Earn/Save Money

Fire Your Cable Company: Money Saving Cable TV Alternatives

Cable TV has got to be one of the biggest rip offs out there. You only watch about 5 different channels, yet they make you pay for 1250 – channels like The Kitty Cat network or The Adventurous Senior Living channel. I finally cancelled my cable last month and I’ve just been using streaming services to watch shows, but I thought I would check out what the alternatives are for people who like watching TV a little more than I do, but really want that fuzzy feeling that comes with firing your cable company.

All of these options involve streaming internet services from your computer or a device, so you will also need to make sure you have an internet package with enough speed to support the streaming.

The different TV/movie subscription services are priced as follows:

  • Hulu (free) – Hulu Plus: $8/month
  • Netflicks: $8/month
  • Amazon Prime: For $79 annually, you get unlimited movie and TV streaming

Find free episodes of your favorite shows:

HDMI Cables

How it works: If you have a good internet connection that is fast enough to stream video, you can stream services like Netflix and Hulu right onto your TV screen from your laptop AND get access to all of the free services listed above.

Initial price: $6 and up for the cables

Cons: It can be a little annoying to have to connect your computer using bulky cables, and you cant’ do other work on your internet while you watch television. I’ve heard of people buying an inexpensive computer to use for this purpose only.

Aereo

Aereo

How it works: The newest kid on the block, Aereo is currently only available in certain cities, but by assigning you a “tiny antenna” they are able to allow you to stream LIVE broadcast content onto your computer. If you pretty much only watch shows on big networks, you can now watch it online as just like you would be watching TV – oh, and you can DVR episodes too.

Initial price: Compare their plans here, but pretty much you can pay-per-use $1/day, or subscribe for $8/month or $80/year.

Cons: Right now it’s only available in NYC, but that should be changing soon. Since you’re streaming live, you also have to watch the commercials – but with all the money you’re saving, I would say that’s a fair exchange.

AppleTV

appletv streaming

How it works: Buy the box, attach it to your TV and use it to access iTunes, alot of the network shows and your streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and all of the sports subcriptions (even live games). People usually choose this option because they’re already familiar with apple’s interface.

Initial price: $99

Cons: iTunes charges $0.99 for show rentals and movie rentals start at $2.99 for SD and $3.99 for HD. TV show rentals are 48 hours, movies are 24 hours. Having a time limit on your rental kind of sucks, and purchasing is expensive. If you do purchase and build a big library, it can take up alot of room on your computer. Plus, why do you need to own the shows? I mean unless you just need frequent glances at Jon Hamm’s package on Mad Men. I don’t do that or anything, I’m just saying.

Roku

 Roku tv streaming

How it works: Like AppleTV, the box allows you to stream many free internet TV and movie channels and subscription services onto your television at home. Click here for the full channel lineup http://www.roku.com/roku-channel-store.

Initial Price: Roku starts at $50 for a basic box up to $100 for their newest box that includes things like a remote with an earphone jack and motion control for video games.

Cons: You can’t watch same-day shows at their usual time

 

Don’t be afraid to leave cable. They don’t treat you right, and you deserve better. You should probably try watching less damn television and do something productive anyway.

5 Comments

  1. I just received my cable bill for the last two months, it was over $350 dollars, I couldn’t believe it. I need to look into one of these options! Thank you for posting!

  2. I agree this cable thing is a complete rip off. I watch a lot of sports and shows my wife likes. She has other shows she likes to watch. Thanks for the alternatives but I think they are too messy at this point for me to mess around with, but I suspect some easier alternatives will surface as we go forward.

  3. I switched to antenna and get more basic channels for free than Comcast gave me for $13/month. It was so freeing to be done with them.

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