Cable TV is great – it allows you to watch all the shows you love. But, there’s one downside, and it’s a big one: the cost!
The average cable bill is $99 per month, meaning it can cost you upwards of $1000 each year just to watch TV!
So, you’ll be glad to know that cable isn’t the only way to watch TV anymore – thanks, primarily, to the Internet which you can even access for free!
While cable TV has been the best way to get quality TV and movies shows over the past few decades, things have changed. And today, streaming content is a more efficient and cost-effective way to watch the shows and the movies that you love.
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So, if you’re tired of paying too much for your cable or satellite TV, then it may be time to cut the cord and try out one of these cheap alternatives to cable TV.
1. Netflix ($7.99/mo)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard about Netflix. It started out as a DVD rental company. Then, in 2007, it branched out into streaming.
Now, it’s one of the most popular streaming services. In fact, in July 2016, Netflix reported that it has more than 83 million paid subscribers globally.
And, it has one of the largest libraries for live-streaming.
On there, you get access to a wide selection of popular television shows, like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. There are also a ton of movies available, from Hollywood blockbusters to independent films.
One of the best things about Netflix, however, is the Netflix Original TV content that’s on offer. These shows, like Stranger Things, are exclusive to Netflix, so you won’t see them anywhere else!
Netflix is completely commercial-free too, so you don’t have to worry about interruptions! Plus, it often releases whole seasons of shows at once. So, if you’re a binge-watcher, then it’s definitely, the platform for you!
So, how much will it cost you?
Netflix has three different membership tiers – each with its own monthly price and benefits:
- Basic $7.99
- Standard $9.99
- Premium $11.99
That’s much less the average monthly cable bill!
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There’s a free trial of Netflix available too. So, you can test it out, without having to part with your hard-earned cash.
Handily, you can watch Netflix on tons of different platforms. Stream it right to your smart TV, download the app and watch it on your Xbox or PlayStation, watch from your PC, or view it on your mobile, tablet and many other devices.
By the way, don’t forget to check out our Get Paid to Watch Movies post where we list Netflix along with 9 other companies that pay you to watch movies.
2. Amazon Prime Video ($8.99/mo)
Another great streaming platform that is similar to Netflix is Amazon Prime Video.
There’s a great selection of movies and TV shows on there. You can get access to popular shows, like Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story. There’s also plenty of movies on offer, in a range of genres, from comedy to horror.
Prime, like Netflix, also offers a range of original content that you can’t find anywhere else.
You can pay for Prime Video by itself, which costs $8.99 per month.
Or you can sign up for a full Amazon Prime account, for $10.99 per month. It only costs you a couple of dollars extra, and you not only get access to Prime Video but also a ton of other benefits, like:
- Free two-day shipping on eligible items if you live in the contiguous United States.
- Free same-day delivery in eligible zip codes.
- Free release-date delivery on eligible pre-order items delivered on their release dates – only available in eligible zip codes.
- Free two-hour delivery or scheduled delivery for more than 10,000 items in eligible zip codes.
So, if you already buy stuff from Amazon frequently, then you can save yourself a lot of money on the shipping costs, and get access to an extensive collection of great movies and TV by opting for a full Amazon Prime membership.
Plus, Amazon offers a 30 day free trial of Prime. That’s super generous compared to the week or so that you get with other platforms.
3. Crackle (Free)
If you love movies and TV shows, but you’re on a tight budget, then you really should check out Crackle. It’s a streaming service, owned by tech giant Sony, which features a fairly large catalog of movies and TV shows to stream whenever you like.
On there, you’ll find classic movies, new blockbusters, and plenty of well-known TV shows, like Seinfeld.
So, whether you’re a horror movie buff or a sci-fi fanatic, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes at Crackle.
The best thing about Crackle is that it’s free!
To use Crackle you don’t have to pay a cent! All you need to do is register for a free account, and then you can watch anything you want from the library.
While its catalog isn’t as big as that found on larger streaming platforms, like Netflix, it’s pretty good considering it’s completely free!
4. Hulu ($5.99/mo)
Hulu is another streaming platform, like Netflix and Prime Video. On there, you can watch TV shows, like South Park, Modern Family, and Empire.
Like Netflix and Amazon, Hulu also offers its own original content, like Difficult People, which is exclusive to the platform.
Like Netflix, Hulu offers a couple of different membership options – each one priced differently.
- Limited Commercials Plan: For streaming with limited commercials, it costs $5.99 per month for new subscribers, and then $7.99 per month after one year.
- No Commercials Plan: Stream content with no commercials, and pay $11.99 per month.
With Hulu, you can get a free, one week trial. So, you can test out the platform and see if it’s for you, without having to part with any cash!
5. Network Websites (Free)
Did you know that most networks, especially major networks, post many of their programs to their websites?
It’s true, networks from ABC to the Discovery Channel post full episodes of their shows on their websites, usually for a limited time, for people to watch online.
So, simply think about your favorite programs and channels, and visit the TV network’s website.
Here are a few networks to get you started:
The best thing about watching stuff on network websites is that most of the time, it’s completely free. You get access to a selection of TV shows and movies and all of them are free to watch.
6. HBO Now ($14.99/mo)
Do you love shows like Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire? Then, consider checking out HBO Now. It’s a subscription streaming service that lets you watch all of your favorite HBO shows.
On there, you can find a wide selection of TV shows, movies, documentaries and kid’s titles.
Conveniently, you can get HBO now on a variety of devices, from your SmartTV to your Xbox.
Generously, HBO now gives you a 30-day free trial – so you can test it out to see if you like it, without having to spend anything!
Once the one month trial is up, it costs you $14.99 per month, plus applicable taxes.
7. Sling TV ($20/mo)
Sling TV is a streaming service that specializes in live TV programming. It is owned by a satellite TV company.
On there, you can get access to live sports and hit shows, plus news and movies on demand.
Depending on what subscription package you choose, you get access to a plethora of channels, from National Geographic to Nick Jr.
Like Netflix, Sling TV offers a number of different subscription packages, each priced differently:
- With Sling Orange, which is the company’s basic package, you get access to more than 25 channels, like ESPN and CNN. It costs $20 per month
- With Sling Blue, you get access to more than 40 channels, like Fox and NBC. It costs $25 per month.
- And, if you sign up for the Sling Orange and Blue package, you get access to all of the platforms channels, like AMC, HGTV, and NBC. It costs $40 per month.
You can also add extras, like HBO or Sports to your package for a monthly cost.
8. Snag Films (Free)
On SnagFilms, you get access to more than 10,000 movies. You’ll find everything on there from drama to kids and family. There’s also a plethora of TV shows available on there too, including kid’s programs.
If you enjoy indie movies and documentary films in particular, then you’ll love Snag Films.
Handily enough, you can watch SnagFilms from your TV, phone or tablet.
The best thing about SnagFilms is that it’s completely free! So, you can watch movies and TV shows, without having to spend a cent.
9. Popcornflix (Free)
If you’re looking to watch a movie, then you should definitely check out Popcornflix.
Whether you’re an action or comedy movie fan, you’ll likely find something to watch through the platform.
There are also some TV series available on there.
Popcornflix is completely free to watch. But, you will have to watch a couple of commercials.
While you won’t find as many titles or new releases on the platform as you would on a site like Hulu or Netflix, it is free!
10. TV.com (Free)
TV.Com is more than just a TV listings guide. Most people don’t realize that TV.com is actually a great place to watch TV shows.
On there, you can find a selection of TV shows, generally those that have aired recently, to stream online.
All you need to do is visit the “videos” section of the site.
You can find everything from sitcoms to news on there. It’s really a great way to catch up with new episodes of TV shows if you’re on a budget.
Also, there’s plenty of other stuff on TV.com to keep you entertained, like news stories, reviews, and forums.
If you’re really looking to save money, then TV.com is really one of the most budget-friendly options on this list – because it’s completely free!
So, if you want to watch new episodes of shows, without having to pay a hefty cable subscription, then you really should head on over to TV.com
11. Big Five Glories (Free)
Are you a fan of the classic movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age? Then, you should definitely check out Big Five Glories.
On this site, you can find classic movies from the 1910s to the 1970s! So, if you love the old classics, it’s definitely the site for you. It’s a particularly great platform if you’re a fan of black and white films.
The best thing about Big Five Glories is that it’ completely free to watch! So, head on over there and get your classic movie fix.
12. Cartoon Network (Free)
If you’ve got kids, then you should definitely check out the Cartoon Network channel’s website.
On there, you can stream full episodes from all sorts of cartoons. Plus, there’s a games section on there as well.
Watching shows on the Cartoon Network website is completely free!
So, if you’re going to cut out the cable subscription, then this is a good way to keep the kid’s happy and your budget intact!
13. Nickelodeon (Free)
Another great platform to check out if you have children, but want to save money on the cable bill is the Nickelodeon website.
On there, your kid’s can watch full episodes of some of the networks most popular shows, like SpongeBob Squarepants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There’s also news, games and plenty of other fun stuff on there to keep the kid’s occupied.
The great thing about Nickelodeon is that it’s entirely free to watch TV on there!
14. YouTube (Free)
While YouTube isn’t a great platform to find new TV shows or movies, it is great for watching other things, like music for example.
On there, you can find almost any music video you could think of, whether it’s from the past year or the past decade.
Or,just type in “how to” followed by pretty much anything, and you’re sure to find a plethora of educational videos.
Or, if you’re just interested in watching funny videos about cats, then you’re sure to find plenty of them on YouTube too.
YouTube is free. But if you don’t like to see ads interrupting the videos you’re watching, you can opt for their paid plan known as YouTube Red for $9.99 per month.
15. Feeln ($2.99/mo)
For feel-good, heartwarming and family-friendly movies, there’s really no better platform than Feeln.
Owned by Hallmark Cards, this streaming service provides a wide selection of movies and TV shows that you can watch on multiple devices.
From the Xbox 360 to the iPhone, you can easily stream content from Feeln on whatever device suits you best.
Aside, of course, from the free options, Feeln is one of the cheapest alternatives to cable TV on this list. It costs you just $5.99 per month or if you pay the annual fee of $35.99 instead, then that works out at just $2.99 per month.
It’s commercial free too!
16. CBS All Access ($5.99/mo)
With CBS All Access, you can stream live TV and watch more than 8500 CBS episodes on demand.
Plus, you can watch content from CBS All Access across multiple devices, from your PC to your iPad.
With CBS All Access, you can choose from two different packages:
- Limited Commercials: $5.99 per month
- Commercial Free: $9.99 per month
17. HDTV Antenna (One Time Investment of $10 to $30)
If you really want to save money, then consider using an antenna. Fortunately, they’re a lot better than they used to be!
With an HDTV antenna and your television, you can get basic broadcast channels. And, if you add in a TiVo box as well then you’ll get the option to record shows too.
You can pick up an HDTV antenna at a pretty reasonable price – you can find them for between $12 and $30 on Amazon.
Plus, it’s only a one-off expense.
18. The Library (Free)
Surprisingly, you can get a lot of great DVDs at your local library.
While going to the library might seem a bit old-school, it’s actually a good way to find a few movies and even TV shows to keep you entertained.
Of course having to drive to the library is a bit of a chore, but if you get to keep the rentals for a week or two most of the time, then it’s not too much hassle.
Just like when you lend a book from the library, getting your movies and TV shows at the library is free.
While you won’t find an extensive collection of titles there, it won’t cost you anything, so it’s worth checking out.
Nowadays, there really is no need to pay out $99 for cable TV each month. Thanks mostly to the Internet, you can easily watch TV shows and movies for a very low cost, or even for free.
So try out some of these alternatives. If you like them, then you can cancel your cable TV subscription and save yourself more than $1000 per year!