5 Simple Ways to Cut Cable and Still Watch TV
I’ve written before about finally cutting my cable television, and I still receive some questions about which services are good to use as a cable substitute. Remember, it’s been over two I decided to put together five services that anyone could use in place of their cable television package. Please be aware that if you love watching and recording a lot of different shows, or you really enjoy your sports package, then these services will not be for you. You have to justify which services you want and which ones you need. There are also many more than just five services, but these are what I have used or currently use.
Netflix is the largest video streaming service out there at this time. It provides a huge library of old movies, new movies, documentaries, current television shows, and children’s programming. Netflix offers two packages that allow you to stream only or stream and receive dvd’s. The cheapest option is to just stream content, which is $7.99. If you want to add DVD’s to your plan, you can get them for another $7.99 per month. You can have 1 DVD out at a time, but their is no limit to how many you can watch per month. Netflix can be streamed on a multitude of devices, such as Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Roku, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Computers, Tablets, Smartphones, Smart TVs, some blu-ray players, and many other internet connected devices. The downfall of Netflix is that they are slower to get current content, so you usually have to wait to the end of the season to watch you favorite TV shows.
Hulu Plus is the big brother to the Hulu, which is a free service that you can stream movies and TV shows via your computer or tablet. Hulu Plus is similar to Netflix, where you can stream movies and television shows to your TV. Hulu Plus does have many current TV shows on ABC, NBC, Comedy Central, MTV, and many others. You can usually find the latest episode on Hulu Plus a day or two after it aires. This is a great option for people who do not want to wait the whole season to show up on Netflix. You can stream unlimited shows and movies for $7.99 per month. You can stream content on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Computers, Tablets, Smartphones, and Smart TVs, as well as most of the devices that support Netflix. You can stream a lot of content for free via Hulu, but you can only do this via your computer or tablet. Both Hulu and Hulu plus are supported with ads.
Amazon is the late player to the video streaming industry, but you can’t hold down the 800lb gorilla that Amazon is. They are quickly adding new content to their streaming service that is a part of their Amazon Prime membership. For $80 per year or about $6.66 per month, Amazon Prime provides members with free two-day shipping on Amazon.com orders and unlimited streaming of thousands of tv shows and movies. You can stream Amazon Prime content on the Kindle Fire, Playstation, Smart TVs, Computers, Tablets, Blu-ray players, and many other internet connected devices. They even have their own streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick (what I use). Currently, Amazon is the cheapest options when prices out over the year, but it still has a lot to do in order to add more content. If you are already an Amazon Prime member, then start streaming their content onto your television.
PlayOn is a service that is a little different than the others listed above. It takes a little more to setup, but offers a great selection of streaming content. You can purchase Playon for $39.99 per year. PlayOn works by downloading the service onto a computer, which then allows you to stream content to one of their supported devices. Currently, you can stream using Chromecast, Roku, Playstation, Wii, or Xbox. Your computer acts like a media center that is pulling in the content, which then streams it directly to your device, which is hooked up to your television. PlayOn currently supports streaming of Netflix, Hulu/Hulu Plus, Youtube, ESPN, ABC, and more than 40 of your favorite channels. If you have a computer that meets their minimum requirements, then PlayOn is one of the best ways to cut your cable completely. PlayOn is also the first service to include an online DVR called PlayLater. One of the coolest features is you can skip ads!!
Over the Air Antenna
The old tried and true method to get TV channels is to use an over the air antenna. Most flat screen televisions can be hooked up to an antenna with little to no work. All you have to do is plug it in and search for the channels on your television. I use a combo of Netflix and an over the air antenna. I recommend the Mohu Leaf as it is relatively small, sleek, and cheap. There are many great antenna’s that you can purchase for your television, but you need to make sure that you can receive over the air broadcasts at your location. Check out AntennaWeb.org to see which channels you will receive at your home with an antenna. The main reward for using an antenna is the cost. They are relatively cheap, depending on the model you choose, and there are no monthly fees. What can be better than no monthly fees? Check out Amazon for great reviews on antennas.
I just picked up a new antenna from Mohu called the Sky 60. I’m in the process of hooking this one up in my attic and it will connect all our TVs with an amplifier. It’s going to be awesome and I won’t have to deal with multiple OTA antennas hooked up on each television. Woot!
Instead of just five ways to cut cable, I forgot to add another service I have tested and used in the past. It’s Sling TV (here’s a 7-day free trial), which is owned by Dish Network. It’s an internet streaming service that allows you to watch live TV as it happens on a handful of channels, such as ESPN, TNT, HGTV, and others. The base package is $20 per month, but there are no contracts and you can cancel at any time. You can even start your service again at any time just online. It’s easy! Make sure to check out my Sling TV review from when I tested the service.
There are countless ways to cut your cable and still be able to watch your favorite television shows. While it might not be as easy as picking up the remote and hitting the power button, it is still relatively easy. Just think how much you can save per month by dumping cable and choosing a cheaper service. I’ve been cable free for almost four years now and it was an excellent decision. While I do get hounded by Time Warner to add cable to my services, I just politely decline unless they can give me some package that equals my internet package price. That would be the only way.
I am currently saving about $60 per month by using my TV antenna along with Netflix and Amazon Prime. That is money back into my pocket or directly into my high-interest savings or Betterment investing accounts. While I only covered five services today, there are others that might work better for you. Check out what is available and see how you can cut your cable bill. Remember, no one needs cable service, but we want it pretty badly. It is all about choosing (and paying for) your priorities.