Channels not working, random outages, huge surprise bills you swear are double what you agreed to when you signed up—grrr, cable can be a total pain. Thankfully, we’re no longer chained to cable providers in order to get our entertainment. There are plenty of cable alternatives that allow us to watch the latest movies and our favorite TV shows on our phones, tablets, computers and TVs without hidden fees and pricey contracts. There are actually an overwhelmingly amount of options to choose from these days, so we’ve listed our favorites below. The good news is you get to choose which one best fits your budget and entertainment appetite.
If you’re all about the basics, a one-time purchase of an HD antenna should suit you just fine. These are fairly inexpensive and allow you to watch your favorite local TV channels live including CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. This means that you’ll still be able to watch the Oscars, Grammy Awards, local news, sports and—more importantly—your precious Bachelor, assuming you can get home from work in time to watch it live!
APPLE TV OR ROKU STREAMING STICK
Along with a solid internet connection, you’ll need a way to stream shows and movies on your TV if you don’t have a Smart TV. Both Apple TV and the Roku Streaming Stick are great options. A Roku Streaming Stick has the extra bonus of being portable so you can take it with you when you travel and plug it into your laptop or hotel room TV.
Hulu is awesome. You’re able to stream and watch your favorite TV shows, Hulu Originals and movies whenever you want. Hulu basic is $7.99/month, but the $11.99/month option comes without commercials (yay!). Hulu also recently launched Hulu with Live TV, which allows you to record live TV with up to 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage, watch live and on-demand TV from over 50 channels including sports, news and local channels and still get access to Hulu’s full streaming library. Hulu with Live TV is $39.99, or if you don’t want commercials, $43.99. You’ve got other options too. Add on an extra 200 hours of Cloud DVR storage and fast forward through commercials on recorded shows for $14.99/month or watch different shows and movies on as many devices as you want for $14.99. If you’re looking for premium channels, you can add Showtime for $8.99, Cinemax for $9.99 and HBO for $14.99.
For $35/month you can watch shows from over 50 mainstream networks like ABC, NBC, Adult Swim, TCM, TBS, TNT (sports!!) the Travel Channel, Bravo and many of your other favorites using YouTube TV. If you’re not able to catch the shows live, you can record as many as you want for up to 9 months. Showtime, Shudder, SundanceTV and Fox Soccer Plus are also available for an additional $5-$15/month. Heads up: the price for YouTube TV is going up mid-March, so be sure to sign up by March 13 in order to get in on the $35/month deal.
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can watch thousands of movies and TV shows for free. Just go to the Watch section of your account to scroll through the many options of movies and shows. You can also add additional premium channels like HBO ($14.99/month), Cinemax ($9.99/month) and Showtime ($8.99/month).
Have you cut the cable cord? Give us the scoop on your favorite cable alternatives in the comments below!