The Best Alternatives to Cable TV
As more and more people cut the cord, the hunt for the best alternatives to cable TV heats up. If you’ve already weighed the pros and cons of streaming services and cable TV and are leaning towards a cordless lifestyle, you’re not alone. With easy cancellation and no hidden fees, many viewers are switching to streaming alternatives. Yet, with so many exciting and affordable options, it can be hard to decide which options are best for you.
Whether you’re dedicated to sports leagues or TV dramas, there’s a streaming service out there for you. We’ve broken down the best alternatives to cable TV so you can find your match made in video streaming heaven.
The Cable Alternative for Binge-Watchers: Netflix
Netflix is one of the best and most popular alternatives to cable TV. Boasting an endless library of TV shows and movies to stream, Netflix is a binge-watcher’s dream. You can view this cable alternative on computers, smartphones, tablets, and Smart TVs, just to name a few devices. All you have to do is subscribe and pay a monthly fee for the package of your choosing. Not yet sold on it? No worries. They offer a free 30-day trial to get you started.
Netflix’s pricing per month depends on the plan you select. Subscribers pay $8.99 for the basic plan, $12.99 for the standard plan, or $15.99 for the premium plan. With the more expensive plans, you can stream in HD and watch Netflix on more than one screen at a time.
Basic Plan: With the basic plan, you can only watch on one screen at a time and won’t have access to HD or Ultra HD streaming.
Standard Plan: On the standard plan, you can watch on two screens at once and access HD streaming.
Premium Plan: With the premium plan, you can watch on four screens at once and access both HD and HD Ultra quality.
If you want a cable TV alternative with options and flexibility, Netflix is a great choice.
The Cable Alternative for Unbelievable Exclusives: Hulu
Meet Hulu, Netflix’s binge-worthy cousin. Hulu is a great alternative to cable TV for many reasons — including its original series. Choose from a full-stacked library of hit movies, Hulu Originals, and even Hulu with live TV. This cable alternative can be viewed on any computer, smartphone, tablet, Samsung and LG smart TVs, Chromecast, Roku TVs, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Echo Show. The Hulu subscription costs anywhere from $4.99 to $44.99 per month depending on whether you want the option of live TV.
College Bundle: If you’re a college student, you’re in luck! While Hulu doesn’t offer a student discount on its own, Hulu, Spotify, and Showtime have partnered together to offer all three services for only $4.99 a month. As long as you are over 18 and enrolled at a US Title IV accredited college or university, you can sign up for this plan. That’s what we call watching TV!
Hulu: Hulu without live TV gives you unlimited access to Hulu’s streaming library at a cost of $5.99 a month. You can opt for add-ons such as no ads, HBO, and Showtime, though they will increase your monthly payments.
Hulu + Live TV: Hulu with live TV gives you unlimited access to Hulu’s streaming library, news, and sports. At a cost of $44.99 a month, this plan also lets you record up to 50 hours of live TV on Cloud DVR storage. Again, you can select add-ons such as no ads, HBO, and Showtime, but your monthly payments will increase.
If you think this is the best alternative to cable TV for you, get started with a one-month free trial. Remember, you can always switch plans or cancel at any time.
The Cable Alternative for the Viewer On-The-Go: YouTube TV
Want to watch your favorite shows on the go? Look no further than YouTube TV. With this cable TV alternative, you’ll get access to over 60 channels including ABC, NBC, Fox, and ESPN for $40 a month. For an extra $15 a month, subscribers can access even more channels, such as Showtime, Shudder, and Starz.
Each YouTube TV subscription comes with six accounts. This makes the streaming service easy to share with family members or roommates. Additionally, YouTube TV is compatible with several devices such as Android, iOS, an Apple TV, just to name a few.
The coolest part about YouTube TV? Its stellar Cloud DVR. Storage is unlimited for up to nine months, so you can record and store all your favorite shows. The availability of channels varies depending on where you live, so check your area’s availability before jumping on board with this exceptional cable alternative.
The Cable Alternative for the Minimalist: Amazon Prime Video
If you want to consolidate your monthly fees and needs into one location, try Amazon Prime Video. This is a particularly valuable option if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, as it comes at no extra cost. Not yet an Amazon Prime member? Then this cable TV alternative costs $99 for a full year. At $8.25 per month, it’s a small price to pay for all the Prime Membership benefits.
With this cable alternative, members have access to thousands of movies and TV shows. These include favorites from Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Prime Originals. If you’re looking for more, Amazon Prime Video members can also add TV channels like HBO, Cinemax, Stars, and Showtime. To get these channels, you must purchase Fire TV, the micro-console and remote developed by Amazon, for $49.99.
While compatible Prime Video devices are limited, you only have to pay for the channels you want. If you can’t go a day without live TV, Fire TV Recast is another add-on offered to Prime members. With Fire TV Recast, you can record live news, sports, your favorite late night talk shows, and more.
If you’re still not sold on Amazon Prime Video, know that its value goes beyond the TV screen. With this cable alternative, you can listen to Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Prime Music. You can also enjoy hundreds of games from top developers and connect to apps like Uber and Yelp. Not fully ready to commit? Amazon Prime Video offers a free 30-day trial to get you started.
The Cable Alternative for Top-Shelf Content: HBO Now
From top tier movies to award-winning TV shows, HBO’s premium content is a must-have when cutting the cord. For a monthly fee of $14.99, HBO Now subscribers enjoy a new set of movies every week. HBO also offers TV series, HBO originals, news, comedy specials, talk shows, documentaries, sports, and live premiers.
You can watch this cable TV alternative on devices such as Android, iPhone, and Fire Tablets. HBO is also accessible on any PS4, Xbox One console, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku or Samsung Smart TV.
If you’re an HBO fanatic, this cable TV alternative is a clear choice for you. If you’re not totally sold but want to see what the hype is all about, start your 7-day free trial today.
The Cable Alternative for the A-La-Carte Experience: Sling TV
If you’re looking for the utmost flexibility and personalization in your cable alternative plan, Sling TV is the streaming service for you. Sling cuts unwatched channels, long-term contracts, and hidden fees. With two baseline packages starting at $25 a month, you can do even more with Sling’s endless add-ons. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth with this cable TV alternative. Read the options below to find out how.
Sling Orange: Sling Orange is Sling’s entry-level package starting at $25 a month. The package offers 30 channels including ESPN, Disney, CNN, BBC America, and Lifetime. Whether you’re recording or watching live, you can only stream one channel at a time.
Sling Blue: Sling Blue is the next level up package. It gives you access to 42 live channels with the exception of Disney and ESPN. Though this plan also costs $25 a month, the package provides multi-stream functionality.
Sling Orange + Blue: Looking to combine two packages? For $40 a month, you can! This plan provides all channels from the two packages and a multi-streaming function.
In addition to these baseline packages, Sling TV offers dozens of add-ons to ensure your streaming experience is top-notch. From 50 hours of Cloud DVR to specials for the kids, this cable alternative offers add-ons that can’t be beat.
If you thought it couldn’t get any better, Sling TV is one of the most compatible streaming services with supported devices. These include Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Blu-ray players, and more. Start a free seven-day trial today and cancel at any time!
The Cable Alternative for Sports Fanatics: FuboTV
If sports are your top TV priority, you should look into fuboTV as your cable alternative.
With fuboTV, you get 90+ live entertainment and sports channels starting at $44.99 a month. The cable alternative also offers free Cloud DVR and three-day replay for games and recently aired movies. Plus, for an extra $6 a month, you can add Family Share so three people can watch different channels at the same time. There are tons of other add-ons available, but these are some of fuboTV’s most basic packages:
Fubo Standard: With “fubo Standard” you’ll get 95+ channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for $54.99 a month.
Fubo Extra: With “fubo Extra” you’ll get 30 additional channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for an extra $5.99 a month.
Sports Plus: With “Sports Plus” you’ll get a 23 additional channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for an extra $8.99 a month.
Latino Plus: With “Latino Plus” you’ll get 13 additional channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for an extra $7.99 a month.
FuboTV is compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Roku, and web browsers. If this sounds like the cable TV alternative for you, start a seven-day free trial today.
The Cable Alternative for the Cost-Cutter: Pluto TV
If the primary purpose of cutting cable is to cut back on spending, why not watch for free? Yes, you heard that right. With Pluto TV you can watch live TV, On Demand movies, and trending internet videos for free. While this cable alternative lacks major network channels, it has more than 40 live channels. These include live sports and 15+ music streaming channels. You can also enjoy exclusive PlutoTV sitcoms and even a Spanish language channel.
So, what’s the catch? The ads. You can’t escape them. But if you want a free library of curated TV shows, movies, and music, you can’t go wrong with this cable TV alternative. Pluto TV is also very compatible with supporting devices. These include Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablets, Apple TV, Chromecast, and iOS. Bottom line: If tight budget is your name, Pluto TV is your game.
When hunting for the best alternative to cable TV, remember to identify what’s most important to you. Is live TV a must? Or are you mainly a binge-watcher? Do you want a premium package? Or is it all about being cost-effective? Whatever the case, pay attention to the details and you’ll soon find the best cable TV alternative for you. Happy streaming!