Top Alternatives Cable TV
Basic cable in your area might be affordable. However, extras such as movie channels, sports packages, etc., mean costs start to increase.
Its not uncommon to pay $100 a month, $200 a month or more for cable or satellite TV packages.
If you get a good deal on a TV package, you can pay a smaller monthly fee for a while. But, your premiums get doubled or even tripled after the trial period ends.
Also, there are installation fees, rental fees and other charges that can come with cable packages.
I remember when cable TV first hit the major city I grew up in. It was in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
The first family to get cable TV lived just a couple of miles away from us. They were famous, thats for sure. Later, I went to tech school with their next-door-neighbor.
Everyone was amazed at the fact that there were options to have a variety of channels available. We were used to having the usual 5 or 6 local channels. The cost of cable at that time? $7.95 a month.
That would be $26.78 a month in todays dollars still an affordable TV viewing option for many families. Today things are different. These days most cable and satellite companies are charging a much higher rate.
Luckily, advancements in technology such as live streaming are changing that. New technology means there are more ways for people to have access to alternatives to cable tv.
There is a wide range of TV shows and movies you can get without paying for a costly cable or satellite package.
Do You Need Internet To Use The Best Alternatives To Cable
Mostly, you do need the internet to use TV alternatives to cable and satellite TV.
The only exceptions on this list are using an HDTV antenna or heading to your library, both of which give you the ability to watch movies and television shows while cutting the cord entirely.
However, there are free and cheap internet options available, and you can save a ton by ditching your television service subscription for a TV streaming service.
Just be aware that cable and satellite companies will tout their service bundles to try and convince you to commit to multiple services when all you want is streaming TV.
While the promo or introductory prices may look attractive, they will go up when the initial period ends, so think long and hard about the potential consequences, especially if you have to sign a contract.
Network Shows News And More
So long as the video streaming service you choose offers affiliate broadcast channels in your market, you can watch all your favorite network shows from the likes of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Most of the services here, including YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV host these networks. YouTube TV is the only services we’ve reviewed that include local PBS channels. Locast used to be an inexpensive option for watching local channels , but that service has suspended operations.
Other television channels aren’t dependent on your geographic location. Philo is an excellent option for watching such entertainment networks, including AMC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, and Travel Channel. Many video streaming services with entertainment channels also include on-demand content from those channels that you can watch at your leisure and record to DVR storage. Other services combine live TV with more traditional on-demand libraries. A subscription to Hulu + Live TV, for instance, allows you to watch all the shows and movies from Hulu’s on-demand service, including its original shows.
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All The Gear You Need
Affordable TVs and streaming sticks, ahoy!
Almost every new TV, even the relatively cheap ones, ships with a built-in streaming platform that should allow you to access most, if not all, of the services we’ve listed above. If you’re looking to replace your TV, these are two cheap TVs we think you should consider.
Hulu + Live TV Dropping Channels: Which Regional Networks Are Getting Cut
Its 2021, and streaming video is king. For those of you who have already cut the cord to your cable or satellite, we salute you. But for anyone looking at alternatives to cable TV and wondering if cutting the cord is worth it, were here to help.
We get it, cable TV seems like a simple option. You pay a monthly bill to get all your channels in one place. The problem is the pricewhich keeps getting more bloated year after year. According to Doxos U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2021, 82 percent of American households with a Cable & Internet bill spend $116 per month, or $1,392 per year, or $1,141 per year when averaging across all U.S. households. And for many, its costing a whole lot more.
As a Decider reader, youre already hip to all the amazing content available out there, from popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and which are either built right into your smart TV or accessed from streaming devices like Roku, and . And now, you have even more options to get rid of cable and still watch TV, with live television streaming services like Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV.
Here are the best cord cutting options of 2021.
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What Is The Best Alternative To Cable How Do I Get Rid Of Cable And Still Watch TV
The best alternative to cable TV will depend on what you like to watch best. For us, we simply like having Netflix when there is something on there that we like to watch.
Well also occasionally pay for Philo and Starz as well.
Theres no right or wrong answer simply choose what has the shows and movies that you want to watch.
Cutting The Cord And Adding Streaming Services
Streaming services are very popular with cord cutters, and it’s no surprise. They have tons of content including TV shows along with movies. In addition to the below selections, you can review our list of best streaming apps and services.
Before you subscribe to a streaming service, you’ll want to make sure that you have something to stream it on. Visit each service you’re interested in and make sure that you have the device, or don’t mind investing in a device, that will let you access the titles.
If you’re really interested in streaming movies, first check out this list of the best places to stream free movies online. You’ll also want to know the details on sharing passwords for streaming services which may also save you some money.
There’s also the option of renting DVDs of your favorite movies and TV shows, with the library being a great place to start since you can get your rentals for free. There’s also ways to get free Redbox codes, and you may want to consider a subscription to DVD Netflix which has plans available for $7.99â$14.99 a month.
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Best TV Streaming Service For Sports Fans: At& t TV
AT& T TV provides a streaming experience similar to cablewarts and all.
At $85 per month for its Choice package, AT& T TV is not a particularly great deal for cord cutters, but as of this writing, its the only way to get regional Fox Sports channels or the YES Network without cable or satellite TV service. It also includes NBA TV and MLB Network for good measure.
Sports fans served by regional NBC Sports networks are in luck here, as they can instead opt for cheaper services including YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and Fubo TV . Otherwise, AT& T TV wins simply by covering local sports in most markets.
The Best Cable TV Alternatives On
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.
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Pay For Only The Channels You Watch
If you find you have a preference for shows exclusive to one or two channels, consider checking to see if your favorite channel has an app or its own subscription service. These channel-specific services fall into three categories.
The first type of app only lets you access their shows after signing in with your cable subscription. These, like the Food Network app, are basically useless once youve cancelled said subscription.
The second type of app allows you full access to all of its offerings with a cable subscription, but lets you watch some full-episodes without a cable login. These are fairly rare, but do exist. Currently, this category includes the Comedy Central app, where you can currently watch full episodes of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah or Nathan For You a day after they air.
Smart TV Vs Streaming Device: Make Your Choice
Once youre sure that your home internet service is sufficient, your next big decision is on how youll consume your streaming content once you cut the cord.
If youre looking to replicate the cable experience on your living room television, then youll need a way to connect that TV to your streaming subscriptions. Think of it as needing access to a cable box without paying that pesky monthly fee to get one.
There generally are two options for this: You can either use a smart TV that has streaming apps built into the menu, or you can make a one-time purchase of a streaming device to connect to your TV.
Though many of you may be perfectly happy with the way your smart TV performs, we generally suggest that streamers pick a streaming device for a one-time purchase.
There are a few reasons having a streaming device could be advantageous:
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Do A Trial Run Before You Cut The Cord For Good
Cutting the cable cord can save you a lot of money but you’ll need to do some planning to make the transition as painless as possible. It pays to get all your streaming ducks in a row before you make that final fateful call to your cable provider.
Go through your checklist and figure out which services you need to subscribe to and which devices you’ll need to get. Install everything on your main TV, unplug your cable box and get used to using streaming instead. Familiarize yourself first, then move on to helping other members of your household.
Chances are you’ll experience some bumps along the way. The menu systems on some streaming services are different, the remote controls on devices are different, even the lack of channel numbers and need to use search can be tough to grok. Give it time and patience, however, and it will be fine.
Make Sure You Have Adequate High
The first thing to consider when dipping your toes into the streaming world is whether or not your internet situation can support cutting the cord.
Youre going to need a high-speed network in your home thats capable of streaming your live and on-demand content in addition to your regular internet usage. Thats going to cause a strain on your connection that cable and satellite TV does not.
Each streaming service has its own minimum internet speed for optimal high-definition viewing, but Team Clark has landed on 10 Mbps as the minimum speed to target to feel comfortable that youll get a quality stream.
You can read more about the internet speed requirements for streaming services here.
In the early days of streaming TV, a good internet connection was a big hurdle for people on limited budgets and those who live in rural areas.
But as internet speeds increase across the country, the access to service fast enough to stream television has become much better. And many potential cord-cutters are already paying for some sort of high-speed internet.
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At& t TV Is Now Available To Bundle With At& t Internet Get $300 In At& t Visa Reward Cards When You Bundle At& t Internet & At& t TV
EARLY TERMINATION FEE OF $15/MO. FOR EACH MONTH REMAINING ON AGMT., $19.95 ACTIVATION FEE, EQUIP NON-RETURN & ADDL FEES APPLY. New approved residential customers only. Excludes DIRECTV and U-verse TV customers.
AT& T TV: AT& T TV requires high speed internet. Recommend minimum 25 Mbps for optimal viewing . Limit 3 concurrent AT& T streams.
Geographic and service restrictions apply to AT& T Internet services. Not all speeds available in all areas. Call to see if you qualify.
$300 IN REWARD CARDS FOR AT& T TV/INTERNET BUNDLE: Subj. to change and may be discontinued at any time. Must purchase through Red Ventures. For new residential customers. Excludes AT& T TV NOW. Residents of select multi-dwelling units not eligible.
- $200 Reward Card for AT& T TV: Requires purchase of qualifying AT& T TVpackage .
- Additional $100 Reward Card for Internet Orders: Requires purchase of Internet 100M or higher plan .
AT& T Internet: Subj. to Internet Terms of Service at att.com/internet-terms.
Offers may not be combined with certain other promotional offers on the same services and may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Other conditions apply to all offers.
Ready It’s Time To Actually Cancel Your Cable Service
After you’ve lived with streaming for a while and have grown comfortable with the process of clicking on an app rather than firing up your cable box, it’s time to make the fateful call. Your cable provider might offer you incentives to stick around and you’ll have to weigh those against the benefits of cutting the cord, but do so carefully. Especially if the offer is contingent on signing a two-year contract. A lot can change in two years and with the freedom of streaming, it’s simply a lot easier to save money than with cable.
In the end, cutting cable TV isn’t for everyone. No single device or service has as many channels as a premium cable package. Juggling different services to find the shows you want to watch can be more effort than some people are willing to put in.
On the other hand, cutting cable is getting easier with every new option that hits the market. Beyond the savings, you get the freedom of being able to pick and choose the service you want — and drop it like a hot potato if you don’t like it anymore, your favorite show ends or something new comes along. Cutting cable is all about choice and if you do it right, you’ll never miss that old cable box.
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Is Cutting The Cord Worth It
The first thing to consider is whether your current cable deal is super amazingly cheap. If, by some miracle, youre paying less than $116 per month for everything you want, it may be worth sticking with your current plan. Chances are, since youre reading this piece at this very second, you are notespecially when you factor in those nasty hidden cable costs for things like equipment, broadcast fees, and regional sports fees. In this case, cutting the cord will most probably save you cash.
Youll still need a home Internet connection, which may now be part of the cable bundle, so figuring out how much it will cost as a standalone service is also important. Many times, the broadband Internet service is at least half of what youre paying for cable as a wholeso lets say youre paying $120 per month, it may be just $60, and you can spend the rest of those savings on the specific streaming TV services you want. You can also shop around for other broadband dealsbut make sure to check if youre under contract for your current plan before you do so.
Find The Cheapest Way To Watch The Cable Channels You Love
Many cord-cutters stress about the potential of losing access to the channels they love watching with their cable subscriptions.
The good news is that almost every channel, sporting event, movie or TV show available on cable is also streamed nowadays.
All you have to do is type in the names of the channels you like , and our tool will help you figure out which service carries them and how much the packages with that service cost.
If this tool doesnt answer all your comparison shopping questions, you may also find our side-by-side channel comparison chart useful.
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Pay For Access To A Larger Library
If you find that most of your television diet consists of reruns of old sitcoms and dramas or movies, an on-demand video streaming service will probably meet most of your needs. By this point, services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime video are widely understood and fairly ubiquitous. In fact, as of June 2017, Netflix has more US subscribers than cable TV.
The three aforementioned services are the most popular and have fairly similar offerings. Though their libraries are constantly changing, Netflix currently tends to have the deepest library of previously aired shows. A Hulu subscription also gives you access to current seasons of shows that are still on the air. And if you already pay for an subscription, you should definitely see if they offer the shows youd want to watch before subscribing to anything else.
Treat these services more like individual networks than comprehensive libraries of all the TV and movies you’ll ever want to watch.
Subscribing to these services also gives you access to their exclusive content, which includes some of the most critically beloved and widely discussed shows on TV. Netflix is the only place you can watch Master of None, Stranger Things, or BoJack Horseman. Amazon is the only place you can watch Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, or The Man in the High Castle. And Hulu is the only place you can watch The Handmaids Tale, The Mindy Project, or Difficult People.