About 34% of American adults spend between $51 and $100 on cable TV. Over 50% of US consumers spend more than a hundred bucks on this service. With so many cheap alternatives to cable TV in the United States, the habits are starting to change.
In the past few years, as a result, millions of people have decided to cut the cord and seek other options. If you plan on doing the same thing, look no further! Here, at ProMoneySavings, our team of financial experts has put together the ultimate list of 20+ smart cable television replacements.
Table of Contents
- 1 Go Local With An Antenna
- 2 Watch Primetime Shows Online
- 3 Consider Your Local Library
- 4 Premium Cable Channel Online Subscriptions
- 5 Netflix
- 6 Amazon Prime Video
- 7 Apple TV+
- 8 Hulu or Hulu With Live TV
- 9 Roku Player or Roku TV
- 10 Amazon Fire Stick or Amazon Fire TV Cube
- 11 Sling TV
- 12 Philo
- 13 YouTube (FREE) or YouTube TV (PAID)
- 14 Spectrum TV
- 15 Vudu
- 16 AT&T Now
- 17 fuboTV
- 18 Xfinity by Comcast
- 19 Kodi or Plex
- 20 Tubi TV
- 21 How Much Money Are We Saving By Cutting Cable TV?
- 22 Do You Need The Internet To Use The Best Alternatives To Cable TV?
- 23 Why Getting Rid Of Cable Will Change Your Life
- 24 Summary On Good Alternatives To Cable Television
Go Local With An Antenna
Consider buying an antenna for a one-time fee of only $20, as a very affordable alternative to a cable TV. Some of the reasons why you should consider his option? Our top picks are having no monthly subscription fees and having the channels available in your area.
Also, the OTA signal (over-the-air) is the one that endures more during bad weather, so in such conditions, you will remain TV connected. Also, the picture and sound quality are excellent and the better the position of the antenna, the more channels you will get.
So, for millions of Americans, the antenna is the best way to save on cable and internet.
Watch Primetime Shows Online
In times when you want to cut on the cable TV subscription money and watch TV programs for free, you can turn to the internet. There is an abundance of online television programs, and some of them are entirely free.
You can watch ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX free of charge. They offer the same program as on TV. Just remember, if you are hooked on some of their shows, they are usually behind with the episodes. Still, looking at the bright side – you get to save money.
If you can get free internet in libraries or coffee shops, you basically won’t spend a dollar on television entertainment.
Consider Your Local Library
Looking for cheap alternatives to cable TV? Well, your local library can be of much help in your attempt to save money, and cut on cable TV. Libraries nowadays have a lot of movies and TV shows on DVD. The membership is completely free, and with a membership card, you can rent the DVDs for an indefinite period or buy used DVDs with your favorite movies and shows.
Also, some libraries have teamed up with Kanopy (a streaming platform that mostly offers documentaries and international movies). As a result, they provide a wide range of movies to their members, free of charge. Each library determines the number of movies a single member can watch. The limit usually ranges between 3 and 20 per month.
Premium Cable Channel Online Subscriptions
Until recently, the only way you could watch HBO, Showtime, and Starz was by add-on subscriptions on cable packages. Now, these premium channels have their own online streaming services, that cost from $9 to $15 a month. The services below are among the smartest ways of getting local channels without cable in 2020.
- HBO Now – with a monthly subscription of $14.99 is ad-free, and with the HBO Now VR app, you can watch the shows in virtual reality.
- Showtime – you can get it for $11 per month, or $9 per month if you buy it through Amazon Prime and Hulu. With Showtime, you will be able to watch all shows as with a cable TV, plus their original shows.
- Starz – for $9 per month, you can get this without a pay-TV subscription, just like HBO and Showtime. Movies, shows, and documentaries are all available.
- Cinemax On Demand – a good selection of Hollywood hits and original television shows available online. You can get it as an individual service for $15 per month or boost other packages with it for $13.99 per month.
- CBS All Access – offers a subscription of $6 per month with ads or $10 per month without ads. This is a cordless service that still gives you the same program as on the cable TV.
- Disney+ – has the option for a $7 per month subscription or $70 annual subscription. This is a perfect option to watch Disney production movies that are suitable for families with kids.
- ESPN+ – for all the sports fans out there, we got you covered. For $5 per month or $50 per year, you can watch baseball and hockey games, college sports or rugby, and cricket.
When writing about the best streaming device to replace cable, we must mention the king of them all – Netflix!
The brand has undoubtedly become the go-to place to watch all your favorite movies and shows. Netflix focuses on increasing content as well as producing their own. There are a variety of categories you can choose from, including kids’ programs, documentaries, and tons of movies and TV shows. The first trial month is for free, and then there are subscription models you can choose from.
The basic subscription is $8.99 a month, where there is no limit on watching and downloading movies and shows, but only on one device. The standard one at $12.99 a month is the same as the basic one. The improvements here are HD picture quality, and two supported devices. Premium subscription at $15.99 a month. It comes with HD and Ultra HD quality and supports up to four devices at the same time.
Amazon Prime Video
The answer to ‘what is the best alternative to cable?” is quite simple for Amazon Primer members. Namely, Amazon Prime purchasing customers can use the same subscription for the Amazon Prime Video. Otherwise, you can subscribe to the service separately for $9 per month. This service has tons of original shows, and it’s available on Google Chromecast and Android TV devices.
With Amazon Prime Video, you have access to a library with a variety of content and original products. Another benefit of this service? If you want to watch something not featured on Prime but available through Amazon, you can rent it. This also includes the option to download a single episode of a TV series.
Apple TV Plus has few movies and shows to offer since it only recently launched. However, the service has been continuously working on increasing on-demand content. This is an excellent alternative to cable television and a smart hack to save money since the monthly subscription is only $4.99. With such rates, the service is quickly becoming among the most popular alternatives to cable TV.
With Apple TV+, you also have the Apple TV Channels option. It facilitates the users’ subscription to other channels such as HBO and Showtime from the same app. Another important thing is that you do not need an Apple TV box to get Apple content on your TV. Instead, you can stream on Samsung Smart TVs, and soon on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony, and Vizio sets too.
Hulu or Hulu With Live TV
Are you wondering how to get free premium cable channels alongside unique content? If so, think Hulu! The service offers various subscription plans, depending on what you want to see. You have the option to download shows from its streaming service, but only if you have subscribed to the ads-free plan. See below the different plans:
- Basic – this plan has on-demand content and ads. The monthly subscription is $6.
- No-ads – this is the same as the basic plan, but without ads, and the monthly subscription is $12.
- Bundle – includes ESPN+ and live sports, Disney+, and on-demand content, but it is ad-supported. The monthly subscription plan is $13.
- Live TV – has more than 60 live channels and on-demand content with ads at the cost of $55 per month.
You have a 30-day free trial for all packages, apart from the Live TV 7-day trial period. To have this service, you need to register online, choose the plan and payment method, and you are all set up.
Roku Player or Roku TV
No more wondering, “what are the alternative to cable TV and satellite”! Roku is here to solve all your problems with its innovative concept.
Roku Express+ is a small box that you connect it with your TV through an HDMI cable. With it, you will be able to watch some premium channels like Netflix, HBO, Showtime and BBC iPlayer, for $29.99. The best part is that you only pay it once, there is no monthly subscription. You will also receive a composite cable which works with older TVs.
Some disadvantages may be that there are advertisements since Roku is supported by them. Roku TV, on the other hand, costs between $49.99 and $99.00. With Freeview Play already installed, you will enjoy the best shows live and on-demand for free. It comes with more than 70 television channels, 15 HD channels, and 7 on-demand players.
Amazon Fire Stick or Amazon Fire TV Cube
Just like Roku, the Amazon Fire Stick plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. This petite streaming device provides you with over 500,000 TV shows and movies to enjoy. It’s become a widely popular and effective way to watch free premium TV. Some of the premium channels that come with the Fire Stick are Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, etc.
This device comes equipped with 8 GB of internal storage, 1080p video, and Dolby 5.1 surround sound. As a remote control, you get Alexa, which is voice-activated. You can also download the Fire TV app. This model currently goes for $39.99. However, Amazon offers a 4K option as well for $49.99. There is also a bundle with the 4K Fire Stick and Echo Dot, priced at $79.98. It gives you hands-free control over Alexa, along with 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10 pictures.
With these two, you don’t have to bother with looking for the cheapest cable television provider near me. Amazon will get you everything you need right to your doorstep!
Sling Television has been providing Americans with over-the-top internet TV ever since 2015. This is an excellent solution for anyone who wants to cut the cord and already pays for the internet. Sling TV has a selection of local channels alongside OTT services. Streaming can happen through mobile apps, smart TVs, and digital media players.
Many consider Sling to be the perfect addition to popular online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, rather than a genuine alternative to cable TV. Still, Americans can make the most out of it even without other programs. Depending on the package, Orange (CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Disney Channel) or Blue (Fox, Syfy, NBC, FX), you can get 32 or 47 channels. Each plan costs $30 per month while getting a bundle is $40 per month. The service has lots of add-ons, whose monthly bill ranges from $5 to $15.
What is the cheapest way to get cable TV, you may wonder! Well, Philo might be just the right answer. With a no-contract subscription of only $20, you get a 7-day free trial along with 59 channels to relish in.
The real reason why Philo is so cheap? It’s because it doesn’t work with companies like Walt Disney or NBCUniversal. They usually charge streaming platforms a massive amount for the use of their channels. Yet, Philo manages to provide a vast assortment of more cost-effective suppliers.
Getting Philo is very simple. To sign up, you need a phone number/email address. Your payment info gets collected after the end of the trial. You can watch Philo on both Mac & Windows. Other devices include Apple TV+, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, as well as iOS and Android.
Other great features at hand include:
- DVR cloud with unlimited storage. Saves the recordings of your favorite shows and movies up to 30 days.
- Availability to stream on 3 devices at the same time.
YouTube (FREE) or YouTube TV (PAID)
In the past 15 years, YouTube has managed to convert itself from a website with hilarious cat videos to a significant and serious content provider. The video-streaming platform has both a free and paid version.
With a monthly fee of $49.99, YouTube TV provides its consumers with a place to stream movies & tv shows, on up to 6 accounts. Upon registering, you get a week-long free trial to enjoy. It’s equipped with tons of channels, like ABC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, BBC America, and so on.
Moreover, YouTube TV gives you a cloud with unlimited storage! Here, you can keep all the DVR recordings of your favorite shows, for 9 months. A big downside of YouTube TV is the lack of the HBO channels bundle or any Viacom channels. Some non-skippable ads will eventually play. Still, it remains a great strategy on how to save money on cable bill.
This is another service that enables Americans to watch on-demand and live shows, as well as DVR on a budget. To work, the product requires any Wi-Fi connection. With it, you can watch tons of popular channels at home or on the move.
Consumers get to sort the channels by number or name. Plus, they can use the valuable search feature to find anything within seconds. Spectrum TV has various plans, with the cheapest Spectrum TV Essentials starting at $14.99 per month. To be able to subscribe to this service, clients must be Spectrum Internet users. Either way, you won’t need a same day loan to deal with your entertainment costs.
The cheapest plan has over 60 channels and thousands of on-demand movies and television shows. Some included channels are Hallmark Channel, Discovery, Animal Planet, Food Network, BBC America, and Lifetime.
Owned by Walmart, this inexpensive alternative to cable TV has a mesmerizing selection of content to stream. When you sign up, you get a 30-day free trial as a welcome. One of the best features offered by the site is that you pay for only what you watch. Besides a vast array of movies & TV shows available, Vudu has a massive assortment of free content to enjoy. The only catch about the free content is that you must sit through a couple of short-timed ads.
You can find Vudu almost everywhere! This includes smart TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming devices like Apple TV+, Roku, Blu-Ray players. Android, iOS, and Microsoft devices are supported too! However, since there isn’t a flat rate set, frequent consumers may end up having to pay a larger sum of money than they would with Netflix.
Formerly known as DIRECTV NOW, this streaming platform is a popular choice among fresh cord-cutters. With deals that start at $65, AT&T Now is a direct no-contract replacement for cable or dish TV. When first signing up, you get a 7-day free trial.
The featured packages:
- PLUS – the cheapest package at hand, that costs $65 a month. It comes with over 45 channels, and HBO is included.
- MAX – $80 a month. You have 60+ channels at your disposal, along with included HBO and Cinemax.
The rest of the packages range between $93 and $135, and the highest assortment of channels is over 120. AT&T also offers international packages. The Brazilian and Korean bundles are $30. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese one is $20. The premium networks cost between $5 (Movies Extra Pack), $6 (Epix) and $11 (Showtime and Starz).
Do you want to learn how to save money on cable TV and internet? Are you a soccer fan? Then you should know that fuboTV is the real MVP in the video-streaming game. Besides its sports focus, fubo offers a selection of 144 channels. It’s available on Apple TV+, Roku, iOS and Android phones & tablets, Windows and Mac, and Amazon Fire.
Fubo has three package deals to choose from:
- Family – $59.99 a month and 7-day free trial. It comes with 63 4K channels, 500 hours of cloud DVR storage, and can be streamed on three devices at the same time.
- Ultra – $79.99 a month. This package is equipped with 131 4K channels. The fubo Extra bundle, with 38 entertainment channels, along with Showtime. It also has 500 hours of DVR space and can be streamed on three screens at once. However, it doesn’t come with a free trial.
- Fútbol Trimestral – $19.99 a month. 27 4K channels, along with 500 hours DVR space and a free trial. With this package, you can stream on two devices simultaneously.
Xfinity by Comcast
What’s Xfinity exactly? The service markets itself as digital cable television, Internet, and home phone. Xfinity enters the picture when you wonder how to save money on cable TV and Internet in my area. Their “Entertainment, Everywhere” plan provides a fast connection and television on all your screens. It costs $65 per month and includes local news alongside live sporting events.
Xfinity by Comcast has individual offers, as well as tons of bundles and special promotions. For example, it has plans designed for students, military, and businesses. The brand offers a customer guarantee too.
As for the streaming service, it prides itself on DVR, on-demand, 4K Ultra HD, and the Xfinity Sports Zone. We must mention the Voice Remote that gives additional convenience alongside the Xfinity Stream app.
Kodi or Plex
Do you wonder how to watch TV without cable or satellite? Well, think of Kodi or Plex! Both Kodi and Plex are reliable and popular options. So, we mustn’t exclude either of the brands.
Kodi is an open-source home theater software. The platform boasts a responsive design, which perfectly works on any screen size. Kodi was initially released back in 2004 and currently supports various operating systems, including Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux. The service goes beyond movies and television shows. Instead, it supports streaming music and photos too. While the basic service is completely free of charge, users can purchase add-ons. Some of these include languages, audio decoders, and various plugins.
Plex, on the other hand, is a service that enables the streaming of movies, TV, podcasts, music, web shows, and more. The software lets clients to organize and stream their personal collections, but also to subscribe to Lite TV and DVR. Plus, Plex comes with over 1000 free movies and television shows too. To get the most out of Plex, you’ll need the Plex Pass. It costs $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription. Plex works on a range of devices, both desktop, and mobile.
Based in San Francisco, California, Tubi TV has been providing quality television to Americans ever since 2014. Tubi is a free service whose business model relies on ads. These are unskippable and shown during commercial breaks. With its movie and television show offer of over 15,000 titles, Tubi is actually the largest independently owned US video service.
For those looking for free options, Tubi television is undoubtedly the best way to reduce cable TV bill. Plus, the platform is available anytime and anywhere. Meaning, you can access it using your smart TV, laptop, smartphone, or tablet device. Some of the supported devices, besides Android and iOS, include Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation, and Roku.
So, as long as you don’t mind watching ads once in a while, this is the cheapest option out there. It comes with no contract and no tricks. You just register and watch.
How Much Money Are We Saving By Cutting Cable TV?
Cable and satellite television are slowly dying out, with over 25% of Americans expected to cancel such services by 2023. Pay-TV simply doesn’t make sense for the younger generations that are always on the move and saving cash whenever possible.
On average, getting rid of the cord can save a US household about $1,200 per year. The exact amount can drastically vary depending on what inexpensive alternative to cable TV you’re going for. So, let’s make some price comparison and give you an idea of what to expect.
The average cable television bills are about $100 a month, but there are more expensive packages too. Going for the simplest option – HD antenna – will cost you a one-time investment of about $20. That’s it, you just buy that one product, install it, and you’re good to go. Almost $1,200 will remain in your pocket within a year. Learn how to lower electric bill costs and get rid of the cable to save even more cash per year.
The situation with streaming services that require an Internet connection is a bit more complicated. Americans pay, on average, from $35 to over $100 for the Internet every month. So, if you already pay for this, you shouldn’t consider it an additional expense and vice versa. The services start at under $10 and can go up to $60. The exact price often depends on the chosen package and the number of supported devices. Still, they are good alternatives to cable television and cheaper too.
Do You Need The Internet To Use The Best Alternatives To Cable TV?
This depends on what do you want to watch. If local channels like CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC are your thing, you can survive without the Internet. The best course of action in this scenario would be to invest in an HD antenna. Just set it up, scan for channels, and enjoy your free television.
If you own a DVD player, you can always watch movies on it without needing a connection to the Internet. This, however, won’t do the trick for people who enjoy watching the news or the latest TV shows.
As for the best cable TV alternatives in 2020 like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime – they all require the Internet. Still, with the average price for Internet Americans pay monthly ranging from $35 to $60, that’s not too bad.
Plus, most US households already have some kind of Internet subscription. With a strong connection, you can always try that home-based business idea you’ve always had your mind on. Meaning, this won’t hurt their budget significantly.
Why Getting Rid Of Cable Will Change Your Life
The primary focus of this article is to help our readers save money. In that regard, cutting the cord makes sense financially. After all, the average monthly cost for cable and satellite television moves around the $100 mark. In contrast, most cable television alternatives in 2020 cost between $10 and $30. Meaning, even with the internet costs, they’re the cheaper option.
You get much more than guaranteed monthly savings, though. Cable TV is simply outdated, and more and more Americans are abandoning the concept. It’s not the worst, but there are much better options anyway. Online streaming services are easy to operate, give you much more freedom, and better quality. They remove the endless browsing of channels and let you start your favorite movie within a few clicks.
There are other benefits too! You can record, pause, or fast forward anytime you wish. Multi-device access is also supported. Meaning, you’re not obliged to watch TV only at your home. Instead, you take your television in your pocket every time you leave the house. The cherry on top seems to be the dynamic program guides. These come with live videos, pictures, and short summaries that are much more attractive than the plain text guides of cable TV.
Summary On Good Alternatives To Cable Television
All in all, Americans have access to some amazingly cheaper alternatives to cable. So, you shouldn’t think twice about ditching your cable and going for a smarter option.
If you love famous and progressive TV shows, Netflix is the first service to come to mind. If you don’t bother with TV all that much, then a simple HD antenna will do the trick, as well. Either way, there’s no need to waste hundreds of dollars on cable television every month.
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Frequently Asked Questions
alternatives / Amazon / Apple / AT&T / cable tv / Hulu / money saving tips / Netflix / YouTube
12 thoughts on “Best and Cheapest Alternatives to Cable TV”
There are no better alternatives than Youtube and Netflix
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Foo!
Hulu Basic is good. If you have money just choose a better subscription plan and that will be your best choice!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Cable TV is a kind of old school but I like it. The main thing that I like the most is stability in everything
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
There are no alternatives!!!
I don’t think so but thanks for your thoughts!
Alternatively, you can use “BCE Premium TV” live sports streaming services. We are using it for a long time, They have 100+ premium sports HD channels and Sky Sports and BT Sport channels are available as well.
Thank you for sharing your own expertise!
Thanks for this post! I’ve been looking for cable television alternatives for quite some time now. I’m definetly thinking about canceling and subscribing to amazon prime video or some other cheaper service.
Good choice. Thanks!