A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO CABLE TV ALTERNATIVES
Millions of people are cutting the cord and getting rid of cable TV. Thanks to the numerous cable TV alternatives available today, you can now get same or similar services as cable at a fraction of the price.
The average cable bill in 2018 was a whopping $107!
What would you do with an extra $100 or more every month?
Now, I know that cutting the cord might seem a little intimidating. With all the different cord cutting options available today, from on-demand streaming services like Netflix to live streaming services like Hulu Live and Sling TV that offer your favorite channels from ESPN and HGTV, it can be a bit overwhelming at first.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help. As one of the first cord cutting websites ever created, we’ve shown thousands of people how to get rid of cable and helped save our visitors tens of thousands of dollars over the years.
If you’re wondering how to cut the cord, it only takes 3 simple steps.
1. Choose a Video Streaming Service ⇑
A streaming service is a simple application or website that allows you to watch movies and/or television shows using your internet connection. You can watch on a variety of devices, from your TV (using a connected device like Roku or Apple TV or smart features already built into your television), phone, tablet, or computer.
There are two basic types of streaming services:
- Live Streaming Services–These are true cable TV alternatives as they offer the same channels you get with cable or satellite delivered using your internet connection. These streaming services are a fraction of the price of cable (starting as low as $16/month in some cases), require no contract, and most offer a free 7-day trial. Some of the most popular live streaming services are Sling TV (review), Hulu Live (review), fuboTV (review), and Philo, to name just a few.
- On-Demand Streaming Services–Binge shows on your own schedule with popular on-demand streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu classic, etc.
There are countless online streaming services to choose from, so knowing what you want is the first step towards finding the best cord cutting options for your particular needs.
Here is my advice before you get rid of cable: make a list of all the shows, sports (yes, you can watch sports without cable!), and other entertainment that you cannot live without, and find out which channels they typically air on. Then use our Online TV Channels page to learn about all the different video streaming options you have, and what shows they offer.
Last but not least, most of the paid Streaming Services offer free trials. So this is really a no risk, all reward proposition; and you don’t have to cancel your Cable TV subscription before you test out these alternatives.
What About Streaming Video Scams?
With cybercriminals running rampant, knowing what to avoid is even more important than knowing what you want or need. The old saying “if it seems too good to be true it probably is” are words to live by when piecing together your cable TV alternatives.
To help you stay out of harm’s way, I built the most comprehensive list of “Stream TV Scam” sites available. Please take some time to read this page, as it could save you a lot of time, money and frustration.
2. Get a Video Streaming Device ⇑
Now that you have your streaming service(s) all picked out, and you know what to avoid; you’ll need a streaming device that will let you stream these apps on your TV. If you’re somebody who already watches Netflix on your TV, you’re probably all set. If not, don’t worry, you don’t need any technical know-how to get setup.
A streaming device is exactly what it sounds like, a set-top box that allows you to stream television and movies to your TV, with the help of your favorite streaming services. They’re usually very small, no larger than a WiFi router and will connect directly to your TV. The easiest way to understand this is to think of your streaming device as a replacement for your cable box.
As far as streaming devices go, there quite literally more than I could ever name. The most popular brands are Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast. If you stick with any of those brands, you should be fine.
Here is a complete list of the most talked about streaming devices on the market, along with snippet reviews, places to buy, and links to full-length feature articles.
3. Use an HD Antenna for Free Local TV ⇑
Did you know you could get dozens of free channels with an antenna? Yeah, I know it sounds old school, but antennas still deliver some of the most popular TV shows and sports.
Simply put, the antenna is a great piece of equipment to have if you want to cut the cord and cancel cable.
An HDTV antenna is the modern iteration of the old trusty rabbit ears that you grew up with as a kid; the only difference is that it’s capable of picking up high definition over-the-air television signals, from much farther distances. A modern HD Antenna will run you between $30 and $150 on average, depending on your needs.
Every antenna and living situation is a little bit different, but at a high level, connecting an HD Antenna consists of 5 steps.
- Figuring out if you need an Indoor Antenna or an Outdoor Antenna (hint: you always want to go with an Outdoor Antenna if possible).
- Determining the best location for the Antenna, given varying signal strengths. (signal meters on your TV will help you optimize placement)
- Installing the Antenna, either indoors or outdoors.
- Running the cabling from the Antenna to your TV, and connecting the coaxial cables.
- Running an Antenna Channel Scan on your TV.
For most, this is fairly easy to do. Some antennas today literally stick to your wall and require no hardware to mount. Not a big deal to set up an antenna and well worth the effort when cutting the cord.
Once you have your antenna hooked up, you will be able to pick up all of the broadcast networks in your area; such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and CW. These broadcasts are 100% FREE, in 1080p HD and completely legal.
Once your antenna is set up, you’ll be surprised by how many of your favorite shows, sports (you can even watch NFL without cable), news, and other entertainment are available on network television, and you will wish you had decided to get rid of cable much sooner.
Questions About Your Cable TV Alternatives?
I have been writing for cord cutters since 2011, and have helped thousands of people save $100+ a month. Just think of what you can do with that extra money in your pocket!
If you still have questions about how to get rid of cable, I’m always here to help.
First, I always recommend using our search bar at the top of this page to find the info you’re looking for. If you don’t see what you need, just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out!
If you’re tired of spending thousands of dollars on a bad service with terrible choices, then you know what you have to do. It’s time to take the leap and cut the cord today!