Your Guide To The Best And Worst Cable Alternatives Available.

Written By Alla Levin
September 11, 2018
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Your Guide To The Best And Worst Cable Alternatives Available.

Ready to part ways with your cable company? Here’s your guide to the best and worst cable alternatives available today. Say goodbye to cable for good.

The Internet has a habit of making quick work of things that used to be necessities. Things like maps, photo albums, and planners are available instantly and constantly in their digital forms. And now streaming services have set their sights on the old fashioned cable company.

Last year, between 3.1 and 3.5 million people stopped paying for cable TV. Given cable companies’ inability to develop a rapport with their customer base, this is not surprising.

If you’re ready to jump ship, here are the cable alternatives to be aware of.

Hulu and Hulu with Live TVHulu and Hulu with Live TV

Hulu was one of the first online-based media delivery services. It started as a free way to watch current shows after they aired on TV and has since evolved into a subscription-based service with more than 20 million subscribers.

Hulu allows you to take your pick among movies, sports, 75,000 current and classic TV shows, award-winning Hulu Originals, trailers, and now live TV.

Hulu with live TV boasts streams from more than 50 broadcast and cable channels, including 21st Century Fox, Disney, and Time Warner. It is accessible via multiple platforms from XBox One and Apple TV to iOS and Android.

Hulu recently paired up with Spotify to offer a combined music and television bundle.

Price per Month:

  • $7.99 for Hulu On Demand with ads
  • $11.99 for Hulu On Demand without ads
  • $39.99 for Hulu Live TV and On Demand with ads
  • $43.99 for Hulu Live TV and On Demand without ads

NetflixNetflix

Netflix is a commercial-free streaming service with a great “back in my day” story. Back in Netflix’s day, they had to send DVDs in the mail both ways with no shoes on in the snow.

And, while 3 million people are apparently still waiting to get Game of Thrones delivered to their mailboxes, around 100 million subscribers worldwide rely on Netflix to while their days away.

Netflix, like Hulu, is also producing high-quality original programming, and they have exclusive licensing deals with several studios. They have plans to offer streaming gaming.

Price per Month:

  • $7.99 for Basic: 1 screen viewing, no HD or ultra HD
  • $10.99 for Standard: 2 screen viewing, HD available
  • $13.99 for Premium: 4 screen viewing, HD and ultra HD available

Amazon Instant VideoAmazon Instant Video

Amazon, Internet behemoth without which we can no longer survive, offers popular television and movie streaming, with the added benefit of being able to buy or rent movies and seasons of television shows that aren’t available for free. They also have original content, including a variety of children’s programs.

Besides their own streaming service, Amazon developed the Fire TV Stick which can access all the major streaming services, including your iptv subscription, and over 15,000 apps and games. It plugs into the HDMI port to turn any TV into a smart TV.

Price per Month:

  • Free with Amazon Prime
  • $8.99 a la carte

PlayStation VuePlayStation Vue

Despite its name, PlayStation Vue doesn’t have much to do with video games. It is available on the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4, but it’s also accessible via web browser, Apple TV, and various mobile devices.

PlayStation Vue is a live TV and DVR platform, with on-demand available for most shows after they air. Unlike regular TV or cable, you can fast forward commercials. It’s pretty great.

The user experience is positive and intuitive, and the DVR is robust. It doesn’t take long to feel like a necessity.

There are four plans that range from $45 to $80. The main variances between the plans are the channels offered, each subsequent tier building off the previous tier.

Price per Month:

  • $44.99 for Access: 50 channels, ESPN, TLC, Food Network, some local channels
  • $49.99 for Core: 60 channels, Bravo, HGTV, Disney
  • $59.99 for Elite: 90 channels, E!, the Cooking Channel, National Geographic
  • $79.99 for Ultra: all previous channels, HBO and Showtime

Sling TVSling TV

Sling TV is Dish Network’s alternative to cable. You can watch on your TV using a streaming stick, like Fire TV, or a game console. It’s also available on your computer or mobile device.

The defining feature of Sling TV is your ability to customize your subscription. There’s an entire collection of add-ons, starting at $5 a month. You can add the sports extra or comedy extra or kids extra.

You can also add-on a cloud DVR for $5 a month. It holds up to 100 hours, has the ability to record multiple programs at once, and uses a dynamic space saver that deletes the oldest watched program when capacity is reached.

Price per Month:

  • $25 for Sling Orange: 28 channels, ESPN, HGTV, the Food Network
  • $25 for Sling Blue: 44 channels, Fox Sports, Bravo, the Cartoon Network
  • $40 for Sling Orange/Blue: all channels at a $10 discount

DirectTV NowDirectTV Now

Another cable tv alternative offered by a cable company, DirectTV Now bears similarities to Sling TV, but with less flexibility. AT&T Wireless customers can use the service at zero-rating. It’s also available with T-Mobile’s Binge-On service.

The DirectTV interface can be sluggish and gets buggy on game consoles. The menu type is small and the options can be confusing. Video quality goes in and out, and some shows refuse to load at all.

If your only concern is getting a bunch of channels to surf through, DirectTV Now has you covered.

Price per Month:

  • $40 for Live a Little: 65 channels, ESPN, HGTV, Disney Junior
  • $55 for Just Right: 85 channels, GSN, OWN, the Weather Channel
  • $65 for Go Big: 105 channels, SundanceTV, FXM
  • $75 for Gotta Have It: 125 channels, StarzEncore, Univision Deportes
  • $45 for Todo Y Mas: 90 channels, Spanish language

YouTube TVprolific content creators

Giving their prolific content creators a run for the money, YouTube is rolling out YouTube TV, a live TV, and unlimited cloud DVR service. Popular cable channels and local networks will be available, some with only on-demand service instead of live.

The best thing about a YouTube-based cable alternative is how familiar it already is to everyone. There’s no interface hurdle to jump, and Google will offer support through text and chat.

Price per Month:

  • $40 for 6 Google accounts

Free Cable AlternativesFree Cable Alternatives

The library’s not only for luddites anymore. Just kidding, libraries are vital in community building and preserving democracy. And they also have free stuff! You can check out movies, TV shows, and music at your local library.

Don’t discount the humble antenna. HD antennas pick up more local channels than anyone knew existed, over 70 channels in certain areas. You can get your Wheel of Fortune fix and access classic TV and Univision.

What’s the Best Fit for You?

Whether you’re more interested in live TV, original programming or you want a customizable channel base, your preferences will make the choice. Choosing the best cable alternative comes down to choosing what’s right for you.

To find more things that are right for you, check out our blog to get inspired.

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