Cutting the cable cord and looking for alternatives to expensive cable or satellite TV packages is becoming increasingly popular. With the rise of streaming services and other options, there are many ways to access TV shows, movies, news, sports, and other content without paying high monthly bills. This article will provide an overview of lower-cost alternatives to access TV programming and important factors to consider.
Lower Cost Alternatives
Use an Over-the-Air Digital Antenna
One of the most affordable options is to use an over-the-air digital antenna. An indoor antenna generally costs between $20-50 depending on range and can access free local broadcast channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS. Check a site like AntennaWeb.org to determine which local channels are available over the air in your location. An outdoor antenna mounted higher up may access even more channels.
Subscribe to Streaming Services
In lieu of hundreds of cable channels, streaming services provide on-demand access to TV shows, movies, and original programming. Services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and others have monthly subscription plans starting as low as $5-15 per month. Bundle services together to get more content.
Consider Free, Ad-Supported Streaming
Accessing Live TV
Choose a Live TV Streaming Service
To access live sports, news, events, etc. without cable, consider a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, or DirecTV Stream. Packages start around $40/month for 60+ live channels. Compare lineups and features to pick the best option for your needs.
Leverage Free Streaming Apps
Many major broadcasters like ABC, NBC, and Fox offer free streaming apps with some live content, news segments, and on-demand shows/clips. News apps like CBS News also provide free 24/7 live news streams.
Tips for Cutting the Cord
- Use AntennaWeb.org to determine availability of local over-the-air channels based on your address.
- Check the channel lineups carefully on live TV streaming sites to ensure your most-watched channels/content are included.
- Consider internet bandwidth usage and speeds when deciding which streaming services to use. Multiple high-bandwidth HD video streams may lag on slower connections.
- Take advantage of free trial periods (usually 7 days) offered by most streaming services to test them out before paying.
Cutting out traditional pay TV subscriptions can save hundreds of dollars per year with careful planning. Follow the tips above to identify affordable alternatives like antennas and streaming options to meet your TV viewing needs. Be sure to factor in all costs and read the fine print when comparing services. With a little effort, you can ditch cable and satellite bills but still enjoy plenty of entertainment.