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Few people in this day and age rely on cable and satellite TV subscriptions for video entertainment. People with active cable subscriptions often part with large sums for channels they probably don’t watch.
Netflix has grown to become among the best and most popular streaming options today. Members with an active Netflix subscription have access to 10,000+ movies and TV shows. Recently, however, Netflix announced another hike in package prices.
Right now, the most popular plan goes for $2 every month. For frugal consumers, that’s a green light to shop around for more affordable deals.
As much as Netflix is known for its original and award-winning content, the high costs are not worth the last dime of your paycheck.
By switching to any of these streaming services – both free or paid – you stand a chance of drastically saving on everyday expenses.
For that reason, this post will focus on the following best Netflix alternatives to start streaming content:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Tubi TV
- CBS All Access
- The Roku Channel
- Acorn TV
- Pluto TV
- Sling TV
Without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?
1. Amazon Prime Video
Most Millennials are probably familiar with this popular streaming service. Prime Video supports several platforms and devices, with an exception to a few. If your Android TV device comes pre-installed with the Prime Video app, then it’s fully compatible.
Additionally, most Android smartphones are compatible with the dedicated mobile app. If you don’t already have it on your phone, it’s free for download at Google Play Store. Prime Video can also be accessed on game consoles, set-top boxes, and Blu-ray players.
What most members are unaware of is that the Prime membership comes complete with Amazon Prime Video.
When you sign up for an Amazon Prime Video account, you gain unlimited access to many movies, TV shows, and kids shows.
New Amazon Prime members will find the following royalties quite impressive:
- Free shipping for two days on all Amazon purchases
- Unlimited access to e-books in the Kindle Lending Library
- Free cloud storage
- Access to Amazon’s vast music library
Popular shows on the Jeff Bezos – owned streaming service include “The Man in the High Castle” and “Mozart in the Jungle”. Get to watch original TV Shows and award-winning films at only $119 annually, which comes down to $9.92 monthly as of 2019.
Alternatively, you can opt for the regular monthly subscription at $12.99 every month. While both deals provide the aforementioned benefits, the monthly subscription may turn out to be slightly costlier.
Users can either choose to pay monthly or annually. The best part about it is that you can cancel your subscription at any time, given it’s a no-commitment service.
2. Tubi TV
Tubi is one of the cost-free streaming sites that’s worth checking out. Both the mobile app and online platforms have easy-to-use interfaces.
Users can easily browse their preferred films and a wide range of TV shows from the data base’s vast collection.
Yes, Tubi TV is free to stream. Even though Tubi features several ads throughout their videos, there’s not a single free streaming service that doesn’t.
Every video you watch on Tubi has an advertisement at the start that runs for anywhere between 20 to 30 seconds.
The length of the video will determine the number of ads that will be played anywhere in-between. One movie can have as many as 11 ads.
Most of the videos are in high-definition, while a few are purely DVD quality. Though the quality isn’t entirely consistent with each show or movie, they’re still very much watchable.
Speaking of shows and movies, Tubi features a lengthy list of genres. All its videos are organized into various categories (about 35 of them) that make it easier to find good stuff to watch at any given time.
There’s one particular category dubbed “Not on Netflix” that shows users dozens of free films they have that aren’t on Netflix. Other genres include documentaries, movies, drama, comedy, and action.
Once in awhile, videos buffer to allow for a smooth streaming experience. Tubi has one of the best movie streaming experience compared to other free movie sites. The only interruption to expect is during the in-video commercials.
3. CBS All Access
CBS All Access prides itself with robust sports shows, live TV, and exclusive content. It’s basically a streaming service that provides several on-demand contents including original shows, freshly aired programming, and everything from the vast CBS library.
True to its name, All Access provides multiple behind-the-scenes footages including the before and after Grammy shows and the live “Big Brother” feed.
Subscribers get treated to highly-reviewed original TV shows including “The Good Fight”, “Star Trek: Discovery”, “The Twilight Zone”, among others.
Pro football fanatics won’t have to worry about missing any of the live American Football Conference (AFC) games. CBS has valid NFL broadcast rights that ensure its subscribers get exclusive and on-the-ground sports footage.
As for how much it costs, it has two price tiers where one is ad-free and the other ad-supported. The “Limited Commercials Plan” goes for $5.99 per month, while the “Commercial Free Plan” is $9.99.
Settle for the annual payment option rather than paying every month. This may save you up to 15% off on either of these tiers.
You can log in to your CBS All Access on your tablet, game console, smartphone, smart TV, and other supported devices.
You can stream with an unlimited number of devices, although it only allows three simultaneous streams at most.
Regardless of whether you’ve signed up or not, you can still watch free for seven days. This is only possible once you provide your credit card credentials.
You can cancel your CBS All Access at any time via iTunes or by calling them directly at (888) 274-5343.
4. The Roku Channel
Most people use their Roku device to stream live TV services, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or even Netflix subscriptions. Did you know that your Roku device also provides cost-free TV shows and movies?
Since its introduction to the market in September 2017, The Roku Channel has risen to become the most preferred alternative for cord-cutters.
Roku’s most affordable streaming player, the Roku Express, goes for $29.99 shows content from several partners.
All the best free TV shows and movies are all in one destination, thereby making it ultra-easy to stream. Additionally, they’re more superior in value when compared to Amazon Fire TV or Google Chromecast.
When you buy and set up your Roku streaming stick, you’ll have access to hundreds of channels (both paid and free) to watch.
Among the free ones is The Roku Channel that features live news, TV shows, comedy specials, documentaries, and movies.
If you’re looking for the most recent box office hits, The Roku Channel isn’t for you. However, the platform offers several classic movies that are worth re-watching. Amazon Prime Video or Netflix subscribers won’t have a problem navigating through The Roku Channel.
All options in programming are neatly organized according to the genre, and every title has a fitting thumbnail image.
Bing-watchers will enjoy the “Continue Watching” feature that assists users to resume movies or shows from the last viewed point.
While watching, your viewing experience may be interrupted by two or more commercial breaks. The ads tend to be rather abrupt but fairly brief.
5. Acorn TV
This subscription service has 60+ exclusive titles and specializes in TV programming from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It has a one-month free-trial offer by which you have to pay only $4.99 per month from there.
You don’t need a specialized cable provider to stream Acorn TV. Acorn TV operates similarly to Netflix and all other subscription streaming services.
All shows can be viewed via the app on desktops and smart TVs or via streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV stick and Roku.
Acorn TV has about 250 to 300 available titles that fall into five categories: Movies, LIfestyle, and Documentary, Comedy, Drama, and Mystery.
Anyone can subscribe by either going direct or via Amazon. For the first option, all you need to do is visit their website and buy a subscription. Going direct also provides the option of buying a year-long subscription at a discounted price.
When you subscribe via Amazon, there are added benefits. If you’re on a slow connection, for example, you may experience a smoother stream. Also, you can add shows from your Acorn TV account to your watchlist on Amazon.
Both sign-up options give you the freedom to cancel at any time without having to follow unnecessary processes. With Acorn TV, online cancellation isn’t at all complicated.
While most services are limited to specific regions, Acorn TV is available in 47 countries that initially didn’t have many options in terms of British content.
6. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is one of the free online streaming services. If you’ve used any of the media streaming apps such as Kodi or Plex, Pluto TV incorporates the same feel.
This streaming service’s model comes up with free content by gathering media from different sources into neatly organized channels.
There’s so much content available on Pluto TV. There are more than 70 content deals and 100+ free to air channels.
The Pluto TV apps are available for almost every device, including Android TVs, Roku, and ChromeCast. The apps feature fairly attractive and worthwhile interfaces and allow users to download content and watch later.
As mentioned earlier, most of what Pluto TV has to offer is derived from different public sources. Viacom, the reputable cable company, owns Pluto TV.
As a result, the streaming service has links to various content providers, including CNET, IGN, NBC, and BBC.
Its channels are regularly updated with new content, making it somewhat similar to standard TV. The broad On Demand section allows users to pick out and choose what to watch. Most of what you’ll find on Pluto TV is both new and old.
For a free streaming service, video quality for most content streams is pretty good. The user interface is great, although it tends to get crowded when using a browser.
Pluto TV is perfect for those lazy Saturday afternoons where there’s nothing left to do than to sit back and relax. It’s not really the best cable TV budget alternative, but it’s worth watching.
This service hosts an incredible number of obscure movies and independent films that typically won’t be found on bigger mainstream video services.
Fandor provides access to lesser-known films that are often overlooked by Hollywood. So yes, it provides the goods – just not what you’re used to.
The Fandor website offers one of the best ways to take a break from seasoned Hollywood blockbusters. Instead, users can discover largely overlooked films whose stories are far greater and largely captivating.
You have to figure out which films are worth the watch, based on your individual preferences. Netflix majorly provides content that favors the majority of its subscribers and focuses less on what the minority needs.
Fandor claims to take their time and watch each of their movies, despite the low budget. The new-age and classic films that Fandor has to offer are purely quality and independent.
These two great features tend to be rather inaccessible to most viewers in search of something different.
New Fandor subscribers can stream free for two weeks. After that, you have to part with ten bucks per month, which is two dollars less than Netflix’s highest plan.
The seemingly affordable cost makes it possible for anyone to stream high-quality movies all in one place.
The moment you complete your monthly transaction, there’s no limit as to how many videos from the library you can watch.
Each film offers brief and accurate descriptions that help users to get an idea of what they’re about to watch.
The growing selection of Hulu’s original shows ranks it among the best Netflix alternatives out there. Hulu offers more affordable plans for the best online shows and 50+ live TV channels.
The platform has worked intensively on upgrading its services from time to time. The most recent improvement was the wrapping of Hulu Plus into the main site, thereby simplifying the interface.
Another bold upgrade is the production of its own original shows that are as captivating as what Netflix has to offer. Hulu was initially known to stream TV shows 24hrs after they air on their individual networks.
Over the years, there have been major tweaks to Hulu’s cost plans. Contrary to raising their prices as most streaming sites do, Hulu’s most affordable price gets extra affordable. First-time users can sign up to Hulu for a monthly fee of $5.99.
Netflix’s most affordable plan doesn’t support HD video quality streaming. Hulu, on the other hand, offers countless HD programming that’s coupled with the Hulu originals’ Ultra HD 4K feature. The low-cost pricing has a bunch of benefits with only one downside: commercials.
Most ads in-between TV shows typically last between 90 to 120 seconds. Fortunately, films have a series of pre-roll of ads that prevent annoying interruptions at different points in the movie.
If you can’t handle the idea of sitting through ads on your streams, there’s an ad-free alternative that goes for $11.99 each month.
Some shows in the costlier plan have commercials both before and after streams. This could be due to rights issues.
9. Sling TV
Sling TV is one of the longest-running streaming services (since 2016), but still, one of the best when it comes to saving money. The service in itself is highly dependable, low-priced, and constantly kept running with some savvy updates.
Simply put, Sling TV is a monthly subscription service that offers a wide selection of various channels that stream online.
Although it doesn’t have the flashiest of interfaces – especially on Roku or desktop – it does have lots of channels, including NBC, Fox, CBS, and ABC.
Like every streaming service, Sling TV has its fair share of shortfalls. All in all, it still remains the best value and most competitive budget service today.
Sling utilizes media streamers to stream to game consoles (Xbox One) as well as smart TVs (Samsung and LG).
Sling provides two basic packages:
- Orange Package: It goes for a mere $20 per month for approximately 28 channels such as ESPN 1, 2 and 3, The Food Network, HGTV, and many more.
- Blue Package: To enjoy 44 channels and over, you just need to part with $25 every month. The channels offered here are totally different from what Sling Orange has to offer.
Customers can get a combination of both packages for a monthly subscription of $40. This streaming is a little hard on the pocket, but good things in the form of cable channel packages don’t come cheap. A notable advantage of Sling TV is the absence of rental or installation fees.
All you need is a computer, tablet or TV to stream all 40+ channels and a reliable and fast internet connection.
10. Pure Flix
Pure Flix (otherwise known as the “Christian Netflix”) is a streaming service that provides viewers with wholesome content for the entire family.
It has a mix of family-friendly entertainment, including kid’s animated series, education, how-to’s, health and fitness documentaries, as well as lots of inspirational titles.
This streaming-video-on demand platform was formed in 2015 and gained popularity with the Christian film “God’s Not Dead.”
According to IMDb, the film raked in $61 million from a $2 million budget. “Do You Believe,” the sequel, is also one of Pure Flix’s most successful hits.
Pure Flix mainly seeks to impact the modern entertainment culture with Christan values by making clean content more accessible than ever. “Clean” in this case, refers to family-friendly films, free from sexual, language, or violence surprises.
Not all content on this streaming service is particularly family-friendly. Some of them touch on sensitive topics that are made specifically for mature audiences.
Viewers will use the Movieguide rating section to determine what audience should watch the movie or TV shows.
Pure Flix is perfect for homeschooling Christian families. Sign up on this streaming platform and enjoy it free for one month, then pay $7.99 every month after that. It’s available on Amazon, Roku, the Apple App Store, and Android.
Most of the films featured on this platform have either nonexistent or low Rotten Tomatoes ratings based on their low production budget. However, this is doesn’t mean that they’re entirely not worth watching.
Overall, Pure Flix’s system is exceptionally user-friendly. If you know your way around Hulu and Netflix, you won’t find it a problem navigating through Pure Flix.
Worthy Mention: YouTube
YouTube has experienced a noticeable growth that it now offers multiple premium subscription services.
YouTube Premium, for instance, provides a totally ad-free YouTube experience. Its counterpart, YouTube TV is a worthy competition of services such as Hulu and Sling TV.
Are any of them worth your money? YouTube Premium offers original content for $11.99 every month. Viewers can download videos to view offline as well as audio which you can play offline on the YouTube Music app.
YouTube TV announced a recent price hike that requires users to pay $49.99, up from $39.99 per month. The significantly higher price is due to the addition of lots of new channels including Investigation Discovery, Food Network, and many more.
Unfortunately, these two services cannot be bundled up into one. On the bright side, if you have a YouTube TV subscription, you automatically gain access to the best content on YouTube Originals. Both of these services are recommended alternatives to cable TV and are worth the free trial.
Netflix is perfect for boosting your television viewing alternatives. At about ten bucks per month, cable TV doesn’t stand a chance against what Netflix has to offer. As great as it is, Netflix isn’t the only option to stream captivating movies and TV shows.
Viewers who seek to pad their accounts by paying less for online streaming can switch to any of the above options at various costs.
All the listed options on this post, be it paid or free, have the potential to immensely widen your TV viewing selection. The paid options won’t interfere with money stashed away in your savings account.
With the above alternatives, you essentially get to watch more for less, while still being able to save in the process.
The specific Netflix alternative you go for should reflect your personal preferences. Some streaming options might offer the exact entertainment niche you want.