So you “Cut the Cord”… Here are 10 Great Alternatives to Cable

Published on May 16, 2016 by Lauren
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    Lauren Greutman Recovering Spender

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    We live in a great day and age where we can watch television anywhere we want. There are SO MANY options out there outside of paying the enormous cable bill, so today I want to share my favorite alternatives to cable.

    However, please note that I’m not advocating doing ALL of these! If you did, you’d wind up spending more than you were paying for cable. That would be dumb. We currently subscribe to Sling TV, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.  We are switching over to DIRECTV NOW starting next month because we have one AT&T phone and can use the data from that phone to watch for free.

    We stream all of them through a Roku player and love it! We haven’t had cable in our house in 8 years, so my kids don’t know any different.  I thought you may want to know how to cut down your cable bill as well. When you learn how to budget you see that spending hundreds on cable when you don’t have to is a waste of money!

    Here are my Favorite Alternatives to Cable:

    1.) DIRECTV NOW

    DIRECTV NOW is my new favorite! You can stream LIVE and On Demand TV from anywhere for as little as $35 per month PLUS you get your sports channels.

    This is pretty cool, especially if you are an AT&T member. If you’re an AT&T Mobility customer, DIRECTV will pick up the tab for data to help you achieve all your binge-worthy goals. Data Free TV means you won’t use your AT&T mobile data for watching DIRECTV NOW or FreeVIEW in the App. This means that you can watch Direct TV From ANYWHERE for free if you are an AT&T member. (Think long car trips mommas!)

    Some other great features: There is no equipment, no annual contracts, no credit checks, and you can cancel at any time!

    There are 4 Prices/Packages to choose from:

    • Live a Little – $35/month (60+ channels)
    • Just Right – $50/month (80+ channels)
    • Go Big – $60/month (100+ channels)
    • Gotta Have It – $70 / month (120+ channels)

    You can sign up for a free trial and try it out here.

    2.) Sling TV

     You can use Sling to watch LIVE and On Demand TV to your favorite channels.

    Here’s why it’s awesome – you know those 3 or 4 channels that comprise 99% of your cable TV viewing? I bet they’re on Sling.  If your spouse refuses to cancel cable because they need their Football, here is your solution!

    Here’s what they offer for LIVE tv:

    • ESPN
    • ESPN2
    • HGTV
    • Food Network
    • TBS
    • History Channel
    • Cartoon Network
    • Disney Channel
    • CNN
    • TNT
    • many more…

    And you can try it for FREE for a week. If you’ve put off canceling cable because your husband just can’t “give up his sports”, you now have a viable option.
    Try out Sling for FREE

     

    3.) PlayOn Tv

    Sign up for PlayOn TV to try a 30 day limit for Free.  PlayOn TV allows you to record streaming videos and then lets you watch them for free offline. This is a great option for those of you who have limited internet at home or travel frequently.

    PlayOn is a launchpad to all your favorite streaming shows, movies and more from Hulu and Netflix, to Comedy Central, and all the major networks.

    You will instantly get over 100 channels, and there are tons more that you can add along the way. PlayLater is software for your computer or mobile device that records streaming media, saving it to your device for future viewing.  If you already have a streaming device or gaming console, you’ve already got most of the features offered by this software, but for $39.99 for lifetime access, you won’t waste a lot of money trying it out.

    Sign up for a free trial of PlayOn TV here.

    4.) Hulu

    Hulu offers current season tv shows, full series episodes of shows that have ended (think Seinfeld), Hulu original series like Causal and The Mindy Project and the ability to add-on Showtime ($9 a month). The base rate of $8 a month offers limited commercials but there’s the option to go commercial free for $12 a month.

    alternatives to cable

    5.) HBO Now

    HBO NOW is only $15 a month, you get unlimited access to all of HBO’s programming which includes former and current HBO original series, as well as movies. You can watch it on a large variety of devices. With HBO Now, you’ll get Game of Thrones, Deadwood and can even revisit The Sopranos and Sex and the City.

    NFL Sunday Ticket

    NFL Sunday Ticket running a deal right now where you get a $200 Prepaid Visa card when you sign up.

    So many people have cable packages because of one thing: the NFL. If you just gotta have your football, then NFL Sunday ticket would be your way to go. It doesn’t sound cheap at $199 for the whole season, but let’s do a quick comparison…

    If you’re spending $70 a month for cable, that’s $840 a year. Instead, what if you cut the cable, used Netflix at $8 a month and bought NFL Sunday Ticket? That would cost you $295 over the course of the year. You just saved $545!

    Showtime

    Showtime Online has a unique service of being able to be added on to other services that you may already subscribe to. For $9 a month, it can be added to Amazon Prime and Hulu and for $11, Playstation Vue. Showtime offers you award-winning series like Dexter, Weeds and House of Lies as well as a large selection of movies including action, comedies and dramas added each month. The stand-alone service is $11 and it offers both live viewing and streaming.

    CBS All Access

    With CBS All Access Over 7,500 episodes are available On Demand with new episodes added daily. You can watch live tv as well as stream them on Demand the next day. You can watch on their app, on your pc or with using devices connected to your tv like the XBox 360, Apple TV and Fire TV for $6 a month.

    Amazon Prime Video

    You can sign up for a free trial of Prime here. For $99 ($8.25 a month) a year, you get streaming videos, original shows like Transparent and Bosch, Free Two-Day Shipping (and some same-day shipping), Free Kindle Books each month, Prime Music and much more.

    With all of these options and wireless internet installed in your home, it’s easy to see that you can leave cable behind easily. You’ll save yourself some money for paying off debt, increasing your emergency fund or saving for a great vacation. The hardest part will be choosing which cable-free option works best for your family!

    Disclosure: There are a few affiliate links in this post. It helps keep this website running, which we greatly appreciate! You can read my disclosure policy here.

     

    COMMENTS

  • Have you ever comlared sling tv and playstation vue? Wondering if there are any opinions on which is better. Playstaion vue offer big 10 network which sling tv doesnt. That’s high on husbands watch list for buckeye football.

    • We just started using PlayStation Vue. So far we really like it. I looked into Sling TV when we were getting ready to cut the cord, but then I came across PlayStation Vue and it had more channels and more of the channels we as a family wanted. My husband gets a ton of his sports channels, including the Golf channel and we still get Disney Jr. for our son. We also have Netflix and a HD antenna for local channels. PlayStation Vue was only $5 more a month so it was worth it for us. We access it through the Amazon Fire stick.

  • Hi Lauren…I still have cable even though I literally never watch tv, as its the only way I’ve found to get internet…as a bundle from Verizon…I have Amazon Prime & Netflix, and I’m happy with those….how do you get just internet? Thanks so much…

    • Many years ago we had the bundle, but then just called the company and got rid of the tv cable and just have the internet. Give them a call. They will try to tell you the bundle is the best deal…ask how much without the tv.

    • I get internet through Century Link for $65 a month for unlimited data and usage. I use it on my smàrtphone, laptop, and tablet at no extra charge. PLUS the price will NOT change as long as I keep the service. Check it out at centurylink.com.

  • NFL Sunday Ticket seems to only work with Direct TV. I don’t think that they are a stand alone app. Is there a way to get Sunday Ticket without Direct TV?

  • I live in the country where the only Internet I have uses my cell phone data. Is there anything out there that doesn’t stream?

    • Thats what I was wondering. I not tech oriented and dont Know much about interweb stuff. Just want my TV’s to get every channel. I used to use the black box Years ago LOL, which got everything including PPV.

  • We live in the middle of a corn field and wireless internet for us is sketchy at best. So streaming is not a very good option. I would love to hear if others have alternatives that don’t require streaming through the internet. (not very techie so hopefully I have explained this correctly)

  • You forgot Playstation Vue. It’s way better than Sling (Sling’s app is terrible), has full function cloud DVR and OnDemand access, and has access to local Comcast SportsNet channels (DirecTV Now doesn’t in Philly). I’ve been using Vue for 6 months and I did a trial of DirectTV Now and Sling. DirecTV probably has the best app (Amazon Fire), but Vue has the best content if you’re a sports fan. Sling is a distant 3rd, worst app and worst performance.

    • Hey Vince – I’ve been meaning to add Playstation Vue to this list! They are good. They have a higher minimum price point, but you do get a lot of value for it. But I will disagree about Sling – on my Android, my wife’s iphone, and our Roku 3, SlingTV’s app has been great on all platforms. About a year ago when they were first starting out, buffering was horrible sometimes. But they’ve cleaned it up, increased their bandwidth and I have had no issues at all in the past 9 months.

  • Hi Laura,

    I only watch religious programming such as 700 club, Inspiration, Daystar, and TBN. I also watch the game and food network and Hallmark movies.
    I am being ripped off by Spectrum. My bundle for phone, internet, and cable channels is almost $156 a month, but I don’t know where else to go for my Faith & Values channels. Got any suggestions? (I don’t watch sports or movie channels). Please help me–I live on SS!!
    Thanks, Trishea

    • Trishea,
      Switch to Magic Jack for your phone. For only $35/year you get phone with no extra fees.
      Next I suggest dropping your cable down to the minimum unless you have channels you can’t part with. You may look into DishTV? Get an amazon fire stick and stream stations?
      For the internet, tell Spectrum you want the lowest speed package. I have the $14.99 they offered years back and am grandfathered in still for only 2mps I think? It works fine for streaming. They will tell you otherwise, but be firm!
      Don’t let them tell you that you need more! If you buy the Rokus(maybe the firestick works too?) and hook them up to tvs in your house, you can avoid the fees for the stupid little boxes that you have to rent now for digital cable. You just download the time warner app on the roku and enter your timewarner/spectrum id and password and all your channels are there!
      Good Luck! It takes some phone calls and arguing, but you can do it!

    • Try Pure Flix. You can get a free one month trial. Christian-based movies, and TV series. I need to get a Roku, and then will be getting this!!

  • Great info! I’m considering cutting the cord and going to Direct TV Now. So two questions:
    1. Do I have to have Apple TV or Amazon Fire, or should I be able to get this on a smart TV?
    2. Does Direct TV Now have a channel guide? With all these streaming services, I wonder how a person figures out what’s on live, without flipping through all the channels.

    • Hi Sue, to answer your questions:
      1. You might be able to get it on a newer smart TV.
      2. Yes – it has a channel guide that it very easy to use.

      I hope that helps!

  • Have you looked at or familiar with VIPTV

    $29.50 a month unlimited live Tv streaming.

    Over 900 Live Channels to watch. Access your streaming content through any mobile device, computer, smart tv or VStream Media Center.

    Simultaneous Access

    You will get access for 3 devices to be logged in at the same time. No more fighting over who watches what.

    Cut Costs

    Take your entertainment everywhere without the high cost of cable and satellite

    Stream in HD!

    HD and SD Streaming
    Thousands of On Demand Options
    Pay as you go or reoccuring monthly charge
    No Long Term Commitments
    No activation fees, cancellation fees or credit checks
    here is what the link looks like and you get ALL Sports!
    Here is a link and I have videos as well
    http://www.orderviptv.com/streamworldtv

  • How can you get news stations without cable or dish? I have the spectrum app downloaded, do I still need to pay spectrum the same?

  • I do not need hundreds of stations, we watch only the following
    HMM ION ES2HD
    LIFE TVLND ESPND
    TNT HCHD CPN2D
    TBS TCHMD CPN1H
    AMC CNN WHNSD
    UNCTV ETVH HISHD
    WGNAD GOLDFD MSNBc

    Is it possible to get these on anything other than cable or sat ??

  • I’m hesitant to cut the cord with cable tv due to my husband’s sports. He watches ESPN (a couple of different ones), and the Big 10 Network. Other than these sports channels, we mostly only watch the regular network channels. If I had the food network and HGTV I would watch them, but I can do without them just fine too. Hubby does like the DVR feature that our ‘big name’ cable company provides. But the monthly prices keeps climbing! Any suggestions you have for us?

  • Beware of free trials with Sling TV. I have had a bad experience with them in this regard. They offer them, but give you know way to get out of them until after you have already received your first $19.99 charge. They will refuse to refund your money and are not at all customer friendly. I find their “Take the Money and Run” tactics shady, at best.

  • What about the networks, NBC,cbs,abc? Can I get them, and the local channels that carry local news? We live in a rural area far from local tv network broadcasts,so old antenna doesn’t work. We do however get good HS internet via Spectrum, but their tv is getting too expensive.

  • I need to be able to watch POWER on STARZ….LBVS I pay $255.00 to ATT a bundle deal, too much, for a land line I don’t use, cable channels I don’t watch and the internet. I need the internet to connect to other options…right??? They don’t seem to appreciate your membership. They don’t offer suggestions, advice and/or options. You tell what your need, they let you do all the talking. It’s like they are not interesting in keeping you as a valued customer. IJS

  • In regard to internet service choices, are there limitations when using a desktop computer? I didn’t see responses referencing desktops and don’t have access on my cell phone since it is an old phone. Thank you.

  • I have triple play with time Warner cable(spectrum). The price keeps going up. I want to keep landline phone as I have a life alert connected to it. .I only use my tablets and of course watch tv. Is there something I can do to get rid of spectrum, maybe Hulu and how do I go about it.

  • I have just started disability retirement. After figuring out the bills, I come up short. I called Spectrum to drop the HD channels and was informed that starting next month, all tvs must have a digital box. That forced me to drop one of the tvs. I have been paying Time Warner for 100mps for years but did a speed test to discover the speed is below 50 so I figure I will negotiate with them for the lower speed. My main question is: Blu Ray players have come way down in price and I know they have wi-fi capability. What options should I look out for? Will I have to buy a player for each tv? Are there conversion cords that will work with 20+ year televisions to connect blue ray?

  • I have Charter Spectrum. My bill goes up every 3 months. I pay $155 a month. What do you suggest to replace Spectrum? Have you heard of the miraclebox? Is that something you would suggest? I don’t watch sports and I work 10 hour a day. There is only me and my dog. So no men or children to please. Please help.

  • Have you heard of the miraclebox? Is that something you would suggest? I don’t watch sports and I work 10 hours a day. There is only me and my dog. So no men or children to please. Please help.

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