There’s nothing better than kicking back after a long day and watching some TV, is there?
But when you see the bill…
The cost of cable TV has gone up and up, and you could be spending an average of $100 per month on it.
Luckily, there are a ton of great alternatives out there, which will cost you a fraction of that.
Today, we will look at the top 16 best cable TV alternatives for you, if you want to know how to get free cable TV legally.
16 Best Cable TV Alternatives
This is one of the most cost-effective alternatives to cable TV out there – as it’s completely free!
You will need to shell out for the cost of the antenna of course, but from then on, you’re good to go. It’s good free basic cable TV.
Before cutting the cord, make sure that you have a decent signal!
The types of channels that you will be able to pick up varies, but you should easily get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc.
Netflix is the go-to in our household in the evenings – we love it! It’s really affordable at $9 a month. It’s a little bit more if you want to use it on more than one device at a time.
It’s even more affordable if you can convince one of your family members or friends to be one of the additional devices on their account!
It’s extremely convenient and hosts a whole range of things to watch – both TV programs and films.
They also upload a lot of original Netflix shows, which are great! This is handy if you’re looking for cheap cable TV for low income.
The basic package that Hulu offers is a super affordable $5.99 per month – but with one catch – commercials.
If you want to watch your shows without commercials, you can upgrade for $11.99 per month.
However, you can only watch it on one device at a time – so they haven’t caught up with their competitor Netflix just yet!
A bonus of having Hulu cable TV, however, is that if you are a fan of TV shows, they show them on there on the day that they air – which isn’t possible with options such as Netflix.
YouTube is completely free! And I don’t know about you, but there has been many a time when I’ve been sucked into a YouTube video session which goes on for far too long.
The best thing about YouTube? If you type something in, there’s going to be a video on it. There’s a video for everything!
This is particularly useful if you enjoy watching videos where you can learn something, or you love watching vloggers.
There are some films and shows that you can watch on YouTube, but you may have to pay a small fee. If you are starting out frugal living, this is perfect.
YouTube TV isn’t the same thing as YouTube – this is a service where you can stream your favorite channels.
On there you can get access to your local channels, and then other channels such as CNN and ESPN.
It’s $50 a month, so a bit more on the pricier side than the options we have looked at so far.
This is one of the options that is the most similar to cable TV, so if you really miss it, you may want to go for this.
The basic package is $25 per month (with the first month being $15), and you get a choice of either Sling Orange or Sling Blue. Both offer different channels. There’s also the option of having both for $40 per month.
Sling TV cable is worth looking into if you are after a more customizable package based on the channels that you watch.
Hands up if you have an Amazon Prime account? Great, then you already have access to the videos!
The cost is $119 per year or $8.99 per month. You can get access to TV shows and movies, but the great thing about Prime Video is that if the thing that you want to watch isn’t available, you have the option of renting it.
You won’t get access to sports channels, so that’s something to think about when you are choosing your best cable TV alternative.
You can actually get access to HBO through other streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime.
However, if you want to get it on its own then you have this option – it’s the same cost if you have it as a standalone or add-on.
It’s $14.99 per month, comes with a free 7-day trial, and you can cancel it whenever you want.
Believe it or not, you can get a lot of videos at your local library, of movies and TV shows.
If you have a library card, borrowing them will be free – but make sure that you return it in time or you’ll get a fee!
It’s always great to support your local library too and can be a nice outing with the family.
ESPN + is ESPN’s new streaming service, and it’s all within the ESPN app, so there’s no need to download anything extra.
With ESPN + you can get access to live games and events, films and more. If you’re a sports fan, this is one for you!
It costs $4.99 per month, or $49.99 if you pay annually.
Formerly DirecTV Now, you can stream TV, sports, news, movies and more through this service.
If you are looking for something that is pretty much the same as normal cable, this is it.
It’s a bit steep at $65 – $135 per month, so around the same cost as normal cable.
There are 45 – 125 channels, depending on which package you choose.
Apple isn’t one to shy away from a bit of competition, and they’re giving it their best shot with this low fee streaming service.
It’s priced at $5 per month, and you can get it for free if you purchase an Apple device.
It’s a bit different from the other streaming services that we’ve looked at so far, as it doesn’t have a huge amount of things available – it seems to be mainly concentrating on unique shows.
This is probably the streaming service which is the best value for money in terms of being similar to cable TV in the choices offered.
You are able to get access to 58 channels, which include AMC, BBC America, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and more.
You can stream on all of your devices, and it will cost you $20 per month – with a free 7-day trial.
I don’t think I’ve seen so many stories about a TV-related thing before Disney + came out – it was all over social media!
I don’t blame anyone though, as I love a bit of Disney myself. This is perfect if you are a Disney fan – but it’s not just Disney that this streaming service offers.
There’s the usual Disney stuff, but don’t forget about all of the Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and more! Disney owns pretty much everything by now.
If you are into your sports, you could go for the Disney+ triple package which will offer ESPN and Hulu.
The service is priced pretty cheaply at $7 – $13 per month.
Online Cable Network Channels
There are some online cable network channels that share their recent episodes online.
The best thing to do is to download the apps, and try and link up to your smart TV and play on there.
The network apps are generally free, but you may have to pay a fee to watch certain shows.
CBS is a good one to start with, as they have a service called CBS All Access which is $5.99 per month. Such a great deal!
Free Movie Streaming Services
Why not make your digital entertainment completely free?
There are plenty of free online streaming services to an endless amount of movies with your family.
Here is our list of 15 best free movie streaming services.
Start a Different Hobby
The best alternative to cable TV? Pretty much anything that isn’t watching TV!
Yes, watching TV is a great way to kick back and relax, but there are some other things that you could try instead. They’re better for you and can be fun experiences with the family.
Good old reading! I’m a big fan of reading, as I believe that your writing, spelling, grammar, and imagination are all improved from reading.
You could use the time that you usually spend watching TV, reading a good book instead and learning something new.
TV…or exercise? It’s no surprise that a lot of people choose to watch TV instead, but giving some exercise a go instead is always a good idea.
You may hate the idea before you do it, but I guarantee that you will feel much better afterward.
We live in a beautiful country, it’s time to get outside and enjoy it! There’s nothing better than a stroll in the sunshine, or even on a rainy day. It’s good for you!
Play Board Games
This is a tradition that I want to carry on from when I did this as a kid with my family. I’m not saying we didn’t watch TV, but there certainly weren’t all of the options available that there are now!
Playing board games with my family is one of my favorite memories – it’s fun and brings everyone together.
Start a Side Hustle
One of the best ways to spend your free time is to start up a side hustle.
It may not sound like one of the most fun things to do, especially if you have been at work all day already, but it can be a game-changer.
It’s a good idea to pick something that you will enjoy and see if you can make some money from it.
Then you can use that money to go towards your goals!
Our favorite side hustles:
Take Online Surveys – The perfect side hustle while you watch tv, wait in the doctor’s office, or even sit on the toilet. Yes, you can make money while you use the bathroom.
Start a Money Making Blog – It takes a lot of effort up front but once you start seeing the success the sky is the limit. Our blog brings in over $10,000 per month!
Start a Facebook Side Hustle – Want to make money using Facebook. There are plenty of small business owners in need of marketing help. The perfect flexible side hustle anyone can start.
Teach for VIPKID – If you love working with kids and have some teaching experience why not earn up to $22/hour teaching English online?
Become a Freelance Writer – Freelance writing can be an incredible side hustle. Earn anywhere from $0.10-$0.20 per word depending on your experience.
Become a Proofreader – Love to read? Why not get paid to read others work and find spelling/grammatical errors. You can easily earn a few hundred dollars a month in your spare time.
How Much Money Can You Save Cutting The Cord?
It depends on how much you were originally paying for your cable, and which streaming service you decide to go with.
I do tend to see a lot of people doing a mixture of different streaming services, and you just want to be careful there, that you don’t end up paying more.
If you were paying around $100 for your cable (a conservative guess), and you chose something like Netflix, which is $9 per month, you’d be saving $1092 per year. Wow!
Do You Need Internet to Use These Cable Alternatives?
Yes, you will need the internet to use most of these cable alternatives. If you, however, use your library card to borrow physical movies from the library, you obviously won’t need the internet for that.
Final Thoughts on Awesome These Cable Alternatives
As you can see, there are some amazing alternatives to cable TV out there for you to choose from.
If you love watching TV but you want to cut costs, that doesn’t necessarily mean going cold turkey.
It’s always a good idea to look into cheaper options for the thing that you want, to see if it can save you money.
It depends on what kind of shows and channels you like, but there are plenty of great services if you want to know how to watch TV without cable or satellite.
Have you cut the cable and watch TV for free?