Cable TV often costs more than $100-$200 each month, and that’s usually just the introductory price. Once those cable TV deals end your bill skyrockets. These steep costs have sent us looking for better options. Streaming services offer cable TV alternatives at lower prices. Here is how to save money by ditching cable in favor of streaming services and TV subscriptions.
Choose your Streaming Device
Before you sign up for cable TV alternatives, decide how you will access them. If you are replacing cable TV, you most likely want to watch shows on your TV rather than on a mobile device. Many newer TVs come with apps for the most popular services. Even PlayStation and Xbox include apps for TV subscriptions. However, if you want streaming channels beyond the most popular ones, you need to purchase a Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV. They each have different channels and specs. Many of these devices also include lesser known channels with free content.
Netflix was traditionally movie-centric since they started out in the business of renting DVDs via mail. While they offer an ever-changing catalog of films, Netflix is also major distributors and creators of TV shows. Netflix’s original programming is some of the most talked about in entertainment. Shows like Stranger Things, Ozark, and Making a Murderer are all Netflix originals that you can’t watch on cable networks. Netflix costs $10.99 to $13.99 a month.
Hulu is the most TV focused service around! You can binge shows from many decades ago up to the present. Hulu offers TV shows from network TV stations and cable networks, along with many exclusive originals. You can watch certain shows the night after they’ve aired for the first time. Hulu also includes movies with its service. A basic Hulu membership only costs $7.99 a month. For an extra $3.99 a month, you can go commercial free. Hulu also has live TV plans so you can watch favorite shows as they air.
If you already have an Amazon Prime membership ($99 a year) to take advantage of 2-day shipping, their video streaming service is included. While you need to pay to rent or digitally buy certain titles, many are included for free with Prime. You get access to older films that you find on Netflix, along with current features. Amazon also has your favorite TV shows to help you cut the cord with cable. And don’t forget, just like the other services, Amazon Studios has fantastic original programming. You cannot see award-winning shows like Transparent and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel anywhere else!
Cinephiles & Genre Enthusiasts
Want a classic, high art, and/or foreign films? FilmStruck is a specialized subscription that costs up to $99 a year. It exclusively carries the Criterion Channel, along with Turner Classic Movies. Criterion distributes top notch releases with educational extras like commentaries and featurettes. If you love horror movies, Shudder and Screambox feature scary movies to make you shudder and scream all year round. They each cost $4.99 a month, or less if you pay by the year.
Sports fans usually keep cable and fear switching to streaming services. Fear not, there are now options less expensive than cable TV to watch your favorite games live. While costlier than basic streaming subscriptions, Hulu with Live TV and FuboTV Premier run around $40-$45 a month each and include live and on-demand sporting events.
You Can Get Rid of Cable
Replacing cable has never been easier thanks to many streaming services offering tons of content. If you happen to love a channel but are unable to find their programming on any of the above providers, look up the network online. Most likely, they offer their own subscription, like HBO Now, to access their shows at a lower price than paying for a cable package.