Saving money begins with spending less on items that you already purchase and use regularly. One of the biggest expenses? Cable TV! Cable often costs about the same or more than the average utility bill and yet provides us with very little in terms of high-quality entertainment.
Put simply, cable TV is expensive and for what you get out of it, it is no wonder why people are switching over to various streaming platforms and seeking alternatives to cable TV providers. Cord-cutting can be a great way to make some extra room in your budget.
But with all of the options out there, which alternatives should you choose to turn to for your entertainment needs. If you are on the hunt for viable replacements for the traditional cable experience, here are the 18 best alternatives to cable TV that you should consider signing up for to save money!
Alternatives to Cable: Best Live TV Options
It’s no secret that the price of cable TV is ridiculous, and many platforms have launched off that reality to provide you with the channels you love without making you pay a price that you don’t. If you don’t want to lose access to some of the channels that you love, here are some great Live TV alternatives to cable that you may want to consider when you finally cut the cord!
Despite being a relatively new entry to the streaming market, Philo is arguably one of the most popular cable alternatives around. This is largely due to the fact that it offers an attractive cable channel package while costing less than other streaming services you may come across.
With access to popular channels like HGTV, the Food Network, and Nickelodeon, Philo offers a range of benefits like the ability to record shows and save them for up to 30 days, the ability to stream on multiple devices, and add-ons to further enhance your experience. Offering a no-obligation free trial and the option to cancel your account whenever you want, what do you have to lose by signing up with Philo?
Channels Offered: 61 channels offered
Trial Period?: No-obligation 7-day trial
Learn More/Sign Up: Philo
2. Sling TV
Sling TV is another popular streaming platform that offers the perfect amount of channel options for those who enjoy cable but don’t like having a host of channels they don’t watch that they still have to pay for.
Sling offers two different subscription programs for its users. The first, Sling Blue, comes with streaming support for three devices at a time, no contracts, and 10 hours DVR space (the blue option comes with more channels as well and places a greater emphasis on entertainment and news). Meanwhile, their second option, Sling Orange, is great for families and sports fans, offering streaming for one device, no contracts, and 10 hours of DVR space (but fewer channels than the first option).
Along with their great subscription model, they also have several promotions running at the moment. The first is a $10-off deal in which you get Showtime, Starz, and Epix for the first month (as well as access to over 50 channels). The second promotion they are currently running is a free AirTV Mini when you pay for two months of your Sling subscription in advance. Overall, there are plenty of reasons to consider Sling for your cable TV replacement.
Subscription Price: $30/month
Channels Offered: 30+ channels
Trial Period?: 3-day trial
Learn More/Sign Up: Sling
fuboTV is the closest thing to cable TV, offering users access to over 100 channels that they would receive while paying considerably more for their cable package. Unlike other items on this list, subscription plans are highly customizable and the total that you pay will depend upon which channels you sign up for and how many add-ons you decide to integrate into your experience.
For those who are looking into joining now and figuring out add-ons later, some of the benefits that you can expect to receive from the basic subscription package include over 90 channels, 30 hours of cloud DVR space, and support for six accounts as well as streaming on two separate devices. Although it costs a little bit more than other monthly subscriptions, it is definitely worth it if you are a fan of TV but not high prices.
Subscription Price: The basic package costs $59.99/month
Channels Offered: 100+
Trial Period?: 7-day trial
Learn More/Sign Up: fuboTV
Youtube is adored for the host of original content creators and viral videos that make their home there. However, it has recently built upon its service to include access to regular cable channels (you can also sign up for YouTube Premium, but this only allows you to access original content produced by them).
At first glance, the price may seem a little steep. YouTubeTV costs $64.99 per month. However, when you look at their features, it seems a little bit more reasonable. Signing up for YoutubeTV gives you access to over 85 channels (plus add ons), unlimited DVR recording space (yes, you read that right), and the ability to handle six accounts and stream on up to three devices at a time.
Given that this service offers many features you would have to pay extra for on other streaming platforms, this may be the right choice for you if you just want to sign up and start watching.
Subscription Price: $64.99
Channels Offered: 85+
Trial Period?: 2-week trial
Learn More/Sign Up: YouTubeTV
5. AT&T TV Now
It is not odd to see new and interesting contenders in the streaming space, but learning that AT&T has its own television subscription may be news to many. However, AT&T TV Now is a great service that you should consider when you begin shopping around.
AT&T TV Now gives users the ability to access over 45 channels, provides them with over 500 hours of DVR recording space, and allows for streaming on three different devices. Their basic package (Plus) offers 45+ channels, with premium channels costing more, while their Max package offers over 60 channels and free HBO Max. There are other package options, but these cost considerably more than the featured packages, which can be counterproductive to cutting the cord.
The most important thing is to make sure that you are looking only at AT&T TV Now. AT&T does offer TV packages through their main website, and there is nothing worse than accidentally signing up for the wrong service!
Subscription Price:$55 for Plus
Channels Offered: 45+
Trial Period?: 7-day free trial
Learn More/Sign Up: AT&T TV Now
This isn’t a standalone service that is designed to replace the cable TV experience. Rather, this is a service meant for hardcore sports fans who are tired of paying extra for sports channels under their current cable TV provider.
Easy to use and affordable, ESPN+ gives users access to thousands of live events, studio originals, and on-demand content that you may be looking for across all types of sports. The only downside? ESPN+ does not allow you to stream anything that can be found on traditional ESPN channels, which may be a deterrent for some considering using this app in lieu of other forms of access.
Subscription Price: $5.99/month
Trial Period?: Not available
Learn More/Sign Up: ESPN+
7. Hulu + Live TV
There are some platforms that will offer users multiple ways to stream. Although we will talk about Hulu in the near future, right now we are going to take a closer look at Hulu + Live TV. Hulu’s Live TV package gives you access to over 65 channels, unlimited access to their streaming library (ad-supported), streaming support for two devices, and 50 hours of DVR storage.
If you feel like you are looking for a bit more out of your package, there are plenty of add-ons including premium networks like HBO Max and Cinemax, 200 hours of cloud DVR storage, unlimited screen streaming (at home), and entertainment/español channels. If you already have Hulu or were thinking about getting it for yourself, this can be an excellent way to enjoy your favorite streaming service while cutting the cord at the same time.
Subscription Price: $54.99/month
Channels Offered: 65+
Trial Period?: 7-day trial
Learn More/Sign Up: Hulu + Live TV
Alternatives to Cable TV: Best Streaming Options
Live TV options are great for those who want channels they would find in a cable package but don’t want to pay the normal price of a cable TV bundle.
However, not everyone is interested in getting regular channels. Instead, they may just be satisfied with being able to watch a few of their favorite shows and exploring the vast library of digital content that has been produced by emerging streaming platforms.
If you prefer streaming over live TV packages, here are a few of the notable streaming platforms you should consider looking into.
There was once a time when Netflix ruled supreme, but that day quickly came to an end when people began realizing just how popular and lucrative streaming services could be. That said, don’t be so quick to disregard Netflix and turn to other streaming services that have made their debut recently. Netflix still has plenty of great original shows and movies as well as popular shows and movies to choose from.
With plans starting as low as $8.99/month (more for additional streaming and DVD services), why not log-in to claim their free 30-day trial and see what Netflix has to offer once you cut your cable service?
Hulu was one of the first streaming platforms to emerge before we witnessed a boom in everyone getting a cut of the streaming pie. It was also one that was relatively cherished due to the fact that it used to provide some of its content for free.
Although the days of free content are gone, Hulu is still going strong, offering users access to a massive library of over 80,000 TV shows and movies at a low price of only $5.99/month. The best part? They too will give you a free month to try out the platform before you stick to your subscription. (You may even decide to move into Live TV if you love it enough!)
10. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon dominates the internet, so it is no surprise that its streaming service is equally as popular. Amazon Prime Video is a bit different than other streaming platforms in the sense that it looks more like a marketplace. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription (or if you just want to pay the $12.99 monthly subscription to access Amazon Prime Video), you will have access to a massive collection of movies and TV. If there is something on their platform that is not covered by prime, you also have the ability to rent, buy, or start new subscriptions in order to access it.
Although this platform is a bit different to those accustomed to more traditional streaming platforms, the fact that it has both Prime content and content that you can access for additional payment makes it excellent for those who are looking to cover all of their bases. As you may have guessed, they also give users a 30-day trial to start their subscription!
11. Apple TV+
Most streaming platforms are designed to host a wide variety of shows that have been aired as well as free content. Apple TV+ stands out from the crowd by offering a streaming service that airs only exclusive Apple content (although you can always buy or rent movies and TV shows that you like from them as well).
There’s not much to be said about this platform due to its simplicity. However, you will like the fact that it only costs $4.99/month, and Apple will give you a free 7-day trial to watch their shows. They are also running a promotion where you can get a free year of Apple TV+ if you purchase an Apple device and claim the offer!
12. HBO Max
Most cable TV providers have given their customers a month of free HBO somewhere along the line. To say that HBO on cable is underwhelming would be a bit of an understatement. The HBO channel is usually filled with the same three circulating sets of movies for weeks at a time, making you wonder, who watches HBO anyways?
HBO Max is a new streaming service by HBO that shows you what the network is really about. An HBO Max subscription gives you access to all of HBO’s original series, iconic television shows that you would expect to find on high-tier streaming platforms, and plenty of hit movies to keep you occupied.
It is a bit more expensive than other streaming services, costing $14.99/month. But you do get a free 7-day trial, and if you like the shows and originals that they have to offer, it will be well worth the cost and convenience.
Arguably the biggest downside to cable television (besides the high prices) is that those who enjoy English entertainment have to seek new and inconvenient ways to satiate their hunger for their favorite shows. If you belong to this fanbase, then you are in luck!
BritBox is an English entertainment streaming platform that brings you some of the hottest shows from the UK. Because this is such a niche audience, this service is quite affordable, costing you only $6.99/month or $69.99/year. Go ahead and try them out with their free 7-day trial. If you find that you aren’t a fan, you can always cancel!
Can’t get enough of your British television with BritBox? There is another streaming service called AcornTV that can pick up where you left off! Having multiple streaming platforms can be a good idea for those who enjoy English entertainment, simply because not all of the popular TV shows are offered on one platform.
To put it plainly, the programming on AcornTV is comprised of a few popular shows and a ton of campier material. That is not to say that it is bad, however, AcornTV may not be the right streaming platform for those who want more serious programming. But with a 7-day free trial and the low monthly price of $5.99 ($59.99 if you buy a year), why not give it a go?
15. CBS All Access
Certain streaming platforms and live TV options can miss out on some of your favorite programs. Take, for example, Hulu, which misses out on a significant portion of the content that CBS has to offer. What are you to do when you are unable to see some of your favorite shows that are airing now?
If your favorite network offers its own streaming service like CBS All Access does, you don’t have to worry! CBS All Access offers live sports and news coverage, access to CBS All Access original series, and thousands of hit TV shows and movies that you have to pay a higher price for on other platforms.
Even if you don’t tap into all of CBS All Access’s offerings, it only costs $5.99/month ($9.99 for no commercials and 15 percent less if you buy a whole year subscription) and comes with a free 7-day trial!
16. The CW App (Free)
The CW is known for creating a host of excellent television series, whether you are talking about something supernatural like The Vampire Diaries or something more thrilling like Arrow. People who love the CW’s programming don’t have to have cable to enjoy it. If you have a favorite CW show that is currently airing, you can just download the CW app and watch the current season of your favorite show free. This way, you save money trying to seek out the platforms that are broadcasting these shows regularly!
17. Crackle (Free)
When it comes to entertainment, people want free resources. The problem? Some free resources like PopcornFlix offer “just okay” viewing experiences. If you want a free platform with a better experience, you should look into Sony’s Crackle.
Crackle is a free streaming platform that offers Crackle original shows and movies as well as some classic shows and movies that you will find floating around on other free sites. While you may not have all of the new, groundbreaking series that you would get with paid platforms, you are guaranteed to find some things that you will like, especially when you have days when you simply don’t know what to watch.
18. Vudu (Free, Paid Options)
Back when people used to purchase DVDs, you may have noticed small slips of paper in the front that gave you a free download of the movie that you just purchased. Vudu was most likely the platform that you were able to download too, and this service solidified Walmart’s entrance into the entertainment industry.
While digital downloads are still a thing, Vudu is more widely utilized for its free TV and movie-watching experience. As with Crackle, you aren’t going to find too many new movies or TV shows, but you will have plenty of options to choose from and will likely find some classic movies and shows that you would be more than willing to try out.
If you find that the free options aren’t enough, you can also choose to rent or buy TV series and movies through the platform, giving you the perfect mix of free entertainment and on-demand viewing at your fingertips. Whether you’re in the mood for something old or something new, using Vudu as one of your go-to streaming platforms will help you cut down on your cable bill significantly.
Make the Switch Today
When cable TV was the only way to access popular entertainment, it made sense that you had to pay hundreds of dollars monthly to get the programming that you desired. But in today’s world, there are always simpler and more affordable ways to access the same TV programs, live events, and movies that you would expect to find through your current cable provider.
If you are someone who wants to cut the cord but is worried about losing out on everything that you currently have, you will most likely find the live TV options the most effective in helping you to transition without losing all of your usual entertainment sources in the process. If, on the other hand, you are someone who is simply holding onto their cable because you don’t know what else you would watch, you may benefit from the many affordable streaming platforms listed in this guide instead.
No matter where you may fall on this spectrum, this list of the best alternatives to cable TV listed above should provide you with a better overview of what options are out there, how much they will cost, and why they are better than sticking with your overpriced cable package. If you want to save money and cut the cord, use the guide above to get started on your savings journey today!