Cable Alternatives
Updated February 28, 2020

Ready to Cut Cable? 8 Cable Alternatives Worth a Look in 2020

Save on Bills

Money Done Right does not run display ads or accept sponsorships to promote particular products or services. However, we may receive a commission if you purchase or sign up through links on this page. Here's more information about how we make money.

Cable was once the easiest way to access TV, but there are now a wide variety of options for people who want access to their favorite shows and movies. Depending on your needs, you may be able to find TV service for a fraction of the cost of cable.

In fact, cable plans can be well over $100 per month, while a number of services are significantly cheaper. There’s no reason to pay more than you need to for TV. These are some of the best cable alternatives for cord-cutters to think about in 2020.

Hulu

  • Hulu: Best on a Budget
    • Basics: Hulu offers subscriptions for streaming existing content as well as viewing live TV. Each plan is a great value, and Hulu has one of the best libraries of any cable alternative.
    • Pros: In addition to its low price, Hulu also uploads many episodes the day after they air. You can set up a separate profile for each person who uses the plan.
    • Cons: Hulu Live TV comes with only 50 hours of storage space, much less than some alternatives. You can pay extra to upgrade to 200 hours, but this brings the subscription to $70 per month.
    • Live TV

      Yes

    • Add-Ons

      Yes

    • Price Points

      • $6 per month (ads)
      • $12 per month (no ads)
      • $55 per month (live TV)


Hulu is one of the most popular streaming services, and there are several reasons to consider it over Netflix. It also comes at multiple subscription tiers, giving you the ability to pay for exactly what you want. It’s arguably the most robust option if you’re looking for a way to replace cable while cutting costs.

Pricing

At $6 per month, a basic Hulu subscription allows you to view any existing movies and shows in the Hulu library. This includes both classic and modern content, including shows that are currently being released. New episodes are typically on Hulu in as little as a day, substantially earlier than Netflix.

The downside to Hulu’s cheapest subscription is that content includes unskippable ads. These last for up to 90 seconds, and there may be several commercial interruptions in a single episode. Watching a show with a basic Hulu plan is similar to watching it on cable.

You can upgrade to an ad-free plan for $12 per month. Unfortunately, a few shows still play with ads due to Hulu’s streaming rights. This could be a good investment if you use the app regularly, although there’s no reason to spend more if ads don’t bother you. There is no benefit to the $12 per month plan aside from removing ads.

Hulu’s priciest plan comes in at $45 per month, although that’s increasing to $55 on December 18th. That might sound like a lot, but it’s probably a lot less than you would spend on a comparable cable subscription. This plan includes live TV on over 60 channels in addition to the library included at lower subscription tiers. Unfortunately, you’ll be limited to streaming on a single device at any one time.

Additional Offers

There are several add-ons available for different pricing plans. At $6 or $12 per month, you can add HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime to your account. Live TV users can add these channels along with advanced features such as unlimited screens and a Cloud DVR.

Free trials of the $6 and $12 plans are available for up to a month, giving you time to decide whether Hulu is worth the money. The trial length decreases to a week for the live TV subscription. If you want to try live TV, consider signing up for a free trial over the holidays.

If you want to use multiple streaming services, you can also bundle Hulu with ESPN+ and Disney+ for a total cost of $13 per month, far lower than the cost of each one individually. You could sign up for three separate free trials and then pay for the bundle if you’re still interested.

Details

Hulu is fast and easy to use, and you can download the Hulu app on a wide range of devices. In addition to computers, these devices currently support the latest Hulu app:

  • Android tablets and phones
  • Android TV (certain models)
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Echo Show
  • Fire Tablets
  • Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • iPads
  • iPhones
  • LG TV (certain models)
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Playstation 3 and 4
  • Roku and Roku Stick
  • Samsung TV (certain models)
  • VIZIO SmartCast TVs
  • Windows 10
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One

Hulu’s library is competitive with some of the best streaming services, although this obviously depends on your preferences. Each plan is a great deal at its price point, and Hulu is one of the most accessible streaming apps. Access to episodes the day after they come out is a great perk.

The main downside associated with Hulu is the one-device limit on Live TV accounts. Additionally, Live TV customers get just 50 hours of recording space. While you can bump that to 200 hours for another $15 per month, this makes the subscription substantially more expensive and still doesn’t match the unlimited storage available with YouTube TV.

HD Antenna

  • HD Antenna: Best for Local Broadcasting
    • Basics: Installing an HD antenna might sound complicated, but it's actually an easy way to receive TV broadcasts. Indoor and outdoor antennae are available in directional, multidirectional, and omnidirectional models.
    • Pros: HD antennae don't require a streaming device like a Fire Stick or Roku, so you can connect it directly to your TV. You also won't have to spend any money after setting up the antenna. In contrast to many live TV services, HD antennae are perfect for local broadcasts.
    • Cons: Antennae are only capable of transmitting a signal, so you won't have access to basic features like DVR or watching on your phone. Channel availability can also vary widely depending on your location.
    • Live TV

      Yes

    • Add-Ons

      No

    • Price Points

      $20 - $40


Most cord-cutters go from cable to a streaming service, but you can get an even better deal with an HD antenna. Keep in mind that different channels are available in different areas-you should do some research before assuming that you’ll have access to your favorite channels.

You need to raise the antenna above the ground for TV access, but you won’t have to pay after installation. If you’re capable of doing the work or know someone who is, this could be the most cost-effective choice. That said, you won’t have access to basic features like DVR, on demand, or old episodes unless you also subscribe to a streaming service.

Of course, putting up an antenna could be complicated if you live in an apartment. Some homeowners associations even restrict the use of antennae to maintain curb appeal. You should consider these logistical factors before purchasing an HD antenna.

Antenna Varieties

Installing an antenna is obviously simpler when you have more space, but anyone can put up an HD antenna. Smaller antennae work perfectly in apartments and other small spaces. Furthermore, different models are designed for indoor and outdoor use. You should be able to find an antenna that matches your budget and living situation.

The caveat with indoor antennae is that they won’t work outside of roughly twenty miles from a broadcasting station. Outdoor antennae can function from significantly further away, and they typically offer a better signal. It’s generally better to invest in an outdoor antenna if you have the space.

Aside from indoor and outdoor, HD antennae come in three basic varieties. Directional antennae are pointed in a specific direction and can’t receive signals from other locations. This is fine if your local stations are closely grouped, but it can also be an inconvenience.

Multidirectional antennae expand to more than one direction, although they still won’t cover every possible angle. Again, the right choice for you depends on the relative location of broadcasting stations. Antenna Web provides helpful information about virtually every aspect of HD antennae including your nearest stations.

Omnidirectional antennae pick up signals from every direction, so you won’t have to worry about lining it up at the right angle. They’re usually more expensive than directional and multidirectional models. That said, expensive antennae aren’t always better, and quality varies widely from one manufacturer to another. It’s critical to do extensive research before buying an HD antenna.

Antennae provide free access to live TV, essentially giving you something like the Hulu Live TV plan for free. Don’t forget to check which channels are accessible in your area. Given the relatively low cost of installation and the lack of a monthly fee, putting up an antenna and subscribing to a streaming service for old movies and TV shows could be the best overall option.

Netflix

  • Netflix: Best for Movies and Classic Shows
    • Basics: Netflix is no longer the undisputed leader in streaming, but its library still makes it a great value. It continues to provide some of the best exclusive content among all cable alternatives.
    • Pros: Netflix offers flexible pricing depending on your desired resolution, and its movies and TV shows are arguably better than those of any competitors. Netflix movies generally have a limited release in theaters before coming out on Netflix.
    • Cons: Netflix still doesn't provide any live TV options. Memberships are also more expensive if you have a newer TV (this could be a pro and/or con).
    • Live TV

      No

    • Add-Ons

      No

    • Price Points

      • $8.99 per month (SD)
      • $12.99 per month (HD)
      • $15.99 per month (UHD)


Netflix was one of the first major streaming companies, and it continues to be a leader in the field. While it doesn’t provide the same live TV options as Hulu or an antenna, there are still a number of reasons to choose Netflix.

Pricing

Netflix offers a 30-day free trial on every plan, so there’s no risk to signing up. Set a reminder on your phone when you start the trial so that you don’t forget to cancel if you don’t think the service is worth it. There are currently Netflix subscription tiers at three different price points.

At $9 per month, your content will be limited to standard definition. Basic users can only view content on one device at a time, which isn’t ideal for families. You can upgrade to HD and two devices with the Standard plan at $13 per month. Finally, Premium comes at $16 per month and includes 4K Ultra HD plus support for up to four devices.

In addition to watching on multiple devices simultaneously, you can also download content on as many devices as are supported in your plan. This is perfect for plane rides or any other time where you won’t have internet access. It’s easy to change or cancel your subscription after signing up.

Details

Unlike Hulu, Netflix doesn’t show any ads at all, although there is product placement in some content. You can use Netflix on a similarly wide range of devices, and the platform allows you to set up multiple profiles within the same account. The Netflix library is extremely extensive, although some content is only found on other websites. Don’t forget to check the Netflix collection before signing up if you’re interested in a specific movie or show.

In addition to compiling TV and movies, Netflix has been heavily investing in its own content. These shows and movies are only available on Netflix. While a few other streaming services create their own content, Netflix is clearly ahead of the competition.

More and more movies are running an initial release in limited theaters before coming straight to Netflix. Signing up is the easiest way to keep up with these releases, and it’s a better deal than buying tickets whenever a new Netflix movie comes out.

Sling TV

  • Sling TV: Best for Live TV on a Budget
    • Basics: Sling TV focuses on live TV and provides a wide range of popular channels. New members can also receive a free device after creating an account.
    • Pros: The Sling TV Orange and Blue plans are among the cheapest subscriptions available for live TV. Combined, they offer an incredibly wide range of channels at just $40.
    • Cons: The Orange and Blue plans split up genres, so you'll probably need to get both if you're interested in a specific genre like sports or kids' shows. DVR costs an additional $5 per month, and Blue users are limited to a single device at any given time. Sling TV doesn't offer great support for local channels.
    • Live TV

      Yes

    • Add-Ons

      Yes

    • Price Points

      • $25 per month (Orange or Blue)
      • $40 per month (both)


Sling TV is an increasingly popular streaming brand with some of the best values available. It’s also thoroughly customizable, allowing you to find the perfect plan rather than paying a flat rate for every supported channel. Furthermore, you can access Sling TV on essentially any popular device.

Pricing

In contrast to Netflix, Sling TV is a premium cable alternative competing with services like Hulu Live TV. Their prices are relatively comparable, and the right option for you likely depends on the channels you watch. While Sling TV doesn’t offer a free trial, you will receive 40% off your first month. There are no long-term commitments, so you can cancel anytime.

Sling Orange costs $25 per month, or $15 for the first month if you’re a new subscriber. It offers access to a number of popular channels such as ESPN, CNN, and the History Channel. Sling Blue is the same price and is more of an alternative than an upgrade.

Some channels, including CNN, TBS, and IFC, are available with both subscriptions. On the other hand, each plan also comes with a variety of exclusive channels. For example, Orange users can watch ESPN, Disney, and Freeform, while Blue users have access to TLC, National Geographic, and FX.

You can also combine the Orange and Blue subscriptions if you want access to all of Sling TV’s channels. Instead of $50, you’ll pay just $40 per month, or $25 for the first month. Aside from different channels, all users have access to the same set of features.

Additional Offers

Sling TV is currently offering a free device to users who sign up and prepay at least two months. You can get a free Fire Stick or AirTV Mini. Most streaming services don’t provide free devices, so this is a great time to subscribe to Sling TV.

In addition to the Orange and Blue plans, you can also add individual channels and features to your Sling TV subscription. This gives you full control over your plan and helps you avoid unnecessarily spending money.

Cloud DVR, for example, is available to all users for an extra $5 per month. You can record unlimited shows at the same time and view them later. You can fast forward and rewind recorded content as if you had a cable subscription.

Extra channels can be added to your account in one of seven bundles: sports, comedy, kids, news, lifestyle, Hollywood, and Heartland. The specific channels depend on your subscription. The Sling Orange kids pack comes with Nick Jr., while the Blue addition includes Nicktoons and Teennick. Each bundle costs $5 per month.

All users can add the Total TV Deal to their plan for just $20 per month. This bundles every expansion available in your plan for far less than it would cost to pay for each one separately. There’s also a four-pack of extras available for $10, while it would cost $20 to add four individual extras to your plan. You can even select a la carte channels such as Starz and Showtime for as little as $3 per month.

Unlike most other cable alternatives, Sling TV also gives you the option to rent individual movies. Sling TV supports pay-per-view, so you can pay for and view events without needing to use another app. This function is currently limited to certain devices. After renting, you can start watching the movie within 30 days. Once you start watching, the content will expire in either 24 or 48 hours.

Details

In addition to its unmatched flexibility, Sling TV comes with countless helpful features. You can watch on virtually any device through either the website or app. On the other hand, Orange users are limited to three simultaneous devices and Blue users to just one. If you have both subscriptions, you can stream on up to four devices at the same time.

While an HD antenna picks up nearby signals, Sling TV isn’t a great option for local TV. Most of its programming focuses on nationally available content. This is true of a number of cable alternatives, but it’s still a noteworthy downside. Cable and antennae are the best solutions if you want access to local TV.

Furthermore, Sling TV appears affordable at first, but it can get pricey if you start adding extras. A Blue+Orange plan plus all additional packages, for example, costs $60 per month. This is probably less than cable in your area, but it’s still a lot to spend on TV. You could spend even more if you want to pay for individual channels, and the DVR add-on only gives you 50 hours of storage.

That said, Sling will send you an HD antenna if you create an account and pay for at least two months. This is the simplest option for adding local TV to a Sling subscription. Unfortunately, you’ll have to use Sling’s antenna rather than being able to choose your own.

Another drawback to Sling TV is the fact that channels are divided into Orange and Blue packages. Rather than covering different genres, each bundle includes some options from a variety of genres. If you want access to every sports channel, for example, you’ll have to pay for both Blue and Orange. This can be frustrating if you’re only interested in specific genres.

Overall, while there are a number of issues with Sling TV, there’s also a reason it’s so popular. It compares well against competition around the same price, and it does offer a decent degree of customization. Whether it’s a better option than similar live TV services ultimately depends on the channels and features that matter to you.

YouTube TV

  • YouTube TV: Best Overall
    • Basics: YouTube TV provides a complete package at a lower cost than similar services. Overall, it's the best option if you're interested in a program that comes with live TV.
    • Pros: YouTube TV costs $50 per month, $5 less than Hulu Live TV. It's the only service listed to provide unlimited recording space, and it offers more local channels than Sling TV.
    • Cons: A YouTube TV subscription costs $5 more per month if you sign up using the Apple App Store.
    • Live TV

      Yes

    • Add-Ons

      Yes

    • Price Points

      $50 per month


YouTube TV is a relative newcomer, but it’s already proving to be among the top TV options without cable. Again, it’s competing with subscriptions like Sling TV and Hulu Live TV. You should consider YouTube TV if you’re looking for an affordable and convenient non-cable TV service.

Pricing

With that in mind, YouTube TV is priced comparably to its top competitors. You’ll be able to start with a limited free trial, currently set at three weeks for the holiday season. The free trial usually runs for just one week. From there, a subscription is $50 per month, and YouTube claims that there are no hidden fees. This increases to $55 if you subscribe through the App Store, so don’t forget to sign up on another device.

Like most other cable alternatives, YouTube TV lets you add to your subscription if you need more than the basic package. Channels like AMC Premiere, NBA League Pass, and Showtime are available for an additional cost. In contrast to Sling TV, YouTube TV comes at a single price point which includes all supported channels.

While there are add-ons available, these only come with more channels. Sling TV, on the other hand, locks features like Cloud DVR behind a paywall. You won’t have to pay extra to access the full functionality of YouTube TV. While the website claims that you will save $700 per year, this obviously depends on cable availability in your area.

Details

Unsurprisingly, you can access YouTube TV on most major devices. While the service lets you set up as many as six accounts, only three can stream at once. This is similar to the limits imposed by other alternatives to cable. YouTube TV’s built-in DVR includes unlimited space, and you can record as many shows as you want at the same time.

Moreover, YouTube TV provides excellent support for local channels like CBS and Fox. Unlike with Sling, you won’t have to install an antenna to access this content. It also comes with many of the most popular nationwide channels, although availability can vary depending on your location. Again, there’s no “best” channel selection, so it’s best to compare channel lists directly.

Assuming you want to record shows, YouTube TV is slightly more expensive than Sling TV and slightly cheaper than Hulu Live TV. Including DVR, a full subscription to each service costs $50, $45, and $55 per month respectively, but YouTube TV doesn’t limit recording storage.. Using YouTube TV is very similar to accessing the main YouTube website, so it’s arguably the most convenient of the three.

YouTube TV offers everything you expect from an alternative to cable TV, and you won’t be disappointed if you start a new subscription. While you may miss out on certain channels, it’s the overall best option in its class. Free access to unlimited storage space is a great perk if you tend to horde TV shows.

Philo

  • Philo: Best for Entertainment
    • Basics: Philo competes with other cable alternatives by offering a lower price for fewer channels. While its library may be sufficient for those interested in entertainment, it simply doesn't offer the same selection as the competition.
    • Pros: At just $20 per month, Philo is the cheapest live TV subscription on the list. It still provides roughly 60 channels, and there are more than enough entertainment options. Cloud DVR is also a great perk given the price point.
    • Cons: Philo doesn't offer many channels in genres like sports and news, so it's a relatively limited service. Furthermore, Philo still hasn't released an app on popular gaming consoles.
    • Live TV

      Yes

    • Add-Ons

      No

    • Price Points

      $20 per month


Philo is another live TV brand offering a comparable package to YouTube TV, and it’s significantly more affordable than virtually every competitor. While you won’t have access to quite as many channels, you’ll get most of the same features for less money.

Pricing

Like most other alternatives to cable, you can start using Philo with a free trial. The trial period is just seven days, so this is a great time to sign up. You can cancel at any time, so you won’t be locked into a long-term contract.

Philo’s pricing model is the simplest of any live TV service. There’s only one plan, which costs $20 per month and includes all of Philo’s channels. Philo currently offers a total of 58 channels, although that number may fluctuate as channels enter and leave the service.

There are no extra features or channels, so Philo is much cheaper than programs like YouTube TV. If you like Philo’s channels, there’s almost no reason to spend more on another alternative to cable TV. Since it’s more affordable, you could also combine it with a service like Netflix or Hulu.

Details

Philo’s main selling point is its lower price, and that leads to a smaller range of channels. It isn’t the best option for sports fans as it doesn’t support channels like ESPN, NBC, and Fox Sports. Since there aren’t any add-ons, you also won’t have access to individual league services like NBA League Pass.

Similarly, Cheddar and BBC News are the only news channels, so this isn’t a great way to keep up with current events. Popular news channels like CNN, CBS, and ABC are available on many other platforms. You should consider another option if you’re looking for a service that includes news and sports.

You can stream content on Philo using up to three devices at the same time. That said, you can create as many as ten profiles in the same account. This is roughly in line with other services, and it’s a good deal when you consider the price. Philo supports devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV in addition to computers, tablets, and smartphones. Unfortunately, Philo doesn’t have an app on consoles like Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

Instead of supporting a range of genres, Philo primarily focuses on entertainment. This includes channels like AMC, Comedy Central, Food Network, and TLC, and there isn’t much support for other types of content. Nickelodeon is the only channel for kids, while many services offer Cartoon Network and other options.

Cloud DVR functionality is free with a Philo subscription. Like YouTube TV, Philo gives you unlimited storage, so you won’t have to worry about clearing space for new recordings. On the other hand, all recordings are automatically deleted after 30 days. Don’t forget to watch recorded shows while they’re still available.

Philo’s features are comparable to those of other streaming services, but its channels are clearly more limited. At $20 per month, it’s even cheaper than signing up for Sling TV’s Orange or Blue plan, and you won’t have to pay extra for DVR. The key difference is that Philo targets entertainment while Sling TV provides a few channels from several genres. If you’re mainly interested in the channels Philo offers, consider using it alone or combining it with a streaming service.

FuboTV

  • FuboTV: Best for Entertainment
    • Basics: FuboTV offers a unique library of channels including a wide range of sports networks. While it doesn't come with ESPN, you can sign up for ESPN+ for just $5 per month.
    • Pros: FuboTV goes beyond the competition in local, domestic, and international sports. There's also support for numerous local news channels in addition to larger networks.
    • Cons: ESPN is a critical omission for sports fans, especially given that it's available on other platforms. DVR space is also limited to just 30 hours unless you pay for the family plan.
    • Live TV

      Yes

    • Add-Ons

      Yes

    • Price Points

      • $20 per month (latino quarterly)
      • $55 per month (standard)
      • $60 per month (family)
      • $80 per month (ultra)


In contrast to Philo, FuboTV emphasizes its support for local channels including news and sports. It advertises over 100 total channels, significantly more than some other non-cable TV options. In New York City, for example, FuboTV users have access to an incredible 201 channels.

Pricing

While most cable alternatives come at a single price point, FuboTV’s pricing model is more like that of Sling TV. The base Standard package, for example, costs $55 per month and is comparable to basic plans with other streaming services. In addition to 116 channels, you’ll also have access to a wide range of 4K events. Standard users can watch on two devices at once and use 30 hours of storage space.

You can upgrade to a Family plan for just $5 more per month. Family subscriptions raise the recording limit to 500 hours and allow you to use up to three devices at once. Other than that, the Family plan is completely equivalent to Standard, so there’s no reason to upgrade if you only need 30 hours and two devices.

The Ultra plan costs $80 per month, but just $75 per month for the first three months. Ultra subscribers gain access to 68 channels including sports, entertainment, and Showtime. On the other hand, you’ll still be subject to the three-device and 500-hour limits associated with the Family subscription. You can also pay for individual extra channels if you don’t want to upgrade to an Ultra subscription.

FuboTV offers free trials on Standard and Family plans for up to one week. Unfortunately, there is currently no trial available for the Ultra subscription. In addition to these plans, there’s also a Latino Quarterly plan charged at $60 every three months. It includes 500 hours of recording space, two simultaneous devices, and a total of 33 channels.

Details

Of course, the key factor to consider with any alternative to cable is its library of channels. While FuboTV promotes its sports offerings, it currently doesn’t support any of the ESPN channels. That said, a variety of other sports channels are available including NBA TV, Fox, and NBC.

Unfortunately, most of FuboTV’s streams are limited to just a 720p resolution. Many other services support 1080p or even 4K. Keep in mind that the difference between a 720p and 1080p stream may not be significant if you’re watching on a smaller screen. Combined with the lack of support for ESPN, this makes FuboTV a mediocre option for some sports fans.

In addition to national sports broadcasting, FuboTV works with compatible local sports networks. This is perfect for people who want to watch their local teams. Furthermore, you can watch a variety of international sporting events with a FuboTV subscription.

Aside from games broadcast on ESPN, you should be able to find almost any sporting event on FuboTV. If you want ESPN, you can always sign up for ESPN+ for either $5 per month or $50 per year. Local games in other areas are still blacked out unless you have a league-specific subscription like NBA League Pass.

FuboTV has an extremely intuitive interface and is easily accessible on a variety of platforms. Content is conveniently categorized, and you can record shows as far as ten days in advance. While many broadcasts are limited to 720p, a few events are available in full 4K resolution.

FuboTV offers one of the largest collections of channels, but you may not be interested in its full range of options. At $55 per month for a basic subscription, you’ll pay about the same for FuboTV as YouTube TV or Hulu Live TV. While it’s particularly good for sports fans, it offers a wide enough range of options to work for virtually every user.

Prime Video

  • Prime Video: Best for Prime Members
    • Basics: Prime Video is a decent value on its own, but it's an incredible deal combined with the rest of an Amazon Prime membership. You can get a Prime membership for $120 per year compared to $108 for Prime Video alone, so it's best as part of a Prime subscription.
    • Pros: $120 per year is a relatively low price for streaming alone, but it's enough for an entire Prime membership. Amazon has also invested heavily in exclusive content and is now among the industry leaders.
    • Cons: Prime Video isn't particularly valuable if you subscribe separately, so you're essentially deciding on a Prime subscription. While this is hardly unique to Amazon, you're also contributing to an organization that routinely mistreats and dehumanizes its employees.
    • Live TV

      No

    • Add-Ons

      No

    • Price Points

      • $9 per month (Prime Video only)
      • $120 per year (Prime)


You may not associate Amazon with video streaming, but Prime Video is another great cable alternative. Its pricing model and features are more in line with Netflix and Hulu than services that offer live TV. It can also be bundled with a Prime membership for additional savings.

Pricing

You can get a standalone Prime Video subscription for just $9 per month, slightly cheaper than the cost of Netflix or Hulu. That said, this adds up to $108 per year, which is barely less than the price of Amazon Prime.

A Prime membership costs $13 per month billed monthly, but subscriptions are also available at $120 per year. For just $12 more, you’ll have access to all the features that come with Amazon Prime. These include perks like free shipping and access to exclusive deals in addition to the Prime Video library.

If you already have a Prime membership, you can use Prime Video at no additional cost. In this case, you’re essentially getting the service for free. Prime pays for itself if you shop with Amazon regularly, as Prime members get free 2-day shipping on most items.

Students also have access to Amazon Prime at just $60 per year, half the cost of a normal membership. While there are some differences between Prime and Prime Student, they both come with full access to Prime Video.

You can also add optional extras to your Prime Video subscription. HBO, for example, is available for another $15 per month, while Starz and Showtime are $9. A basic Prime Video plan without any add-ons is cheaper than Netflix and between the prices of Hulu’s ad-free and ad-supported plans. Even the price of an entire Prime membership is less than Netflix and Hulu without ads.

Prime Video is different from the other items on this list in that it comes with the rest of Amazon Prime. Given the additional benefits, it’s easily the most affordable streaming service out there. Whether or not it’s worth that cost depends on what you’re looking for. It’s a much less intriguing deal if you only plan to use your Prime membership for streaming.

Details

Like Netflix and Hulu, Prime Video provides a large selection of movies and TV shows. Furthermore, Amazon also creates its own content that’s only available to Prime and Prime Video members. These exclusive productions are one of the main reasons to consider Prime Video over the competition.

Furthermore, Prime Video occasionally offers live programming, which isn’t available with cable alternatives near the same price. For example, Thursday night football games are generally streamed on Amazon as well as other networks. That said, live TV is only a small part of what Prime Video offers. It probably isn’t the best choice if you’re interested in sports or live TV.

If you want to watch something that doesn’t come with Prime Video, you can often rent or buy it at a low price. With most other streaming services, you’re completely limited to their collection of free content. Prime Video usually gives you thirty days to start watching rentals. Once you open the episode or movie, you’ll have just 48 hours before it expires.

Like most of its competitors, Prime Video is easily accessible on essentially any device. You can also use an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick to use Prime Video or any other streaming service.  Prime subscriptions come with Prime Music in addition to Prime Video. You may be able to cancel an existing streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music after signing up for Amazon Prime.

Additionally, Prime Video comes with convenient quality of life features such as offline viewing and 4K support. Given its low price tag and bundle with Amazon Prime, it’s one of the best deals among cable alternatives. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial to determine whether the service is right for you.

Roku

Roku players and Roku televisions are easy to install devices that give you access to the Roku library.

You either plug the Roku player into your TV or plug in your new Roku TV and you are ready to get started.

Roku’s Competitive Edge

Roku delivers all of your streaming media in one place.

If you are a subscriber of Netflix, Amazon Prime or just about any other streaming service, you can access is through the Roku hub.

One of the biggest selling features of Roku is that once you buy the player, there is no monthly fee.

Click here to check out Roku!

Roku Express

Roku’s Package Options

One of the cool things about Roku is that you don’t have to choose a package or pay a monthly fee.

Roku’s Channels

Your Roku TV gives you free access to network channels like ABC and CBS right through your home’s antenna.

You have access to over 140 sports channels including NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, WatchESPN, and FOX Sports GO plus health, fitness and yoga channels.

Some are free, and others require a subscription.

You can stream both free and paid programming through services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Google Play, HBO, SHOWTIME, PBS, and YouTube.

You can even access your music subscription to Pandora and Sirius XM through your Roku hub.

Click here to check out Roku!

Roku Streaming Stick

Sling TV

Sling TV has risen to the top as one of the best live TV streaming services currently available.

This is largely due to the fact that you pay for what you watch, and nothing else.

You choose the channels you need, and you pay a low monthly fee.

You can even add extras like top kid’s networks.

Sling TV’s Competitive Edge

Sling lets you choose from a channel list to create a personalized lineup that works for you and your family.

You can add options like sports, kid’s programming, comedy and tons more.

Starting at $20 a month you can get all the movies and shows you love without the hassle of a contract or endless list of channels you never watch.

Click here to get Sling TV for FREE for 7 days!

Sling TV Package Options

The Sling Orange Plan

  • $20/mo
  • Includes 30+ channels
  • 7-day free trial
  • Stream from any device
  • Free Roku Device when you prepay for two months
  • Access to your favorite shows, sports, movies and more

The Sling Blue Plan

  • $25/mo
  • Includes 45+ channels
  • 7-day free trial
  • Stream from any device
  • Free Roku Device when you prepay for two months
  • Access to your favorite shows, sports, movies and more

The Sling Orange and Blue Plan

  • $40/mo
  • Includes 50+ channels
  • 7-day free trial
  • Stream from any device
  • Free Roku Device when you prepay for two months
  • Access to your favorite shows, sports, movies and more

The Sling TV Extras

  • Add extra channels and features for just $5 each per month
  • Add extra’s like Kid’s, Comedy, International, Sports and Espanol
  • For just $5 a month, add Cloud DVR for cloud storage of your favorite shows

Sling TV Channels

You can access the full Sling channel list on their website.

Click here to get Sling TV for FREE for 7 days!

Hulu

Hulu is another major cable alternative, with access to television shows, top movies, and even Hulu exclusive series.

You can access your favorite Hulu shows and movies with devices like Mac or PC’s, Apple or Android devices, Roku devices, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Xbox and several other supported devices.

Like Netflix, Hulu also offers Hulu original series that you can’t catch anywhere else.

Hulu’s Competitive Edge

When you sign up for Hulu, there are no hidden fees, no need to rent or buy special equipment and there is no complicated setup.

Just register, choose your package and start watching.

You can catch your favorite shows on the major networks or you can choose to add on premium channels like HBO, Cinemax or Showtime.

A feature that is making some serious commotion is their new feature of watching live TV from any Hulu accessible device.

This means sports, news, children’s programming and much more are now as close as your phone or tablet.

Click here to check out Hulu today!

Hulu Package Options

Hulu Without Live TV

  • $7.99/mo
  • First month free
  • Limited Commercials
  • Stream full seasons of exclusive series, current episodes, classic favorites, Hulu Originals, hit movies, kids shows, and more.
  • Cannot access live TV

No Commercial Hulu Without Live TV

  • $11.99/mo
  • First month free
  • No commercial interruptions
  • Stream full seasons of exclusive series, current episodes, classic favorites, Hulu Originals, hit movies, kids shows, and more.
  • Cannot access live TV

Hulu With Live TV

  • $39.99/mo
  • First week free
  • Watch Live TV online and on iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV & Fire Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One & Xbox 360, and select Samsung models
  • Stream 50 top Live and On Demand TV channels including sports, news, and entertainment
  • Get unlimited access to the Hulu streaming library (Limited Commercials plan) with full seasons of exclusive series, hit movies, Hulu Originals, kids shows, and more
  • Watch on 2 screens at the same time
  • Record Live TV with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage
  • Feature Add-ons:
    • Enhanced Cloud DVR
    • Unlimited Screens
  • Premium Add-ons:
    • HBO
    • CINEMAX
    • SHOWTIME®

Channels

You can access the full Hulu channel list on their website.

Click here to check out Hulu today!

PlayStation™ Vue

One of the newest ways watch TV without cable or satellite is PlayStation™ Vue.

This live streaming TV service comes complete with access to sports, news, and your favorite must-watch shows.

Depending upon the package you choose you can enjoy premium channels, a powerful cloud DVR (which you can access at home and on the go), streaming on up to five devices at once, and best of all…no annual contracts!

PlayStation™ Vue Competitive Edge

Whether you are a gamer or not, you may want to consider the PlayStation™ Vue as a cable alternative.

You do not need to have a PlayStation console in order to take advantage of this streaming service.

You can stream from a number of devices and take your favorite TV shows and movies on the go.

Tech sites like Wired and CNET are hailing PlayStation™ Vue as a leading cable TV alternative.

Click here to check out PlayStation™ Vue today!

PlayStation™ Vue Package Options

Access

  • $39.99/mo
  • 5-day free trial
  • Popular live TV
  • Access the essential networks, including local broadcast channels and favorite cable networks like AMC, ESPN, HGTV and more.
  • Feature add on channels include: Sports Pack for $10/mo., epix hits for $2.99/mo. and Espanol for $3.99/mo.

Core

  • $44.99/mo
  • 5-day free trial
  • Popular live TV plus sports
  • Access the essential networks, including local broadcast channels and favorite cable networks like AMC, ESPN, HGTV and more.
  • Feature add on channels include: Sports Pack for $10/mo., epix hits for $2.99/mo. and Espanol for $3.99/mo.
  • Includes NFL Network, NBA TV, MLB Network and more regional sports networks.

Elite

  • $54.99/mo
  • 5-day free trial
  • Popular live TV plus movies and sports
  • Access to all channel available through PlayStation™ Vue streaming services, including essential networks, local broadcast channels, cable networks, sports, children’s programming and popular movie channels.
  • Feature add on channels include: Sports Pack for $10/mo., epix hits for $2.99/mo. and Espanol for $3.99/mo.

Ultra

  • $74.99/mo
  • Movies, sports and premium channels
  • Access to all channel available through PlayStation™ Vue streaming services, including essential networks, local broadcast channels, cable networks, sports, children’s programming and popular movie channels
  • Feature add on channels include: Sports Pack for $10/mo., epix hits for $2.99/mo. and Espanol for $3.99/mo.
  • Includes premium networks HBO® and SHOWTIME® included.
  • 90+ networks

PlayStation™ Vue Channels

You can access the full PlayStation™ Vue channel list on their website.

Click here to check out PlayStation™ Vue today!

Vudu

Owned by retail giant Walmart, Vudu is a free streaming service that offers a limited number of movies and TV shows, but the ability to buy movies and shows for a low cost.

While they do not yet offer the ability to watch live television, you can rent your favorite network TV shows.

Vudu’s Competitive Edge

If you are looking for sports, news and live TV then Vudu is probably not the live streaming service for you.

However, if you are a movie buff or can’t get enough of syndicated TV shows, then you might want to read on.

Vudu has a fairly large library of free movies and TV shows.

They also have sales and bundles that allow you to get a series of your favorite hit shows for a low cost.

This makes Vudu a competitive cable alternative for anyone who is looking for a free service that sidesteps a monthly contract.


Vudu Package Options

While there are no traditional package options, the cost to buy a show is often as low as $1.99. Movies can be purchased for as low as $3.99.

Vudu Channels

For a full list of TV shows available on Vudu, check out their website.

Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video has been known to throw newcomers for a loop.

Is it available to Amazon Prime Members? Can other people use it? The answer to both questions is yes.

There are two divisions of Amazon Instant Video:

  1. Amazon Prime Instant Video: This service is available for free to those Amazon users who pay an annual fee to become an Amazon Prime Member. This all-you-can-stream for free service houses a library of thousands of movies and TV shows ranging all the way from documentaries to children’s programming.
  2. Amazon Instant Video: This service is a pay-as-you go streaming service and is not a part of the Amazon Prime subscription. Because you pay per show or movie, the library of offerings is much more updated.

Amazon’s Competitive Edge

While Amazon Prime Video is not technically free (it is part of the paid Amazon Prime Service), it is a nice addition for those who pay for the luxury of free two-day shipping.

You can stream shows and movies from a wide range of devices.

Because these is no monthly contract or fee for Amazon Instant Video you only pay for what you need, and nothing extra.

Amazon Package Options

The only decision to make here is whether you want to rent or buy from the more updates Amazon Instant Video library or take advantage of the free shows and movies through Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Amazon Channels

Check out the full list of Amazon Shows and Movies on their website.

YouTube TV

A new face to the world of streaming television is YouTube TV.

You can now access live TV from more than 50 networks, including local sports and news with no extra equipment.

YouTube TV’s Competitive Edge

You probably already use You Tube on a fairly regular basis, now you can use it to stream TV.

With your subscription you get 6 individual accounts, so each family member can customize their login.

You also get cloud DVR storage with no storage limits.

YouTube TV Package Options

There is currently one package available for YouTube TV.

  • $40/mo
  • Free one week trial
  • 6 accounts per household
  • Unlimited cloud DVR storage
  • Access to more than 50 networks, including local sports and news

YouTube TV Channels

For a full list of TV shows available on YouTube TV, check out their website.

Netflix

We obviously could not end the list of top free streaming services without a nod to the OG of subscription television – Netflix.

Netflix pioneered the TV and movie subscription industry in 1997 offering a mail away rental service for movie rentals.

You paid your small monthly fee and Netflix would mail you a copy of your preferred movie.

Over twenty years later and Netflix is still leading the way.

Netflix’s Competitive Edge

Unlimited movies and shows, watch on just about any device, cancel with no fee and try it free for a month.

Netflix Package Options

The Basic Netflix Plan

  • $7.99/mo
  • 1 streaming device at a time
  • Access to the entire Netflix library
  • Does not support HD or Ultra HD streaming
  • Cancel for free at any time
  • One-month free trial period

The Standard Netflix Plan

  • $10.99/mo
  • 2 streaming devices at a time
  • Access to the entire Netflix library
  • Access to HD streaming (Does not support Ultra HD streaming)
  • Cancel for free at any time
  • One-month free trial period

The Premium Netflix Plan

  • $14.99/mo
  • 4 streaming devices at a time
  • Access to the entire Netflix library
  • Access to HD and Ultra HD streaming
  • Cancel for free at any time
  • One-month free trial period

Satellite TV Options

Another popular cable TV alternative for those who want to ditch cable is to install a satellite. Satellite TV became popular in the 1960’s and 70’s, giving people access to TV who were limited based on where they lived.

Since then satellite has grown in popularity as an alternative to cable.

According to a study conducted by Statista the number of people living in households that have a satellite TV subscription (in the US) from spring 2008 to spring 2017 was approximately 61.5 million.

Direct TV

The biggest supplier of satellite TV is Direct TV, with access to hundreds of channels, sports packages and free DVR and low monthly costs.

You can choose a package starting at just $40/mo.

For an added monthly cost you can add premium channels like HBO and Showtime, NFL Sunday ticket or various international packages.

DISH

DISH is another fan favorite when it comes to top satellite TV connection providers in America.

DISH is known for its affordable packages designed for people who love movies, sports and TV shows.

Packages start at $59.99 and include the

HD Antennas

More recently introduced and somewhat similar to satellite TV options are HDTV antennas.

Think back to those old bunny ears on top of your TV set.

Now, fast forward thirty years and we meet the distant cousin of the set top box bunny ears.

HD antennas can pick up programming from popular networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, as well as a number of others depending upon your region.

HD antennas are a one-time cost option and start as low as just $30.s

They come in many shapes and sizes depending on the manufacturer you choose.

You can buy an indoor or outdoor antenna, with indoor being lower in cost and easier to install.

If you live in a more remote area, an outdoor HDTV antenna might be necessary to pick up the channels you prefer.

Just be sure to choose an antenna that has been outlined as a top performer to be sure you get access to the channels you want.

Sports Options

One group of people who have long held-out in cutting their cable are die-hard sports fans.

With blackouts, special cable networks just for sports and a number of other reasons, sports fans fear losing cable will cost them access to the big games.

There are now several streaming services with the sports fan in mind.

FUBO TV

FuboTV is an internet television service that focuses primarily on channels that distribute live sports, including NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS and international soccer.

In addition to getting your daily sports fix, you can also access news, network television series and movies.

You can try FuboTV for a free week and the first month pay just $19.99. If you want to continue subscribing the cost is then $44.99/mo.

Sling

Another popular option for sports lovers is a service we have already reviewed. Sling TV’s Blue plan is just $25/mo and gives viewers access to network TV and plenty of streaming sports.

This is a low-cost option that makes sure you don’t miss out on your favorite sports broadcasting.

YouTube TV

If you are looking for access to local sports, than You Tube TV is a great option.

As part of your $40/mo. package you can watch all of the local sports you like, while also accessing over 50 additional networks.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV is a free internet service that give viewers a way to catch some of their favorite shows, movies and sports.

For sports fans you can watch several broadcasts, including Pluto TV’s own sports channel. You can check out their channel lineup on their website.

Fox Sports Go

Many sport lovers already know that Fox Sports is a treasure trove of free streaming shows and broadcasts.

You can even customize with your team favorites AND your team rivals for a customized viewing experience.

Internet-Based Programming

You can now access a limited number of shows for free right from the networks website.

Big networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox allow you to watch shows on their website for free. You benefit from free streaming shows and they network can boost viewership on their network shows.

While what you can access is somewhat limited by the networks, you can still watch some of your favorite shows for free.

Conclusion

In reality when you start making decisions about the right cable alternatives for your needs, chances are you will mix and match a few options.

It’s rare for one streaming service to be a perfect fit, but perhaps combing two or three gives you the right mix.

What’s important is that there are cost-effective options available that can save you money and give you the ability to take your shows, movies, sports and news on the go.

Now that we have looked at the top contenders for cable alternatives, you can ask yourself:

  • How much do I want to pay?
  • What are my must watch shows, movies, sports and news?
  • Do I need to take my shows on the go?

When you answer these simple questions, you will start to see which cable TV alternatives are the ones for you.

Bottom Line: Experts have found that the average American spends over $100 each month on cable TV. With so many low-cost and free options, now is the perfect time to look for cable alternatives that can save you money and make your TV watching experience easier than ever.

When you're on a tight budget and considering cutting your cable but you don't want to miss out on your favorite shows, worry no more because these options are available. #cablealternatives #cutyourcable
If you're looking for low-cost alternatives to your cable, we have a comprehensive list made ready for you. You'll be amazed to find awesome deals that do not strain your budget like your cable does. #lowcostalternativestocable #cable
Alex McOmie

Alex McOmie is a writer focused on providing insightful, actionable content that can truly change the way readers approach their finances. He joined the Money Done Right editorial team in summer 2019. Learn more about Alex.

Back to top  

1 Comments

Thanks so much for this information! You are so right! Right now is a great time to find alternatives to cable or satellite! Many great offers out there! Thanks for sharing!

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published.