In recent years, more and more people have been opting to cut the cord and ditch their cable TV subscriptions. With the rise of high-speed internet and an ever-growing number of streaming services, it’s never been easier to find affordable and customizable alternatives. Let’s explore some of the best alternatives to cable TV available today.
- Streaming Services
- Live TV Streaming Services
- Free Streaming Services
- Over-the-Air Antennas
- Sports Streaming Services
- How to Choose the Best Alternative for You
- Further Considerations When Choosing a Cable TV Alternative
- Combining Streaming Services for a Customized Experience
Netflix is the streaming giant that started it all. With an extensive library of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original content, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular alternatives to cable TV. Subscriptions start at just $8.99 per month, making it an affordable choice for many households.
Hulu is another top streaming service, offering a mix of popular TV shows, movies, and original content. Hulu’s basic plan starts at $5.99 per month, with an ad-free version for $11.99 per month. If you’re looking to catch up on your favorite network shows, Hulu may be the perfect choice for you.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is included with an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month. The service offers an extensive selection of movies, TV shows, and original content. Amazon Prime Video is also compatible with 4K streaming, making it an excellent choice for those with Ultra HD TVs.
Disney+ is a streaming service that offers content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Starting at $7.99 per month, it’s a great option for families and fans of these popular franchises.
Live TV Streaming Services
YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service offering over 85 channels, including popular networks such as ESPN, Fox News, and CNN. With an easy-to-use interface and unlimited DVR storage, it’s a great alternative to cable for those who want to watch live TV without the high costs. Subscriptions start at $64.99 per month.
Sling TV is a budget-friendly live TV streaming service, offering two base plans (Sling Orange and Sling Blue) for $35 per month each, or a combined plan for $50 per month. With a variety of channel packages to choose from, Sling TV is perfect for those who want to customize their channel lineup without breaking the bank.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV combines the Hulu streaming service with over 75 live channels, including popular networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Priced at $69.99 per month, it’s a comprehensive alternative to cable TV that includes access to Hulu’s on-demand library.
fuboTV is a sports-centric live TV streaming service that offers over 100 channels, including popular sports networks like NFL Network, NBA TV, and beIN Sports. Starting at $64.99 per month, it’s a great choice for sports fans who want to cut the cord without sacrificing their favorite games.
Free Streaming Services
Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported streaming service that offers over 250 channels, including news, sports, movies, and TV shows. With its easy-to-use interface and extensive content library, Pluto TV is a fantastic option for those looking for a free alternative to cable TV.
Tubi is another free, ad-supported streaming service with a wide selection of movies and TV shows. With no subscription fees and new content added regularly, Tubi is a great way to supplement your streaming lineup without spending any money.
Crackle is a free streaming service owned by Sony, offering a mix of movies, TV shows, and original content. While its library isn’t as extensive as some other services, Crackle is still a solid choice for those seeking free, ad-supported entertainment.
Over-the-air (OTA) antennas provide access to local broadcast channels, such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, without any subscription fees. By investing in a quality OTA antenna, you can enjoy your favorite local programming in high definition for free.
Sports Streaming Services
For sports enthusiasts who don’t want to miss their favorite games, several sports-specific streaming services are available. Services like ESPN+, NFL Game Pass, NBA League Pass, and MLB.TV offer live and on-demand coverage of your favorite sports, often at a fraction of the cost of a traditional cable subscription.
How to Choose the Best Alternative for You
When selecting the best alternative to cable TV, consider your viewing preferences, budget, and desired features. Evaluate the content libraries of various streaming services and determine which channels and shows are most important to you. Also, consider whether you need access to live TV or if on-demand content will suffice.
Further Considerations When Choosing a Cable TV Alternative
While we’ve covered some of the most popular alternatives to cable TV, there are a few additional factors to keep in mind when making your decision.
Ensure that your preferred streaming services are compatible with the devices you plan to use for streaming. Popular streaming devices include smart TVs, gaming consoles, streaming sticks (such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Google Chromecast), and mobile devices. Check each streaming service’s website for a list of supported devices.
International Content and Accessibility
If you’re interested in watching content from other countries or require accessibility features, such as subtitles or audio descriptions, make sure to research which streaming services cater to your specific needs. Some services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, offer a diverse selection of international content and support various accessibility options.
Managing Multiple Streaming Subscriptions
With so many streaming services available, it’s easy to find yourself juggling multiple subscriptions. To simplify this process, consider using a centralized streaming hub, such as Reelgood or JustWatch, which allows you to search and browse content across various services in one place.
Internet Data Caps
Some internet service providers (ISPs) impose data caps on their customers’ usage. Streaming video, especially in high definition or 4K, can consume a significant amount of data. Be aware of your ISP’s data cap policy and monitor your usage to avoid any unexpected charges.
Taking Advantage of Free Trials
Many streaming services offer free trials, typically lasting between 7 and 30 days. This provides an excellent opportunity to explore the content and features of different services before committing to a subscription. Just be sure to cancel before the trial period ends if you decide not to continue with the service to avoid being charged.
By considering these additional factors and weighing your options carefully, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect alternative to cable TV that meets your specific needs and preferences.
Combining Streaming Services for a Customized Experience
One of the most significant advantages of cutting the cord and choosing streaming services over cable TV is the ability to mix and match different platforms to create a personalized viewing experience.
Curating Your Own Channel Lineup
Instead of being restricted to a predetermined channel lineup, you can select the streaming services that offer the content you’re most interested in. For instance, if you’re a fan of both classic movies and popular TV shows, you might opt for a combination of Netflix and a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV.
Optimizing Your Budget
By carefully selecting the streaming services that suit your preferences and budget, you can save money compared to traditional cable TV packages. It’s important to periodically review your subscriptions and assess whether you’re still getting value from each service. Don’t be afraid to cancel a subscription and try a different platform if you feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth.
Taking Advantage of Bundled Offers
Many streaming services offer discounted bundles when you combine multiple platforms. For example, Disney+ offers a bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN+ at a lower price than subscribing to each service individually. Keep an eye out for these types of deals to save money and maximize your content options.
Adapting to Changing Content Libraries
The content libraries of streaming services are continuously evolving, with new titles being added and older ones being removed. Stay updated on the latest releases and upcoming changes to make the most of your streaming experience. You can also use a platform like Reelgood or JustWatch to stay informed about the availability of your favorite shows and movies across multiple services.
By taking a proactive approach to curating your streaming experience, you can build a customized entertainment package that’s tailored to your specific interests and budget.
There’s never been a better time to cut the cord and explore the numerous alternatives to cable TV. From streaming services to live TV options and free content, there’s something for everyone. By considering your preferences and budget, you can find the perfect cable TV alternative for your household.