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16 Best Money Saving Cable TV Alternatives

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Are you struggling to lower your household bills?

You work hard and want to save and cut costs but it can really be a challenge sometimes. How about your cable? Cable costs can amount to hundreds of dollars every month.

Would you ever pull the plug? Nixing the cable doesn’t mean you have to go without television and movies. Check out these 16 best money saving cable TV alternatives that your wallet will love!

Cutting the Cable

Cable is the primary form of entertainment in many households.

Who doesn’t enjoy TV?

You get home after a long day of work and relax watching your favorite TV show or movie.

How about cutting the cable?

Does reading that statement send shivers down your spine? Going cable-less can bring on a feeling of nervousness and anxiety, especially to TV and film lovers.

How can you possibly give up cable?

Growing up, I loved television. I wasn’t much into the outdoors as a child but I loved TV. Cartoons, family TV shows, movies, I really loved it all.

As I grew older, I learned of many families that cut the cable to lower household expenses. I always wondered how they could possibly do it? If I went without cable, I’d be pulling my hair out.

I knew it was something I’d never be able to do but, today, I’m cable-less and loving it. I cut my cable about a year ago and enjoy a more than 50% monthly savings, along with a huge selection of TV channels, series, shows, and movies to choose from. Keep reading to learn how I did it!

Expensive Cable Costs

Cable can cost a lot and can easily take up 5% to 10% of your monthly income. Think about that. You spend 5 to 10 percent of your monthly earnings on cable!

Is it worth it?

Nope.

Here is how I finally cut the cable!

I finally had enough. I was spending around $200 per month on just the cable. I had all the main channels, around 77 basic channels in my area, plus some upgraded premium channels and 2 cable boxes which lived in our master bedroom and the living room.

I never looked into cable alternatives, at the time.

I loved and still do love TV. I thought a cable alternative meant that I was giving up something. I’d save money on my cable bill but would have half the channels and would be left dissatisfied and unhappy with my entertainment choices.

Untrue.

I made the change about a year ago and I can confidently say that I won’t be going back to the “cable life” again.

Today, I spend about $60/month on my cable alternative provider, including a streaming service!

Take a look at these 16 cable alternatives to help you cut your cable costs.

Money-Saving Cable Alternatives

These cable alternatives are so convenient and are compatible with most smart TV’s. If you don’t have a smart TV, a small investment may be required for a streaming box or other equipment but the cost is still totally worth it.

What’s Required?

As most of the companies on the list are streaming services, you will need internet access in order to stream TV and movies.

If any other special equipment is required like cable box, antenna or other equipment, it will be disclosed by the company but for the most part, you’ll enjoy that the majority of these cable alternatives require no additional equipment!

The Perks?

These will vary from company to company but you’ll find features like unlimited TV shows and movies, on-demand television programming, DVR, and more.

Plus…

These companies usually offer some form of free trial which lets you test drive the service before you commit to buying. You really can’t beat it. Check these companies out!

1. Netflix

Netflix is one of the biggest cable streaming service providers. As a Netflix member, you can stream and watch TV and movies on your television, computer, tablet, or cell phone.

You’ll love their free 30-day trial, along with these perks:

  • No monthly contract, cancel anytime
  • Pick your price
  • Watch anywhere-TV, mobile, etc.
  • Huge variety of television programs-documentaries, dramas, comedy, TV shows, movies, and more

Your choice of 3 affordable plans: basic, standard, and premium ranging from $8.99 to $15.99 per month including a host of features like HD, Ultra HD, one to four screens that can be watched at once, and unlimited TV shows and movies, among other perks.

Netflix has always been a streaming plan I’ve had and they are creating more and more Netflix Original TV shows and movies to keep you entertained. You really can’t go wrong. Check them out to learn more here.

2. Sling TV

Sling is the ultimate in a la carte television programming. You will love Sling because you can personalize your channel line up.

With regular cable, you’ll get your standard 60 to 80 channels and maybe you watch 10% to 20% of them. Not with Sling. Pick exactly what channels you want in your package, which will influence your price. Pay for 30 channels you actually watch versus 75 channels that you watch less than half of.

Access to tons of channels including:

  • Comedy
  • Locals
  • Sports
  • News
  • Premium

There are even channel bundles perfect for groups like the Kids bundle which includes channels like Disney Junior and Teen Nick or the Lifestyle bundle with channels like WE, VH1, and Cooking channel.

They offer some really attractive offers for new members like free ROKU Express and 40% off first month. Learn more about Sling.

3. Hulu

Hulu lets you stream TV and movies live and online. Access thousands of shows and movies starting at just $5.99/month. You’ll be surprised how affordable add-ons are, like HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax.

One of my favorite features of Hulu are the Hulu Originals. Like Netflix Original TV programming, Hulu offers network original TV series and movies that you can only find on Hulu. This gives you even more chances to fall in love with Hulu.

What you’ll love about Hulu:

  • No hidden fees
  • No equipment rentals
  • No installation appointments
  • Affordable packages
  • Unlimited access to Hulu’s streaming library
  • Watch on your favorite devices
  • Switch plans and/or cancel anytime

Learn more about their free trial and get more information about Hulu here.

4. YouTube TV

Enjoy cable-free live TV with YouTube TV. You’ll get live TV from 70+ networks, local sports and news with no cable box required.

Check out some of these awesome benefits:

  • 6 accounts per household
  • Personalized DVR
  • No storage limits
  • Live sports, news, and shows from 70+ channels
  • Flat monthly fee

At just $49.99/month you can get all this. I paid 4 times this amount when I had cable. Such a great value. Learn more about YouTube TV.

5. Philo

Their slogan is: pay almost nothing for cable TV and at just $20/month, are they right?

I think so but, you be the judge!

Get all this with Philo:

  • Live and on-demand TV
  • Unlimited recording
  • 58 channel lineup
  • Free trial
  • Watch anywhere on all your devices: TV, computer, cell phone, streaming device, etc.

At the cost of a takeout meal for two, you can enjoy at an entire month of TV with Philo. Check them out to learn more about their services.

6. DirectTV Now

Stream TV and watch live television with DirectTV Now. Live TV on demand, anywhere, anytime.

  • No annual contract
  • No satellite or cable
  • No limits
  • Affordable monthly packages
  • Competitive offers for new members including their current offer of $15 off first 2 months

At around $50 to $70 per month, you really get a lot from DirectTV Now. Slash your cable bill down and enjoy tons of channels and television options.

7. Playstation Vue

The most extraordinary streaming live TV experience, according to Playstation Vue. Get local news, live sports and TV channels you love on your favorite compatible devices.

They offer 4 competitive packages: Access, Core, Elite and Ultra, ranging from $44.99 to $79.99 per month.

Here are some of the features included:

  • Cloud DVR
  • 5 simultaneous streams
  • Multi-view capabilities
  • Channel favoriting
  • Access TV anywhere
  • Compatible with many devices including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and more.

Sound interesting?

Learn more about Playstation Vue.

8. FuboTV

Stream and record on desktop, Android, iOs and more, watching live sports and TV from FOX, NBC, Univision, A&E & more channels.

Gain access to your favorite TV shows and movies, over 100 channels plus on-demand channels at a low monthly rate.

Here are some common questions:

Can I record shows?

Yes, every fuboTV account includes 30 hours of Cloud DVR space at no extra charge.

What are some channels included?

Some channels included: AMC, TNT, TBS, SHOWTIME®, FX, HGTV, CNBC, CNN, SYFY, USA, Bravo, A&E, Food Network, and more.

Do I have to sign a contract?

No contract is required. FuboTV is a month-to-month subscription. It automatically renews until you choose to cancel.

What if I want to cancel?

You can cancel anytime and cancellation is easy. Cancel online anytime without paying fees.

Check out their free 7-day trial. Learn more on FuboTV here.

9. Amazon Prime Video

If you are an Amazon Prime member then you already have access to Amazon Prime Video. If not, you can pay for Amazon Prime Video for a cool $9/month.

Amazon Prime Video is such a staple in our household. One of the reasons I love it is for the huge array of kids programming. I can hand the remote to my 6-year old and he’ll pick his favorite shows to watch for the evening and be entertained for hours.

You’ll have access to their huge library of TV shows, movies, with the option of adding premium channels, renting and/or buying movies.

It’s so multifaceted and a great value for the money. They offer Amazon Original programming too, like Netflix and Hulu. Tons of binge-worthy content to keep you occupied in your free time. Check out Amazon Prime Video.

Specialized Niche Television

So, what if you like a specific kind of TV show programming and movies? You may not be able to find enough of your favorites on the above streaming services but, you’re in luck! There are a growing number of niche streaming networks popping up, to serve and satisfy the needs of niche viewers. Take a look at these options below.

10. Crunchyroll

As a Crunchyroll member, you’ll have unlimited access to anime and manga programming, to your hearts content! Enjoy ad-free programming, simulcasts fresh from Japan, in a huge library of endless options. Plans starting at $7.99/month with a free 14-day trial. Take a look to learn more!

11. CONTV

With CONTV you will be able to stream television, movies and full episodes of anime,
classic cartoons, and much more! It’s the service for Comic-con members!

What You’ll Love:

  • Free and paid versions available
  • Affordable monthly options for paid members
  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Xbox, and Roku

Access to your favorite classics like: Popeye, Digimon, Sonic, Mario Bros. and more.

Check out CONTV to review.

12. HBO Now

Are you an HBO lover? Can’t get enough of Game of Thrones, VEEP, True Detective, or the endless number of other TV series and movies? With an HBO Now subscription, you will have unlimited access to HBO programming.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I stream HBO NOW on my TV, game console, or streaming player?

Yes, from these devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Playstation 4, Roku, Xbox One, Samsung Smart TV, Android TV. See the full line of supported devices.

How do I get HBO Now?

From these places:

  • HBO website
  • Subscription providers like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu
  • Internet providers like Google Fiber, Frontier, and Liberty

It’s easy to add HBO to your current cable or TV provider.

At just $14.99/month after a 7-day free trial, you’ll be able to take HBO anywhere you go: TV, cell phone, streaming device, etc.

You can get the same service from other favorite premium channels like Showtime or Starz.

13. Hallmark Movies NOW

For Hallmark movie lovers, stream original movies, series, and more, from Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Hall of Fame Classics.

Look at their full lineup of features:

  • Unlimited access
  • Commercial-free
  • Access anytime, anywhere
  • Fresh new titles added often

Hallmark Movies NOW customers will love all the ways they can access uninterrupted, commercial-free programming on devices like Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, mobiles devices like iPhone or Android, on computer and via the Hallmark Movies NOW app.

Priced starting at $4.99/month after free 7-day trial.

14. CBS All Access

Grab 10,000 episodes on demand! Favorites like The Twilight Zone, Star Trek Discovery, The Amazing Race, and more.

  • Primetime, daytime + late-night hits
  • Exclusive original series
  • Live TV
  • and so much more!

Watch your favorites in CBS originals, drama, reality, specials, news, sports, and more. You can stream anytime, 24/7 on devices like Apple TV, Roku, Vizio, Xbox, and other devices.

Starting at $5.99/month with a 15% off discount if you do annual membership. Learn more about how to try CBS All Access for free.

FREE TV

Did you know you can watch TV and movies, totally free? If you want to whittle your cable bill down to nothing, take a look at these money-saving alternatives:

15. YouTube

YouTube is home to tons of free viewing of television, movies, vlogs, tutorials and more, completely free.

YouTube is free and once you register your account, you can watch unlimited content on your television, cell phone, tablet or other devices.

You’ll love that YouTube curates viewing content for you, looking at your watch history and making recommendations on channels and content that you might enjoy.

Watch content from:

  • Local, national, and international celebrities and artists
  • Vloggers, bloggers, and influencers
  • Television channels
  • National, regional and international events like The Olympics, Coachella, and more

Have you seen our YouTube channel?

You will never get bored with YouTube. Learn more.

16. Library

Your local library is a great resource for free television and movies. A lot of people forget that you can borrow movies and TV series from your local library in-person or even online. Don’t miss out on this amazing resource.

BONUS: Redbox

You can go cable-less and nix a streaming service like those above if you go with an on-demand option that you can rent, like Redbox.

Redbox is the new wave in on-demand movie rentals. They are on virtually every corner in your town or city, common near gas stations, fast food restaurants, major pharmacies and general goods stores like Walgreens, Dollar General or Walmart.

If you own a DVD player and love the idea of scrolling a kiosk for your favorite movie on the spot, Redbox is for you.

You can rent movies and games plus, you can check their website for upcoming new releases! At just $1 per rental, you cannot beat the price.

If you rent 3 movies per week, that’s around $12 per month which is probably a lot less than you were paying for cable. And, it gives you something to look forward to, grabbing a new movie!

Before we committed to streaming services, my sister and I loved visiting the Redbox. It was a ritual we had when returning home for holidays while on college break. We’d head to the nearest Redbox around the corner and pick out 2 movies each.

Head to Redbox to learn more.

Saving Your Budget by Cutting the Cable

So you can see, there are tons of affordable and free cable alternatives to help you cut the cable. Going without cable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite television shows and movies.

What if you just can’t do it?

Unwilling to give up your cable bill? Maybe you have lived with cable for decades, too long to pull the plug or you are resistant to change.

It’s like that sometimes and it’s ok.

Here are some ideas to help you still save on your cable bill, without moving to a cable alternative company:

  • Downgrade
  • Negotiate with your provider
  • Switch providers

Downgrading Your Plan

Consider downgrading your plan. This means giving up some of your cable services for the purpose of lowering your bill.

This might be a big change but keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be permanent. Here are some ways to downgrade your cable plan:

  • Remove premium channels
  • Reduce the number of cable boxes in your home
  • Stop watching on-demand movies and TV (which can charge you per viewing)
  • Move to a basic cable plan
  • Get rid of DVR
  • Watch the fees

Try one or more of these options to save money on your cable bill.

Negotiation

I have had a lot of success with this. When I had cable, I’d call my cable provider once or twice a year to lower my bill.

I stumbled upon this little savings hack by accident. When I first started cable in college, I was a new customer and got a great promotion. When the promotion ended, I called the cable company and asked what I could do to lower the bill. They gave me a special for 6 months to a year long and when that one expired, I called back.

Since then, I kept getting promotions and calling to reactivate a new one when it would expire and I rinse and repeated this process for years with 100% success.

It costs more money to gain a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.

Have you heard this?

It’s true!

Give this a try and contact your cable company for money saving promotions you can take advantage of, to lower your bill.

Switching Providers

As a last resort, you can switch cable providers. If you are switching, you should consider one of the alternatives above, but if you’re not sold and want to stick with a cable company, do some research to find a great deal to save you money on your monthly bill.

I did this several years ago, switching my cable and internet bill to a competitor. I got cheaper service with $300 in gift cards as a new customer bonus!

What to look for from a new cable provider:

  • A channel package
  • No contract, preferably
  • Package bundles

Go for a Channel Package

Typically, channel packages will be cheaper for you. Seek to find a provider that offers them. As a new customer you might find that the company wants to get you under a yearly contract. Avoid this, if possible. I shared my story above about getting some great perks from the new cable company. What happened after this is, a few months later, I went back to the original cable company!

Although I saved some money off my cable bill, the service was unmatched by my original provider so I switched back.

Aim for Zero Contracts

Now, contracts!

Continuing on in my story, I wasn’t under a contract and it was easy to cancel and switch back but if were under contract, it may have been expensive and I would have likely been subjected to an early termination fee.

For this reason, try to avoid contracts.

Do a Package Bundle

Package bundles are the the third feature that’s important when picking a cable company.

When I called my internet provider to speed up my internet speed a few weeks ago, they tried upselling me on:

  • Cable TV
  • Home security
  • Cell phone service
  • Home phone service

A bundle is grouping together 2 or more services and if you do this, you usually save money. Don’t be brand loyal and be on the look out for bundles for some great money saving opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Let’s recap! Take another look at these money saving cable TV alternatives:

  • Netflix
  • Sling
  • Hulu
  • YouTube TV
  • Philo
  • DirectTV NOW
  • Playstation Vue
  • FuboTV
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Crunchyroll
  • CONTV
  • HBO Now
  • Hallmark Movies Now
  • CBS All Access
  • YouTube
  • Library
  • Redbox

Save your budget while still enjoying your favorites in television shows and movies. These 16 cable alternatives are some great choices to help you cut the cable and lower your bill.

And, if you just can’t do it, there are some money saving strategies to try to still save you money!

Have you tried a cable alternative? What was your experience? Share your opinion down below in comments!

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