Why Pay for Cable When You Can Use Free and Cheap Streaming Video?


Why Pay for CableWith cable bills averaging over $50 and internet-TV combo packages costing over $100 you may be asking yourself is it time to ditch the cable.  Before you make that decision you will need to make sure you have the right equipment and that your favorite programs are available. If you are a news junkie or a sports fan the options are limited however, if you want a good selection of TV Shows and movies you’ll want to look at these options.

Video Streaming Services

Amazon Prime Amazon Prime offers subscribers video streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows without any imitations. Prime subscribers also receive one free Kindle book per month from the Kindle owner’s lending library. Amazon Prime subscribers also receive free two day shipping on items purchased online from Amazon.com.  Rumor has it that Amazon is developing a low-cost set-top box to stream video that will compete with similar devices from Roku. You can try Amazon Prime free with a one-month free trial and then pay a yearly subscription fee of $79.

Hulu.comThe free version of Hulu offers one of the best collections of TV Show episodes and movies on the internet. Hulu Plus, a newly launched $7.99 monthly subscription service, allows users to watch a full season of some of your favorite TV shows and stream them to your iPhone 4, iPad, xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Netflix.com: Netflix is the largest online streaming video service with over 23 Million subscribers. Customers pay a flat monthly payment of $7.99 for unlimited access to movies and TV Shows, currently ad-free. The service is available on Nintendo Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony PS3 consoles, Blu-ray disc players, Internet-connected TVs, and many other Internet-supported video players.

Apple TV: Apple TV costs $99 and you rent or buy the movies or TV Shows you want to watch from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vimeo, Flickr, YouTube, NBA, MLB, NHL and WSJ. 

Xbox LiveIf you have a teenager in the house chances are you have an Xbox so your equipment cost will be less. Options available include: free and pay services such as: Netflix, RedBox Instant, Hulu Plus, ESPN, Amazon Instant and others. You can sign-up for Xbox Live for as little as $5 per month.

 

Cheaper Alternatives to Cable TV

Network TV: Most major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS offer many popular TV Show episodes and movies for free. Current episodes are usually available by the next day and only for a limited time. You can watch network TV on your laptop or mobile device for free or stream to your TV with a networked media device. As networks continue to find ways to profit from their content, access to free content will be limited. An example is NBC Sports Live Extra programming will only be available to authenticated cable, satellite and telco customers via TV Everywhere.

Amazon Instant Video: A free service from Amazon lets you buy single episodes, season packs, or movies. Amazon Instant Video is compatible on hundreds of HDTVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and gaming consoles. You can also watch Amazon Instant Video on your Kindle tablet or Apple iPhone, iPad or iTouch anywhere there is WiFi.

iTunes: With iTunes (software is free, price for content varies), you can buy or rent single episodes or full seasons of your favorite television shows. You can download content now and watch later on any device you connect to your Apple account.

Google Play: Similar to iTunes, Google Play has sections for music, eBooks, eMagazines, android apps, movies and TV Shows.

Smart TV: If you have a Smart TV you have all you need to begin watching streaming video and ditch the Cable TV bill.

Readers: Have you thought about dropping the Cable TV? What is preventing you? If you have dropped cable, what has your experience been like?

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25 Responses to Why Pay for Cable When You Can Use Free and Cheap Streaming Video?

  1. Matt Becker 05/07/2013 at 5:37 am #

    We’re currently in the process of cutting our ties with cable (well, technically with DirectTV). I’m going to miss ESPN, but all the rest of it can easily be replaced. More than anything, I’m just tired of dealing with unannounced rate increases and terrible customer service. Very much looking forward to being done with all that.

    • Paul 05/08/2013 at 8:57 pm #

      I know what you mean Matt. We get a letter every 6 months from our cable company. I know i’ll be paying $5-$10 more when the first sentence starts with: “In order to keep providing you with the best…blah..blah..blah”

    • Derek - MoneyAhoy.com 07/16/2013 at 10:08 am #

      Congrats!!! Welcome to the no-cable club!

  2. Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin 05/07/2013 at 10:28 am #

    My wife and I watch Netflix and Amazon Prime all the time. Definitely a better alternative to cable tv.

    • Paul 05/08/2013 at 8:58 pm #

      The only issue for me is that I would miss the live sports coverage. Hopefully they will address that issue soon!

  3. Jose 05/07/2013 at 6:52 pm #

    We have both Netflix and Amazon Prime. We love to watch series on both of them. The one thing that bugs me is that Netflix appears to be several season behind on the series we want to watch and Amazon Prime has them, for $1.99 an episode. So we’re stuck on a few of the series we want to watch, I’m not going to pay that much!

    • Paul 05/08/2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Have you checked out Hulu or Hulu Plus?

  4. Buck Inspire 05/08/2013 at 12:18 am #

    Cool list! I have an Apple TV, but haven’t signed up for any services. Using YouTube, but will check out Hulu. Thanks!

    • Paul 05/08/2013 at 9:00 pm #

      I’ve heard that Apple TV is pretty cool. Check out Hulu first as it has content not available on Hulu Plus!

  5. Midlife Finance 05/08/2013 at 8:12 am #

    The missus watches TV on the network’s site and she gets many shows from the library. The only show I watch regularly is Jeopardy and that’s available on air. Cable TV is too expensive because it will suck up all your valuable time.

    • Paul 05/08/2013 at 9:03 pm #

      An option I did not cover is to get an HD antennae to receive free network signal. The combination of free network content and free services such as Hulu can be an option.

  6. Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce 05/08/2013 at 9:53 am #

    Using online technique also seems to have cut down my TV usage; I only watch selected shows, instead of spending time flipping idly though channels.

    • Paul 05/08/2013 at 9:05 pm #

      Software such as Play Later allows you to record streaming content so you can watch later.

  7. Pretired Nick 05/10/2013 at 6:21 am #

    We dropped our expensive satellite and just have a very basic cable package that comes with our internet service. It’s only a few dollars more and since we can’t receive local channels where we live (bottom of a hill) it’s the only way we get those stations. Someday we may switch to DSL and drop the TV altogether but for now it’s working well.

    • Paul 05/10/2013 at 4:27 pm #

      I just dropped the satellite as well and switched back to cable. I watch too much sports to drop cable all together, maybe someday!

  8. skippy2057 05/17/2013 at 7:24 am #

    Has anyone that has done this run afoul of monthly bandwidth caps yet? Just curious if using streaming video as you would “regular” TV would make an impact like that.

  9. Felix Lee 06/10/2013 at 5:22 pm #

    I have always thought that it is so impractical to pay for a hundred bucks per month for a cable subscription. There are many options out there where you can save just like what you showed here in the post, but still there are a lot of people wasting their money on cable subscription.

  10. Derek - MoneyAhoy.com 07/16/2013 at 10:07 am #

    We cut cable about 3 years ago and could not be happier. It has saved us thousands and freed up our time immensely. If you are reading this then cut cable now!!!

  11. Bob B. 07/23/2013 at 5:06 pm #

    I’m a big advocate of everyone at least trying to ditch their cable. We just completed a one-month ‘Ditch Cable’ challenge.

    Our readers took a 30 day cable break just to prove that they could do it. Most of them don’t plan to go back now that they see how many other options they have.

    -Bob

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