Alternatives to cable TV are becoming more popular than ever. Are you one of those who are looking for ways to save money spent on cable? It’s time for you to unsubscribe to cable and hop on the online streaming wagon now.
I’ve grown up on cable TV and as great as it was, it is super expensive. Now that I’ve grown up and have to foot the cable bills myself, it honestly doesn’t even feel worth it anymore. Like most people, I despise the monthly cable bill even though I do enjoy watching television. The general contempt for cable bill, however, has brought up a bunch of alternatives for the ancient entertainment technology.
The average American pays approximately $100 every month for cable tv which if you add up, is about $1,200 yearly. According to a source, 22 million Americans switched from cable to streaming services in 2017 that are much cheaper than cable tv services.
Over time, people without even realizing have adopted the new age online streaming alternatives, while officially dropping cable and satellite tv for good. Unlike cable and satellite television, you don’t have to miss any episode or any scene of your favorite show. These streaming services allow you to watch your favorite series and movies, however, wherever and whenever you want to and without annoying ads.
Today, the streaming market has grown so vast that it is difficult to choose which service we should subscribe to?
For being considered a better and cheaper alternative to cable tv, a streaming service has to be affordable as compared to the cost of cable tv with the availability of more programs to watch. Luckily there are a lot of options that fit perfectly in budget and offer ample amount of entertaining material.
I ditched cable tv 6 years ago after realizing I didn’t want to watch countless advertisements. I was paying around $90/month for a cable connection which I didn’t even like to watch. The commercial space each program had irritated me so much, that I opted for watching Redbox DVDs instead.
Here are some online streaming services whose collective subscription charges will cost you less than your yearly cable or satellite tv bill.
This is my personal favorite and most preferred streaming alternative of cable tv. This is the primary online streaming provider used by a large population across the globe.
Netflix has a wide variety of shows and movies in different languages to choose from in full HD. If you check, Netflix currently houses thousands of series, documentaries, movies, and stand-up comedy specials by renowned comedians that are all available to viewers worldwide.
The best part is, Netflix also keeps coming up with a lot of original content that has been critically acclaimed all over the world.
Shows like Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Orange is the New Black, Narcos, 13 Reasons Why, and more boost the online streaming giant’s clientel along with some old and new content.
Netflix’s subscription plans are quite reasonable starting from $8.99/month and goes up to $15.99/month for multiple users. The first month’s subscription is free and you can cancel your subscription as and when you like which is great if you just want to try it.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime membership is one of the most fulfilling subscriptions in my opinion. When you purchase this membership, not only do you have access to the perks of shopping on Amazon with Prime, but you also can access Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime Music and more.
The yearly subscription costs $119 a year and the monthly subscriptions cost $8.99 only.
Amazon Prime Video has content from over the world and they also produce and avail original content to their subscribers. Their vast collection of series and movies in full HD is commendable.
Netflix and amazon prime videos are each other’s strongest competitors today. To stay in the race they both are now producing quality video content like never before.
For some, having just a Netflix and Amazon subscription is enough because the amount of entertaining content these two portals possess is fantastic. You always have something to watch, and Amazon updates new content every few months.
This is one of the best alternative for network shows. Hulu releases their own content, growing their library more and more each year. Their stuff is very entertaining and fresh.
One of my favorite Hulu original series is ‘The Act’. Unlike most streaming services, Hulu has lowered its cost which makes this streaming company the most affordable cable tv substitutes.
Hulu’s streaming plans start at only $5.99/month and go up to $44.99/month.
Youtube is a free video streaming source that has the largest library than any other streamer. It has free content that you can watch anytime and anywhere.
Food shows, documentaries, movies, promos and much more, You name and youtube has it. I use youtube for informational content and free music available on it. Many regional TV channels release their full content on youtube for free to get more exposure.
If you are not a big fan of ads and want access to youtube’s exclusive content library. You can also consider getting youtube’s premium membership. It is available for $11.99/month and with first month free.
Youtube also has many tv-series and movies available for streaming with streaming charges applicable to them.
Like other streaming networks, HBO also has its online streaming available. With the monthly $14.99 subscription HBO gives you access to its library of hit movies, tv-series such as Game of Thrones, and many interesting documentaries.
Apple TV+ app
Apple recently launched a streaming service in competition to other streaming providers.
It starts are $4.99 per month as introductory price after 7 days of free trial.
I have tried it for few days but didn’t got convinced for spending even $4.99 on it yet since the content isn’t enough.
As we all know Apple has surprised us many times in past about their products and quality of services, I believe they deserve a second chance and may be in couple of months. I will watch them for upcoming updates and shows.
For now it’s on hold in my list.
Don’t have a Smart TV?
There are a lot of other streaming services like Roku, FireTv, Sling TV, Philo, Disney+ and more. All of these streaming services function alike and are quite reasonable compared to cable and satellite tv.
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If you don’t own a smart TV and are not a big fan of watching videos on your mobile devices, even then there are many alternatives for cable tv. There are small devices available that can connect to any HD TV and make it a smart TV. Here are some options for you to explore:
Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon fire stick gives an option of downloading and subscribing to many famous cable channels. It acts as your gateway for accessing online streaming services.
Amazon stick now comes with Alexa voice remote, through which you can even control your TV by giving voice commands.
Amazon fire stick is a one-time investment which starts at $39.99. It allows you to watch your favorite content on YouTube and the News app on Fire TV, or Hollywood hits and free TV shows & movies from inbuilt apps such as Pluto TV, Tubi, Sony Crackle, IMDb TV and others without a paid subscription.
I have tried it myself and used for more than a year but remotes are fragile and needs careful handling which is hard at home with kids.
Roku device is similar to Amazon firestick it starts at $29. These Roku devices are simple to set-up and easy-to-use. They come with a simple remote, and powerful features like Roku Search which makes it effortless to find what you want to watch.
Roku devices give you access to 500,000+ movies and TV episodes from top free and paid channels, so you can stream almost anything. Hollywood blockbusters, live tv and sports and a lot of original content are available on Roku.
Stream content from your device to the largest screen in the room with Google Chromecast. This is another smart device that can be an amazing alternative for a regular cable tv connection.
Believe it or not, I was one of the early adopters of google chromecast when it was launched in June 2013. I had an old TV at the time so needed a way to stream youtube from my iPad or iPhone, which was made possible with Google chromecast.
It plugs into any television with an HDMI port, making it easy to cast images and audio to a format everyone can enjoy. Google Chromecast works with a variety of laptops as well as Apple and Android devices.
All you need to do is plug Chromecast into the HDMI port on your TV to power and stream your favorite entertainment right from your phone with just a tap. Watch shows, listen to playlists, and more. And while streaming, you can still use your phone as you normally do.
With Google Chromecast, you can enjoy TV shows, movies, videos, songs, games, sports and more from over 2000 apps like Disney+, Netflix, YouTube, YouTube TV, and HBO.
Why switch to cable tv alternatives?
For starters, as I’ve mentioned earlier, cable and satellite tv are very expensive while their alternatives are quite cost-effective. You could save 100s of dollars every year and if invested appropriately can yield huge returns.
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There are options that allow you to browse through their library of content and choose what you want to watch. They save your time by resuming what you were last watching where you stopped it.
Also, these services are mostly ad-free, which is a big plus for me personally. I hated the ad breaks during entertainment, the run time would be 22 minutes at the most in a 30-minute show, while the ads took up 8 minutes.
Some of these streaming portals (Netflix, Amazon Prime) allow you to download and store some of the shows and movies you want to watch when you are offline. So, you don’t always have to depend on a high-speed WiFi or mobile internet.
A friend of mine lives in a bad reception locality, so she downloads movies and episodes of her favorite shows while at work and watches them offline at home or while commuting.
Today, we have facilities like Smart TVs that gather all the streaming apps in one place. So, if you don’t have a cable connection but still enjoy watching your favorite shows and movies on the big screen, opt for a Smart TV. Services like YouTube, Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ are all available on Smart Tv sets.
Very honestly, these streaming giants have made my life a lot easier. And, if you haven’t already made the switch, I highly recommend you do it right away.
Let us know in the comments below if you made the switch and what your experience has been like. If you have more alternatives to suggest, please feel free to share it with us and our readers.
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