How can I find my favorite TV show… tonight? For those of us currently paying for a cable TV connection, the answer is simple: turn on the TV, scroll through the dozens of simultaneously available channels, and select the perfect show. Now, sit back, relax and try not to think about the cost of such a luxury. Of course, there might just be a better way to access those same shows for a fraction of the cost while gaining more control over your finances. If you’re ready to embark on a quest for more affordable entertainment, then take a look at these ways to slash your cable bill in half, or get rid of it completely.
Many of the options presented in this article allows you to stream from a computer or phone to your tv using devices such as a Roku (starting at $29.99), Amazon Fire Stick ($39.99), Google Chromecast ($35.00) or Apple TV ($149.00). You may also be able to buy these options used at a discount.
TV streaming services are changing the way people watch their favorite shows and news programs. Harnessing the power of the internet, and the fact that few American homes seem to be without it, these streaming companies are able to put dozens of quality TV channels at your fingertips for a more affordable price than standard cable companies. In addition, instead of paying up front and being stuck in a year-long contract, these sites allow you to cancel, upgrade, or change your settings on a month-by-month basis. Check out these 3 companies and what they have to offer.
- DIRECTV Now – The starter package gives you access to 40+ channel for $50/ month. Channels include news outlets like MSNBC, FOX and ABC, as well as entertainment networks such as Disney, HBO, and the Hallmark channel. They also seem to have access to newer channels not included in other competitors’ packages.
- Hulu Live TV – A big competitor with Netflix in the movie streaming industry, Hulu also supports a Live TV option. For $45/month, Hulu Live TV gives you access to 60 channels and thousands of movies and episodes on 2 screens. (Add- free content requires an additional $6/month)
- USTV Now – This site provides streaming of movies and TV programming from at least 25 major stations. Plans range from $40/month for 25 HD channels (with DVR capabilities) all the way down to 5 SD channels…. for free. Which leads us to the next category of alternatives.
Free Streaming Sites
Living in the 21st century, we’ve never had so many ways to instantly access so much entertainment. Now, some companies are teaming up with advertisers to allow those shows and movies to be viewed for free. If you don’t mind random but shorts ads throughout your viewing, then these options are worth a try. Here are 2 of the best platforms that give you access to hundreds of shows, live broadcasts, and movies…. all at zero cost to you.
- Pluto TV – With 75+ channels as well as hundreds of movies to stream to your desktop, smartphone or tablet, Pluto TV has a lot to offer. Access is completely free ( with ads, of course) and no sign up is required.
- Tubi TV – As an ad-supported platform with no premium features, what you see is what you get with Tubi TV. Thankfully, there is a lot to see. On the website, you can browse through 40+ categories like Anime, Classics, New Releases and Not On Netflix to find the film you need.
Thinking outside the box
If you find ads annoying, or you’re simply looking for something different, here are 3 more creative options to help you achieve entertainment freedom.
- Network Websites – Do you have a favorite channel or network? Consider going to their official website and streaming material for free to your desktop or tablet. Better yet, you can use an application like Google Chromecast to quickly connect to your smart TV and watch the game on the big screen.
- Hoopla – Available to anyone with a current library account, Hoopla gives you access to movies and TV shows, as well as audiobooks and ebooks. While the website doesn’t provide live programming, numerous seasons of TV shows and hundreds of movies are available. Titles are borrowed and returned via the website or mobile app.
- Digital TV Antenna – This last one is a real find. By investing $40-$50 in a digital TV antenna, you can immediately have access to scores of digitally broadcasted TV stations. (Purchasing a TV converter box might be necessary if you have an older TV) After this one-time investment, you’ll be watching high-quality television with no contracts, no accounts and no fees. Not all networks broadcast digitally, so you’ll want to find the best antenna for your location.
Counting the Cost & Cutting the Cable
Now that you’re familiar with some of the great viewing options out there, you’re almost ready to take the plunge. Before you call that cable company, I’d recommend doing some extra research on your own to find out which option (or combination) is best for you. Then, relax and have fun experiencing some more-affordable entertainment.