If you're like me, you watch a handful of shows on a handful of channels. Usually on DVR.
Getting hundreds of channels means nothing to you. It means nothing to me.
It's like being at a buffet filled with food you wouldn't eat.
Sure, it's all you can eat, sure, but you don't want to eat it!
I know many of you are like me because one of the most popular money-saving guides is our guide to cutting your cable. It gives you a step-by-step guide to replacing your cable television service with other services. I kept it purposely simple, not recommending a laundry list of services because you're more likely to take action.
Today, I want to offer up options.
If you're a convert to cutting your cable and going with just internet service (if you like sports, sometimes that's all you need!), here is a curated list of options to still get the shows you want.
Besides illegal streaming, SlingTV is easily one of the best alternatives to cable television service.
For $20 a month, their basic package, Best of Live TV, gives you ESPN, AMC, CNN, HGTV, Cartoon Network, History Channel, Disney Channel, ESPN2, TNT, Food Network, TBS, Freeform, Adult Swim, IFC, A&E, El Rey, Viceland, Lifetime, Travel Channel, Newsy, Bloomberg Television, Local Now, Polaris+, Maker, Flama, and Galavision.
If you're one of the few people who watches one of those random ESPN channels all the time (most likely for international soccer), for $5 more you get their Sports Extra package that gets you the SEC Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, BeIn Sports, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Outside TV, and Univision Deportes Network.
How much are you paying for cable today and do you really watch channels outside of those? If the answer is no, consider cutting the cable for this way cheaper alternative that you can watch anywhere you are able to stream. SlingTV supports computers, tablets, Chromecast/Roku/etc, and even the Xbox One.
The best part, you can give it a whirl for free for 7 days.
(curious how they do it? SlingTV is owned by Dish Network, it's not some random startup that'll disappear on you)
Roku is a streaming device you can connect to your television via an HDMI port. It's a one time purchase and one of the cheapest options is a Streaming Stick at under $50. The most expensive is a Roku 4 at $129.99. We recently purchased the Roku 3 (it replaced a defective and underutilized cable box that cost us $13 a month!) and I list this as an option even though it doesn't technically come with service because it offers a great streaming option and some free channels.
After you purchase a Roku device, you can link up all your paid services for us with your TV (great if it's older and doesn't have internet connectivity) plus some free channels including PBS, Crackle, Smithsonian Channel, PBS Kids, CBS News, and more.
You can also purchase HBO Now and Showtime at the regular direct rates. Showtime offers a 2-month trial on Roku.
Roku has no on-going subscription fee, the only cost is the device, which you can usually pick up on sale on Amazon.
I like to watch television shows with a few seasons under their belt. I feel like with a few seasons, the actors can settle into their characters' personalities, there will be a few dozen episodes to enjoy, and a true story can develop.
For that, I usually turn to Netflix, which has a huge library of television shows, movies, and their own original content. At less than ten bucks a month for their basic streaming package, it's insanely cheap and you can stream to nearly any device out there. I have yet to find a device that won't stream Netflix.
If you want to get the most out of your Netflix subscription, you won't want to miss our Netflix hacks.
4. Amazon Video
Amazon Prime is Amazon.com's video streaming service that comes packaged with Amazon Prime, the free shipping membership. Amazon Prime costs $99 per year, or $10.99 per month, which is a fantastic deal if you do a lot of shopping on Amazon. You get free two-day shipping (sometimes free Same-day deliveries too), a slew of other benefits, plus access to their video streaming service which has thousands of free TV shows and movies.
Like Netflix, you can stream it to nearly any device currently available. Amazon also has their Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices.
If you're a big fan of Amazon, you won't want to miss our list of the best Amazon hacks.
Amazon also offers add-on packages that include Starz. You need an Amazon Prime account to get the add-on but they're $8.99 a month after a 7 day free trial.
Hulu is a great service that has a ton of current television shows but Plus is where you get access to an enormous library of content – older shows in syndication like Seinfeld, new original content like The Mindy Project, plus you get limited commercials at $7.99 a month or No Commercials for $11.99 a month.
Showtime is also available as an add-on for Hulu Plus for $8.99 a month.
NBCUniversal's logo, if you look carefully, is a peacock and that's the name of their streaming service, Peacock, which launched on July 15th.
It was available to Comcast subscribers since April 2020 and it has three tiers of service:
- Free – 13,000 hours of content with ads
- Paid – 20,000 hours of content with ads for $4.99 a month, but free to Comcast and Cox subscribers
- Ad-Free – Paid version but without ads, for $10 a month
If you're a fan of shows that appear on NBC as well as Universal movies, this streaming service is for you.
HBO, Showtime & Premium Channels
If you want to pick and choose premium channels, you can always buy a subscription directly from the providers.
For those that have partnerships with other services (like Amazon or Hulu), you'll pay a few bucks more going direct.
You can still get your shows without having to pay ridiculous cable fees for the channels you never watch!