Are you on the fence about trying alternatives to cable TV? TV is great, and cable TV has never been better. Nothing beats the feeling of relaxing on your cozy couch after a long day as you catch up on the latest episode of your favorite TV show. There are always new shows to keep us on the edge of our seats.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, cable TV prices have been creeping up. There’s got to be another way, and luckily, there is. Advancements in technology mean there are new ways for people to gain access to a broader range of movies and TV shows.
Video streaming and on-demand TV are now regarded as viable mainstream options across millions of households in America. Read on to discover how to save money by reintroducing live TV to your household without spending a fortune.
How Much Could I Really Save By Cutting The Cord?
When most of us think of cutting down expenses, cable bills are not usually the first thing that comes to mind. The cost of cable TV is 53 percent more than it was 10 years ago and experts have projected that the rates will continue to climb.
Today, the average American pays approximately $100 for cable and watches about 5 hours of TV every day according to a 2016 study by Leichtman Research Group.
That translates to a whopping $1200 per year to watch TV – and that’s just an average figure, some households pay substantially more than that. In our article on automatic savings apps, we mentioned that 70 percent of Americans have less than $1000 in savings.
You can see how shelling out big bucks on cable TV can hurt your budget and long-term financial goals. Check your monthly statement to figure out just how much you’re paying for cable. Since you are already entertaining the idea of cutting the cord, it is a good guess that the figure is more than you want to pay.
To answer your question, how much you can save by cutting the cord depends on how much you pay for your cable TV. Generally speaking, you can save approximately 50 percent of your cable TV bill.
Ok, I’ve Cancelled My Cable Subscription. What Next?
I’m glad you asked. Technology is always evolving, and there are now more options for TV viewing than ever. Cable is not the only way to get lost in a Hollywood Blockbuster or a touching documentary. No need to panic; your favorite shows are not going anywhere.
There are many cost-friendly and exciting alternatives to cable TV like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. But with these alternatives comes the challenge of understanding and picking the right option. Well, this article will tell you everything you need to know about these cable alternatives.
Every year, millions of Americans cut the cord, and with the increasing cost of cable, now is the best time to join the mass exodus. Instead of paying for premium channels you never watch with cable TV, you can satisfy your binge-watching needs at a fraction of the cost.
You might have access to hundreds of channels, but how many of those do you watch? Having a smart TV or a streaming device will enable you to binge-watch the latest popular shows and all episodes of previously aired shows.
If you are sick of paying sky high cable bills and want to learn how to save more or get out of debt, grab a cup of coffee and read on. Firing the cable company is the best thing to do, and as time goes by, you will discover that saving feels greater than missing a few shows.
6 Alternatives To Cable TV
Ready to cut ties with cable TV and learn how to save money? This cord-cutting guide has rounded up 6 alternatives to cable TV to get you started.
We will focus on highlighting the best streaming and on-demand services to help you figure out which combination will best serve your needs without breaking the bank.
With these services, you can watch what you want, when you want. Most of the services offer free trials, meaning you can test-drive them before deciding whether or not to go premium.
Netflix is arguably the most popular and the granddaddy alternative on our list. With Netflix, you can watch thousands of original programs, full seasons of completed TV series and documentaries from several networks on multiple devices.
Most devices (including smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets, laptops, streaming devices, and TVs) these days come pre-installed with the Netflix app. Upon signing up, you receive a one-month free trial after which you pick your ideal plan.
There are currently 3 plans to fit your specific needs; Basic, Standard, and Premium. All plans give you full access to unlimited TV shows and movies. You can also download select movies and shows for offline viewing- your plane rides and long road trips will never be the same again.
Netflix allows you to cancel any plan at any time. The Basic plan only allows you to watch one screen at a time, which makes it suitable if you live in a smaller household. Standard and Premium packages allow 2 and 4 screens respectively.
They cost more than basic, but if there is more than one viewer in your household, then the prices might be worth it. HD is available on Standard and Premium plans while ultra HD is only available on Premium.
Netflix boasts a number of popular exclusive TV series such as Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, and it’s completely commercial-free too. The only downside to Netflix is that unless what you plan to watch is a Netflix original series, you will be forced to wait until the season finishes airing to binge-watch.
2. Best Content Selection – Hulu (7.99/mo. with limited commercials, $11.99/mo. with no commercials)
Hulu is increasingly gaining popularity among TV watchers as it regularly updates recent episodes to most of the popular TV shows, kids’ shows, movies, and Hulu original programming. With an almost similar streaming subscription plan to Netflix, Hulu has some exciting features absent in Netflix.
Some episodes are uploaded just a day after they air on cable TV. With most streaming options, you will have to wait for much longer to watch new episodes. Pricing starts at just $5.99 for one year (limited-time offer), after which you’ll be required to pay $2 extra or $4 for commercial-free viewing.
The basic package allows you to view all the movies in their library. If you are a TV junkie who likes to follow the latest shows from ABC, FOX, the CW and NBC (Modern Family, The Flash, The Voice…) then look no further than Hulu. You will also enjoy original new shows like The Handmaid’s Tale.
Money-saving tip: If you choose Hulu, make sure you sign up with Ebates first to get additional cash back on your subscription.
Most people don’t know that YouTube now has 40+ TV networks with official channels. It is now possible to catch the latest episodes of your favorite programs on Disney, CBS, ABC, NBC, and other cable channels. YouTube TV may not quite match up Netflix or Hulu, but you will enjoy unlimited DVR storage for offline viewing.
A good example is the TheEllenShow. With 15 seasons, the channel now has over 29 million subscribers and over 14 billion views. Ellen uploads clips and sometimes full segments of her show every week.
When you subscribe to her channel, you will receive a notification every time she uploads a new video, this way you will not have to miss anything! YouTube TV offers the option of adding AMC and Showtime for an extra fee.
4. Best for the Whole Family – Sling TV ($25/mo. for Sling Orange, $25/mo. for Sling Blue, $40/mo. for both)
Sling TV is a newer option in this list that lets you watch over 30 Live TV Channels including CNN, ESPN (up to ESPN 3), NFL Network, HBO, TBS, Fox Sports, and HGTV just to mention a few. With Sling TV, you won’t need to pay installation fees or use rental equipment.
If you want to minimize the number of cable TV channels to remain with a few that you actually watch, Sling TV can be the ideal alternative for you. You can conveniently stream shows from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or Smart TV.
Sling Orange package offers you 29 premium channels while Sling Blue offers 48 channels. There are also add-on packages that have different variations to let you personalize your viewing choices. Lovers of international shows will enjoy the International extra package.
If you prefer Ala Carte premium channels such as ShowTime, HBO, Cinemax, and Starz, there is something for you too.
You get a FREE 7-day trial period with Sling. The only downside to this service is the commercials. If you hate commercials as I do, try to go for of the other alternatives to cable TV in our list.
Amazon is more than just an online store. With Amazon Prime Video, you’ll enjoy a blend of TV shows and movies for the whole family. Besides TV, you will also enjoy other Amazon Prime perks like 2 days free shipping, and unlimited access to millions of songs from different artists and genres.
Amazon original series curated kindle books and unlimited storage. If you are a regular Amazon shopper, you might find the $99 Amazon’s Prize annual membership cost-effective.
HBO Now offers unlimited access to all episodes of every HBO show ever made thanks to their stand-alone subscription service. If you are a big Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire fan, then HBO Now should be top on your list.
You will be the first one to watch new episodes of all your favorite commercial-free HBO shows. You can try out Starz and Showtime streaming too, both of which are cheaper than HBO Now ($10.99/mo., after a 7-day free trial).
Pro Tip: When you decide to cut the cord, the next step is considering the streaming stick or box that will enable you to make a connection to your new-found alternatives to cable TV. You need to ensure that your internet speed is fast enough to handle streaming on multiple devices (HD and ultra HD).
If you’ve been seriously considering canceling your cable TV subscription for cheaper options, now is the time. Cutting the cord may appear kind of scary at first, but remember you’ll be saving money for more important things.
Have you tried any of the cable TV alternatives listed above? How was your experience? Share your experience with other readers in the comments section below.