It’s no secret that cable TV is expensive. In fact, the average American household spends over $100 per month on cable TV alone! There are a lot of different cable alternatives out there, and we will discuss some of the best ones.
We’ll cover everything from streaming services to antennas and everything in between. So whether you’re looking to save money or just want to cut the cord, read on for some great tips!
Cable bills are expensive and you’re paying for channels you don’t even watch. We can help!
There are so many options out there to cut the cord on cable, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we created this guide – so that you have all the information in one place.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for more entertainment or just want an easy way to save money every month – our guide will show you how much money (and time) cutting the cord will save you.
- 6 Inexpensive Cable Alternatives
- 4. Local Libraries
- 5. Audiobooks and Podcast
- 6. Magazines and Newspapers
- Tips in Choosing Your Cable Alternatives
- Final Thoughts
6 Inexpensive Cable Alternatives
Save more bucks with these modern entertainment sites and hacks!
An antenna is a great way to get your local channels without having to pay for cable. You can find antennas that are designed specifically for your area, and they’re usually pretty affordable. And the best part is that the cost of the antenna is your only investment as there are no ongoing fees associated with antennas. Welcome to the days before cable!
Update: Mohu is “the cord cutting company” and sells TV antennas. If you enter your zip code on their website, they will tell you the local TV channels available to you as well as the right antenna you need. Check it out now!
2. Free & Paid Streaming Services
Streaming services are a great way to watch your favorite shows without having to pay for cable. You will need internet access though to use these services as well as a streaming device such as a smart TV, phone, tablet, laptop or TV adapter (ie Firestick, Roku, Apple TV). Below are the free and paid streaming services available in alphabetical order along with their site link for more information or to join, the monthly cost, free options available, and notes including if there is a device limit.
|Name||URL||Monthly Cost||Free Options||# of Devices|
|Amazon Prime Video||amazon.com||$8.99/month; $7.49 for students; $6.99 is receiving government assistance||30-day Free Trial||Unlimited|
|Apple TV||tv.apple.com||$4.99/month||7-day Free Trial||Unlimited|
|DirecTV Now||directv.com||Packages range from $69.99 - $149.99|
|Discovery+||discoveryplus.com||$4.99/month; $6.99 (ad-free)||7-day Free Trial|
|Disney+||disneyplus.com||$7.99/mo or $79.99/year||7-day Free Trial|
|ESPN+||plus.espn.com||$6.99/mo or $69.99/yr|
|Frndly||frndlytv.com||$6.99/Basic; $8.99/Classic; $10.99/Premium||7-day Free Trial||1, 2, 4|
|FuboTV||fubo.tv||$64.99/Starter; $69.99/Pro; $79.99/Elite||7-day Free Trial||Unlimited|
|Hulu||hulu.com||$6.99/month; $12.99 (no ads); $69.99 (+ Live TV)||First Month Free|
|Netflix||netflix.com||Plans range from $9.99 to $19.99/month||30-day Free Trial||Depends on plan|
|Paramount+||paramountplus.com||$4.99/Essential; $9.99/Premium||Some Free Episodes||3|
|Peacock||peacocktv.com||Free Plan; $4.99/Premium; $9.99/Plus (ad free)||No free trial of premium or plus, just free plan|
|Philo||philo.com||$25/month + add-ons available||7-day Free Trial||3 devices; 10 profiles|
|Showtime||showtime.com||$3.99/first 3 months, then $10.99/mo||30-day Free Trial|
|Sling TV||sling.com||$35/Orange; $35/Blue; $50/Orange & Blue||7-day Free Trial||1-3 devices|
|Starz||starz.com||$5/first 3 months then $8.99/mo||None|
|YouTube||tv.youtube.com||$49.99/first 3 months then $64.99/mo||2-week Free Trial||6 accounts|
Totally Free TV Apps
The below free streaming options are all free and legal. Stay away from some of the shady options out there that stream pirated content.
- Crackle (classic TV shows, films & original series)
- Crunchyroll (Japanese content, anime)
- IMDb TV (formerly known as Freedive and owned by Amazon, this is our favorite)
- NewsON (local and national news)
- PBS Kids (educational content for kids)
- Pluto TV (classic TV, movies, and sports channels)
- Popcornflix (action, sci-fi, horror)
- Roku (movies, TV series; do not need Roku device to download app)
- Tubi TV (FOX TV series, Paramount & MGM movies)
- Twitch (video games, esports)
- Xumo (major network news, action movies, comedies)
We will continue to add new streaming services as we find them. If we are missing any, please contact us to add.
Ways To Save On Paid Streaming Services
Free Trial Offers
Most of the paid streaming services offer a free trial period ranging from seven days to a full month. If there is a particular series you are interested in (most services offer their very own exclusive content), sign up for a free trial and binge-watch that series before your free trial ends. You will probably need to use a debit or credit to sign up for the service, so be sure to cancel the service before the trial is actually over so your card is not charged.
You can also re-sign up again later for another free trial offer using a different email address and a different debit/card. This may not be ethical, but it isn’t illegal. Free email addresses are available in many places including Gmail by Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail. And if you need a new debit/credit number, you might as well take advantage of these free bank bonus money offers.
Split The Bill
You hear of several people using other people’s usernames and passwords to watch different streaming services, thus why some services have now implemented device limits so only so many people can be watching the service at the same time. But with so many services available, the chances are pretty slim that everyone wants to watch the same thing, so split the bill with someone! Or what we do is pay for one service and our kids pay for another service, and we share the username/passwords. Therefore we each pay for one service but have two to choose from.
Free Network TV Apps
Many networks that you would regularly watch on cable have their own apps available where you can watch the shows that have previously aired, usually the next day. Here are the top free network TV apps.
- A&E Network (Biographies and Classics)
- Game Show Network (Family Feud, Catch 21, Cash Cab)
- Hallmark Channel (Cheesy Romantic Movies)
- History Channel (American Pickets, The Food That Built America)
- HGTV (Flip or Flop, Love It or List It, House Hunters, Property Brothers)
- Lifetime (Married At First Sight, Little Women, Bring It!, Dance Moms, etc)
- TLC (90 Days Finance, Sister Wives, Dr. Pimple Popper, My 600 lb. Life)
- Vice TV (Small Town Secrets, Danny’s House, Counter Space)
Our Favorite Paid Streaming Services
Here are the top streaming services that we personally have used or currently use and recommend. Combine with free options and/or share a service, and content will be at your disposal.
Amazon Prime Video offers a lot of great movies and TV shows, as well as exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else for $8.99 per month. If you upgrade to the full Amazon Prime Membership, the price is $14.99 per month ($139 per year) and includes free shipping on your Amazon orders as well as exclusive Amazon deals just for Prime members. If you are a student, you can join for $7.49 per month ($69 per year) or if you are an EBT, Medicaid, or other select government assistance recipient, you can join for $6.99 per month (must verify by uploading SNAP or other verification). Check out Amazon Prime Video today!
Priced at only $4.99 per month, Apple TV is the best bang for your buck as it can be streamed across multiple devices at once. The best part is that if you buy any additional movies or music from iTunes, they will be available on all devices! Get three months free when you buy specific Apple devices or grab some used or refurbished Apple TV devices on eBay to have one in every room! Check out Apple TV today!
DirecTV Now is a streaming service from AT&T and is probably the closest option to being like cable but can also get pricey if you get the more extensive packages. But it does offers a large selection of channels, including local channels in some areas. Check out DirecTV today! Or keep reading for a possible better option…
FuboTV is another close alternative to cable and is slightly cheaper than DirecTV [priced at $64.99 per month for the Starter package, $69.99 per month for the Pro package, and $79.99 for the Elite package. Programming includes live sports and local television stations and can be streamed on unlimited devices (which DirectTV does not). Check out FuboTV today!
Netflix is the most popular streaming service and for good reason. They have a huge selection of movies and TV shows to choose from including original thrillers like Ozark, Stranger Things, Squid Game,Money Heist and hundreds others. Like most streaming services, Netflix offers a generous one-month free trial so that you can try it before you commit. The plans range from $9.99 to $19.99 per month and there is a limited amount of devices per plan (see below for Netflix plan pricing).
Paramount Plus offers an essential package for only $4.99 per month. As long as you don’t mind a few commercial ads, there really is no reason to upgrade to the $9.99 per month premium package, plus you can have it streaming on three different devices at once. I highly recommend the series “1883”, the prequel to Yellowstone. Check out Paramount Plus today!
If you ever need to cancel any streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, click here for step-by-step instructions to do so.
4. Local Libraries
Your local library is a great place to find movies and TV shows, both new and old. It offers a wide variety of content, and you can usually find something to watch for free. Check out this article from PCMag that shows you how to stream movies and TV for free through your local library using the Hoopla, Kanopy and OverDrive apps.
You library may also have DVDs or BluRays available to check out, and if they are really old school may even have Beta or VHS tapes. But then that means you’ll need a means to play those items on.
5. Audiobooks and Podcast
No time to sit down and watch TV? Audiobooks and podcasts are a great way to stay entertained while you’re on the go whether you are driving or jogging. You can find a wide variety of content and they’re usually free.
Just be sure to download your shows ahead of time, so you don’t use up all your data!
6. Magazines and Newspapers
Magazines and newspapers are a great way to stay up-to-date on current events. They’re also a great way to pass the time, whether you’re waiting in line or taking a break from work and technology, and may be the only source of content for you should the internet or power go out.
Tips in Choosing Your Cable Alternatives
And if you’re still not sure where to put your bucks among these cable alternatives, here are some tips:
- If you want a wide variety of channels, DirecTV Now is a great option.
- Looking for local channels? Check out Sling TV or YouTube TV.
- If you’re wanting to stick with just Netflix and Hulu, those are both great options that offer a lot of content.
Just remember, there are a lot of great options out there for cord-cutters. With a little bit of research, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you!
Now that you have a variety of cable alternatives to choose from, start enjoying these shows through your chosen cable alternatives!
There are so many great cable alternatives out there, and we hope this guide has helped you find the perfect one for you. With a little research and some trial and error, you’ll be well on your way to saving money and enjoying your favorite shows without cable. Happy watching!