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Entertainment is one of the top categories people will trim from their budgets if they’re looking to save some money. But that doesn’t mean you have to forego your favorite shows! For those who still want to enjoy television, here are ways to watch tv without cable.
Buy a TV Antenna
If you live near a major television station you might have some luck picking up cable channels on your own. Buy a TV antenna and test out your connection.
Disablemycable.com has a great review of their top choice antennae. They also have a helpful guide to find out if you’re close enough to benefit from buying your own antenna.
Stream Through Network Website
If you enjoy cable TV for a particular program, chances are some of your favorites are already streaming online for free.
Often networks are uploading their top shows on their websites to stream for free. The latest episodes are up within days, or even hours, after it first airs on TV so that they can capture viewers.
So if you’re a fan of game shows like America’s Got Talent or The Voice, but don’t have cable, check out NBC’s website. They will have new episodes online every week for viewers to watch.
Likewise, some other networks like MTV and CBS will have new episodes online for free for a limited time.
Stream on Demand
The most obvious way to watch TV without cable is to pick a new service. Fortunately, the advent of the internet has made that way easier done than said.
Yes, we’re talking about Netflix. What started out as a goofy way of renting DVDs is now a full-blown mammoth media streaming service that services thousands of users.
While it isn’t free, a Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime subscription will be less than your average $100 per month cable bill. In fact, if you subscribe to all three streaming services, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, your monthly bill is about a quarter of the average monthly cable bill.
All three services offer original productions of television shows but they also stream current popular sitcoms and documentaries and even international shows. Plus they also offer some out-of-production favorites!
There’s arguably a better selection of what you can choose from using these sites compared to what you’d get for a cable subscription. Plus you don’t have to work around a schedule set by a television network.
Catch your favorite shows or discover new faves whenever you have the time.
Add Network Streaming
If you’ve already got Hulu or Amazon but you’ve been wondering how to watch Game of Thrones or other HBO shows then you can boost your existing subscriptions by adding HBO Now.
Showtime and Starz can also be added to existing Hulu and Amazon subscriptions for an extra fee, of course.
If you’re unsure if these add-ons will add anything to your viewing experience, then take advantage of their free trials.
HBO Go has a seven-day free trial for their smartphone app. You can get some quality viewing time in seven days and see if this app has the type of entertainment you’re looking for. But before you install, look up how you can also deactivate the subscription on your phone.
(Just a fair warning: if you start watching Game of Thrones now you’ve already missed the mass pop culture wave. But at least you’ll have a better understanding of the memes.)
Try Sling TV
Sling TV is basically cable without cable. But it’s only available to people who live in the U.S.
Through Sling TV you can watch your typical cable channels like Disney or ESPN or CNN for a monthly fee that starts at $25 a month. If cable is what you’re craving and you aren’t getting your fix from Hulu or Netflix, then Sling TV might be your best bet.
That is, of course, if you live within the U.S.
International cable cravers who want to cut the cord won’t be able to avail of Sling.
FuboTV is focused on sports streaming but it also offers channels like A&E and the Weather Channel. The downside of using on-demand streaming services similar to Netflix or Hulu is that they don’t offer live streaming for sports which is a huge part of the cable experience.
FuboTV might be able to fill the sports streaming hole in your no-cable experience!
Try YouTube TV
Yeah, YouTube isn’t just for looking up how to replace your car headlights or kids unboxing their Christmas gifts.
This Google-owned video mogul has bloomed into a cable competitor. YouTube TV is pretty steeply priced compared to Netflix, at about $50 a month.
It’s a tough pill considering millions of hours of free content is uploaded to the website every hour. But YouTube TV isn’t just premium YouTube content, it also comes with live TV from over 70 networks.
YouTube TV advertises free unlimited DVR storage and streaming of live sports, news and television shows.
All things considered, $50 a month is still half of the average cable monthly cost.
But, like Sling TV, YouTube TV is restricted to U.S. residents
Try DIRECTV Now
DIRECTV Now is AT&T’s answer to the modern audience’s move to a cable-less life while still providing their TV services.
The type of cable services you would have gotten from a cable box is available to stream through DIRECTV Now if you also have an Apple TV or Chromecast or a similar device.
Like YouTube TV, this one will run you about $50 a month.
How to Watch TV Without Cable
Listen, watching TV these days is so easy and there are so many options that’ll fit any budget so there’s no need to find episodes of your favorite shows uploaded online that violate copyright laws.
Sports scores for your favorite teams will be available online for free. There are blogs dedicated to recapping your favorite shows in case you missed them.
Try the other legitimate ways to consume your favorite television programs!
Hopefully, this short list of cable alternatives included something within your budget to help you cut the cord. The future is streaming and a lot of companies are moving toward that future rapidly, so you might as well ditch your cable box now!