a broadband internet connection.
An Indoor or Outdoor HD Antenna – Free TV Channels
If you’re looking for the cheapest cable TV alternative then you’ll probably want to get an indoor or outdoor HD antenna, which doesn’t require any other service or equipment to pick up a few local TV channels.
Depending on your location and the quality of your antenna, you can watch HD channels and all major networks such as FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS, along with other channels in high definition, all for free.
But the TV channels you get are dependant on your location. So the further you are from a tower, or if there are many obstructions between your locations and the signals, you may not catch every local TV network.
Even if you do opt for a streaming service because you want more TV options, you probably will want to add a digital TV antenna so you have more channel options while having access to your local TV as well.
A Broadband Internet Connection
If you are looking for more options that a digital TV antenna can provide, you’ll need a broadband internet connection.
All on-demand streaming services and online live TV streaming services require the use of high-speed internet data to stream content on your preferred devices.
And if you want to watch TV and movies on more than one device at a time, it’s really important that you have access to a high-speed internet connection so there are no interruptions on buffering.
And if you really want to save money and still watch some of your favorite shows, you can by simply plugging in one of your own devices, such as a laptop or tablet to your TV using an HDMI cable.
But if you are looking for a TV experience that’s similar to cable TV, you’re going to need either a streaming device or a Smart TV.
14 Cable TV Alternatives for 2020
What Are Streaming Devices
A streaming device connects your TV to your wired or wireless internet connection and streams the content you love to watch from the internet to your TV.
High-end Smart TVs usually can be connected wirelessly or directly to your WiFi network while streaming devices such as Roku 3, Fire TV box and Apple TV can all be connected via an HDMI cable.
Another option is to plug a dedicated streaming device such as the Chromecast right into your TV’s HDMI port and connect wirelessly through your WiFi network.
Once you have set up your TV with a streaming device, all that is left now is to choose an online live TV streaming or on-demand video streaming service that provides the content you want to watch on your TV, tablet, computer, or mobile phone over the internet. Content can include shows, news, concerts, movies or sports.
There are also free options to watch on-demand streaming services and online live TV subscription services.
The Best Cable TV Alternatives – On-Demand Streaming Services
On-demand streaming services offer low-cost monthly subscriptions that are much cheaper than a typical cable TV package while others are completely free to watch TV on multiple devices.
These cable alternatives give you the option of watching TV shows and movies at home or on the go and on multiple devices. But these do not give you access to specific channels.
If you want to give up on cable and still watch TV, Hulu is one of the cheapest options out there for you. The basic plan starts at just $5.99 per month which gives you access to stream more than 85,000 episodes of on-demand TV, thousands of movies and more content, with limited ads or commercials. There are way fewer ads with Hulu than with cable, though.
You can stream Hulu without commercials by getting the Hulu (No Ads) plan for $11.99 per month. You can even add premium channels like HBO, Cinemax or SHOWTIME for an additional fee for each to watch movies that are not available on the basic plan.
One of the downsides of these options is that you may not be able to watch local sports or news in every city.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is one of the best cable alternatives to watch TV without cable. If you are already an Amazon Prime member, you have access to Amazon Prime Video without paying any additional fees.
As an Amazon Prime member, you can watch Amazon Original series, thousands of popular movies, TV shows, live events and more at no extra cost on just about any device.
If you are not already an Amazon Prime member, the Amazon Prime membership fee is $12.99 per month. You can save about $37 annually on your membership if you choose to be charged on an annual basis. You have to pay $119 for an annual membership.
Or, you can choose to only subscribe to Amazon Prime Video for just $8.99 a month. It is available in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.
Another option is to rent or buy from an unmatched collection of movies and TV shows starting at $2.99.
Netflix is another great cable TV alternative, it offers three different monthly plans. Each plan allows you to watch unlimited movies and TV shows without having to watch a single commercial.
The basic plan comes with the lowest price at only $7.99 per month. It lets you to watch content on your laptop, TV, phone, and tablet, but only on one device at a time.
If you want to use Netflix on more than one device at a time and in high definition, you will have to upgrade to either the Standard plan for only $9.99 per month or the Premium plan for only $11.99 per month.
The Standard plan allows viewing on two devices while the Premium plan allows viewing on four devices.
You can downgrade or upgrade your Netflix subscription at any time so if you opt for the basic plan and find you want more options, it’s super easy to upgrade.
Bu choosing one of these cheaper packages you will easily save you $85 to $95 per month, if not more.
Best Cable TV Alternatives – Live TV Streaming Services
Cable-replacement services are more like actual cable or satellite TV. These services are a great option for those looking to cut the cord and still watch TV for an affordable price.
Live TV streaming services are the best cable TV alternative that lets you watch your favorite TV shows, movies, news, sports, and more content live, without the high bills of cable and satellite TV.
You won’t receive all of the channels that a cable package offers through a live TV subscription service – not yet – but if you do not watch much television anyway, you won’t really miss the cable experience.
Some of these online live TV subscription services have one or several premium channels such as HBO and Cinemax included in their subscription packages depending on the package you choose while others offer add-ons that let you watch the premium channels you love for an extra fee for each.
If you only watch a premium channel or two with your cable TV, you can then ditch the cable and still watch your favorite channels by subscribing to a stand-alone streaming service like HBO NOW, Cinemax, SHOWTIME or STARZ.
Here are some of the best live TV streaming services:
Sling TV is one of the most affordable online TV streaming services out there. It is a live TV streaming service that features live TV channels, including FOX, NBC, HGTV, Discovery, National Geographic, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, ESPN, Disney Channel, AMC, TNT, CNN, History and many more, plus on-demand TV shows and movies.
You can watch your favorite live TV shows, favorite live sports, plus thousands of hours of on-demand TV shows and movies on your favorite devices anytime.
Sling TV offers three main channel packages: Sling Orange Service for $25/month, Sling Blue Service for $25/month and Sling Orange + Sling Blue Service for $40/month.
The Sling Orange service offers 30+ live TV channels and the Sling Blue Service offers 40+ live TV channels. Some channels are available on both Sling Orange Service and Sling Blue Service.
If you want to get all the channels of both packages, then you can buy the Sling Orange + Sling Blue Service.
With Sling Orange, you can stream shows to just one screen while with Sling Blue you can stream shows to three different screens at once.
Subscribers to the Sling Orange + Sling Blue package can watch content on up to four different screens at the same time.
Sling TV also offers a cloud DVR that gives you access to 100 hours of recording time to watch anytime for just $5 per month.
If you want to add premium channels, Sling also offers add-on packages. Each add-on package is different. The cost will vary depending on the add-on package.
YouTube TV is an online live TV streaming service that lets you stream live TV shows, news, local and national live sports, and more content for $49.99 per month.
Once you subscribe, you can start watching live TV from 70+ channels, including premium channels like ESPN, FOX Sports, CNN, Disney, and more in minutes.
You can watch YouTube TV anywhere – at home or on the go – on any device and platform.
A single subscription allows you to create six YouTube TV accounts, but you can have only three streams going simultaneously.
The subscription also includes free unlimited DVR storage space so you can record your favorites, and stream them wherever you go. There are no contracts and hidden fees. You can cancel your subscription at any time.
YouTube TV is a solid option for you if you watch lots of local TV shows, sports and news. Premium add-on services like SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more are also available for an extra monthly fee.
fuboTV is a relatively new live TV streaming service that specializes in the world’s most popular live sports and entertainment content.
You can watch fuboTV on your smart TV, tablet, mobile phone, and desktop computer.
fuboTV offers a free trial to new customers and subscribers can stream content from two devices at once. You can add a third device for only $5.99 per month.
fuboTV offers several plans, the standard plan costs $54.99 per month. They do have a premium plan called the Ultra Bundle but you won’t save too much since it costs $79.99 per month.
Hulu + Live TV
If you want to watch live TV, then Hulu + Live TV is one of the most affordable and best cable-replacement services out there. It gives you access to live TV shows as well as on-demand streaming services for $44.99 per month.
You can stream content on your TV, tablet or mobile device. Hulu + Live TV is a great cable TV alternative if you are a big sports fan. It features more than 60 live sports, news, and entertainment channels.
Hulu also offers on-demand streaming services via its two plans mentioned earlier. You can easily switch plans at any time.
AT&T TV Now
AT&T TV Now is one of the most popular live streaming TV services for cord-cutters who are looking for a cable TV alternative.
They offer two packages – Plus for $50/month and Max for $70month. Thier Plus plan includes 45+ channels, including HBO and other top channels such as ABC, CNBC, CNN, FOX, ESPN, TNT, Cartoon Network, and more.
Its Max plan includes 60+ channels, including HBO and Cinemax and other top channels.
You can add premium channels such as Cinemax (included in Max plan), SHOWTIME and STARZ for $11/month each and EPIX for $6/month. Spanish networks and standalone international TV packages are also available as add-ons.
You can watch two different shows on two devices at the same time, but if you want to stream on 3 screens, you will need to add a third stream for $5/month. Plus you can watch live TV anywhere with the AT&T TV app.
PlayStation™Vue is another great live TV streaming service to watch thousands of on-demand shows.
It offers four for plans: Access plan for $49.99/month, Core plan for $54.99/month, Elite plan for $64.99/month and Ultra plan $84.99/month.
All monthly plans on PlayStation™Vue allow you to create 10 viewing profiles with personalized DVR and watch live streaming TV on up to 5 devices at once.
It also includes live streaming HD channels, powerful cloud DVR, no PlayStation® console required. The Ultra plan gives you access to premium channels like HBO and SHOWTIME.
Its Ultra plan ($84.99/month) is the most expensive cable replacement service package on the market so it may not save you very much over cable TV
Philo offers live television and on-demand streaming tv shows and movies for just $20 per month. You get access to 58 channels and can watch them live or on-demand on up to three devices at once.
Philo lets you save unlimited shows for 30 days and create 10 personalized profiles per account.
Philo is the cheapest multi-channel cable replacement service provider on this list but if you’re a sports fan, it is not for you since it has no sports programming.
It does not also have local channel options either, but Philo offers some really popular lifestyle channels.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access is a single-network live TV streaming service that allows you to watch live TV shows and on-demand streaming services without cable. But it only offers content from CBS.
You can watch your favorite shows with limited commercials by subscribing to its Limited Commercials plan just for $5.99 each month or get commercial-free shows by subscribing to its Commercial Free plan for $9.99 per month.
CBS All Access allows you to watch TV shows and movies on multiple devices, such as your laptop, tablet, phone or streaming media player. It also supports a wide variety of streaming devices such as Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku and more.
HBO Now is a standalone live TV service. If you want to cut the cable but you would like to get HBO, you can subscribe to HBO Now for $14.99 per month.
First, you will need to download the HBO Now streaming app and then create an HBO Now account.
After that, you will need to subscribe to watch TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more content.
You can also subscribe to other popular stand-alone services include Cinemax, SHOWTIME or STARZ or add them to your Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV Now, or PlayStation Vue account for an extra fee.
Cable TV Alternatives Conclusion
Cutting the cord can be hard, but with so many cable TV alternatives out there, you can easily save you money by finding a service that fits your needs.
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That’s great Tim. I’m always looking for ways to save money on cable and finding cheaper alternatives to watching tv with streaming services. I’ll definitely try it out and add it to my list once I update the post.