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 between streaming services and cable TV, and are leaning towards a cordless lifestyle, you’re certainly not alone. With no hidden fees, easy cancellation, and even DVR Cloud storage, it’s easy to see why people are making the switch to streaming alternatives. Yet, with so many exciting and affordable options, it can be hard to break through the clutter and find what’s best for you.
Whether you’re dedicated to your local programming or only tune in to a select few TV dramas, 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 to date. Easy to use and boasting a seemingly endless library of TV shows and movies to watch at your own pace, Netflix is a binge-watcher’s dream. This cable alternative can be viewed on any computer, smartphone, tablet, Smart TV, PlayStation, Xbox, Chromecast, or Blu-ray player. All you have to do is subscribe and pay a monthly fee for the package of your choosing. Not totally 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. The only difference between these plans is the availability of HD streaming and the number of screens you can watch Netflix on at once.
Option 1: 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.
Option 2: On the standard plan, you can watch on two screens at once and access HD streaming.
Option 3: 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 that gives you options and flexibility without the hidden fees, Netflix could be your new best friend.
The Cable Alternative for Unbelievable Exclusives: Hulu
Meet Netflix’s binge-worthy cousin — Hulu. Hulu is an incredible alternative to cable TV for many reasons including its one-of-a-kind exclusive shows. Choose from a full-stacked library of exclusive series, hit movies, Hulu Originals, and even 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 $7.99 to $44.99 per month depending on whether or not you add live TV.
Option 1: Hulu without live TV gives you unlimited access to Hulu’s streaming library at a baseline cost of $7.99 a month. Specific add-ons such as no ads, HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax can be added but will increase your monthly payments.
Option 2: Hulu with live TV gives you unlimited access to the Hulu streaming library, over 60 live and On Demand sports, news, and entertainment channels, and lets you record up to 50 hours of live TV on Cloud DVR storage. All for a baseline cost of $44.99 a month. You can choose to pay more with specific add-ons such as enhanced Cloud DVR, unlimited screens, HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax.
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 alternative, you’ll get access to over 60 channels including ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, Disney, ESPN, and CW for $40 a month. For an extra $15 a month, subscribers can access Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus, Shudder, Sundance Now, and Starz.
Additionally, each YouTube TV subscription comes with six accounts to share with family members or roommates. It’s compatible with multiple devices including Android, Android TV, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox One consoles, Nvidia Shield, Chrome web browser, Vizio SmartCast TVs, and select Samsung and LG smart TVs.
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 for later. Note that 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 consolidating your monthly fees and needs into one location sounds ideal, try Amazon Prime Video. This is an especially valuable option if you’re already an Amazon Prime member as it comes at no additional 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 unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows, including 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 by purchasing Fire TV, the micro console and remote developed by Amazon, for an additional cost of $49.99.
Although this cable alternative is limited in its supported devices, you only 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 through an HD Antenna.
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 music from Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Prime Music. You can also enjoy hundreds of games from top developers and connect apps like Uber, Yelp, and even daily fitness guides. Not totally 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, addictive TV series, HBO originals, news, comedy specials, talk shows, documentaries, sports, and live premiers.
This cable alternative is compatible with a range of devices including Android, iPad, iPhone, Fire Tablets, any computer, PS4, Xbox One console, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Samsung Smart TVs.
If you’re an HBO fanatic, this cable 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 is committed to breaking free from old cable TV by cutting unwatched channels, long-term contracts, and hidden fees. Sling has two baseline packages starting at $25 a month, and you can do even more with their seemingly endless add-ons. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth with this cable alternative. Read the options below to find out how.
Option 1: Sling Orange is Sling’s entry-level package starting at $25 a month, offering 30 channels including ESPN, Disney, CNN, BBC America, AMC, Lifetime, TNT, and TBS. Whether you’re recording or watching live, you can only stream one channel at a time.
Option 2: 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, this package provides multi-stream functionality.
Option 3: Sling Blue + Sling Orange includes all of the channels from both packages and multi-streaming functionality for $40 a month. Looking to combine the two packages? With this plan, you can.
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 including Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablets, Android, Apple TV, Airplay, AirTV, Chromecast, iOS, Mac, Nvidia Shield, Select LG Smart TVs, LeEco devices, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players, Chrome web browser, Windows, Xbox One consoles, Xfinity X1 and more. Start a free seven-day trial today and cancel at any time!
The Cable Alternative for Sports Fanatics: Fubo TV
If sports is your primary TV watching concern, FuboTV is a name you’ll want to remember. With FuboTV, you’ll get 90+ live entertainment and sports channels starting at $44.99 a month with access to their niche sports selection and sports local programming. If you choose this cable alternative, you’ll get free Cloud DVR and three-day replay for nearly any game or recently aired movie. Plus, for an additional $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 FuboTV’s most basic packages:
Option 1: With “fubo” you’ll get 90+ channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for $44.99 a month.
Option 2: With “fubo Extra” you’ll get 110+ channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for $49.99 a month.
Option 3: With “fubo Latino” you’ll get 15+ channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for $24.99 a month.
Option 4: With “fubo Portugues” you’ll get 5 channels to watch on your mobile app or TV for $19.99 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 best alternative to cable TV for you, start streaming today with their seven-day free trial.
The Cable Alternative for the Cost-Cutter: Pluto TV
If the primary purpose of your cord cutting is to cut back on spending, why not watch for free? Yes, you heard that right. With PlutoTV you can watch live TV, On Demand movies, and trending videos on the internet for free. Although this cable alternative doesn’t offer any major network channels, it does offer more than 40 live channels including live sports, and 15+ music streaming channels. You can also enjoy their exclusive PlutoTV sitcoms and even a Spanish language channel.
So, what’s the catch? The ads. You can’t escape them. But if you’re looking for a free library of curated TV shows, movies, music, and internet video content, you can’t go wrong with this cable alternative. PlutoTV is also very compatible with supporting devices including Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablets, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Roku, Web browsers, and select Sony, Samsung, and Vivio Smart TVs. Bottom line: If tight budget is your name, PlutoTV 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 close attention to the details and you’ll be well on your way to finding the best cable alternative for you. Happy streaming!