When was the last time you watched all of the channels you are paying for with your cable bill? I can’t remember a time I’ve even watched 10% of my available channels.
Each month you get that cable bill and wonder why you are paying $50, $100, and on average $123 per month! The cable companies have a monopoly and consumers have no place to go. To top it all off, cable companies rank as having the worst customer service across all industries, second only to government offices!
So what can you do about it? With the advent of the internet, many alternatives to the big cable companies now exist. Here’s a breakdown of your options for how to watch TV for free online.
Streaming Alternatives to Cable TV
- Hulu: Hulu provides free entertainment with a huge selection of options. Many network programs are available on Hulu, if only the most recent episodes for free. The free version is ad-driven, but you can remove the ads by paying $7.99 a month for Hulu Plus
- Netflix: I personally use Netflix and love it. It has most of the shows I enjoy watching and has a constantly rotating selection of movies and TV shows. You can get unlimited streaming for $7.99 a month, but for $8.99 a month you can share with family members and you get HD.
- Amazon Instant Video: Amazon has a huge selection of movies and TV shows that you can watch on-demand.
- Amazon Prime Video: For only $8.25 a month, Amazon offers unlimited streaming AND free two-day shipping for anything you order from Amazon. In addition, you can borrow Kindle books for up to a month. And if you’re a student, you can get all of this for free!
- YouTube: Another free service that can offer just as much – or even more – entertainment than your regular network TV shows. This comes built-in to most digital devices (TVs, Blu-ray Players, etc.).
- Network TV Websites: Most network TV channels (ABC, CBS, BBC) offer the most recent episodes of your favorite shows for free streaming from their websites. Just don’t get behind on your favorite shows!
Set-Top Boxes & Other Devices
Unless you have a Smart TV, you won’t be able to view many of the services above on your TV without connecting your laptop. The devices listed below help bridge that gap.
- Something as simple as this RCA Basic Indoor Antenna will do the job for only $8.
- Mini-Android with Google TV ($44): Great little device, but requires a keyboard and mouse
- Apple TV: Great for connecting Mac and iOS devices, but doesn’t play well with Android
- Roku HD: handles all of the major TV and radio streaming services (720p)
- Google Chromecast ($28): Such a great deal for a fantastic device. I use this all the time for watching Netflix. Supports a ton of apps.
- Amazon Fire TV: Supports surround sound, 1080p resolution, and thousands of apps. This device is amazing.
- Laptop: Any laptop computer with an HDMI port can be hooked up to your TV for streaming fun (1080p) – $400.
- Sling TV: A recent up-and-comer, Sling offers all your favorite channels for a fraction of the cost. For only $20 a month, you can have ESPN, HBO, along with hundreds of other great channels.
New Smart HDTVs
- Just about any HDTV that’s been made in the past 2 years has many streaming options and apps built in.
Any of these options should work for your situation and at they very least, they will allow you to cut the cable cord once and for all. I’ve used a variety of these apps and set-top boxes and have never had a problem. Best of luck to you as you try to save even more money!