10+ Most Popular Cable TV Alternatives in the U.S
Consider cutting the cord. You are not alone. According to a Pew Research Center survey, the percentage of Americans who watch TV through a cable or satellite service provider has declined from 76% in 2015 to 56% in 2021. Their reasons vary: the monthly charges are prohibitively expensive, they can obtain anything they want online, and nearly half of those polled stated that they just no longer watch much TV.
Several streaming services have emerged to fill the hole as alternatives to cable television. Each provides a slightly different viewing experience, from the channels and programs available to how you watch and how much it costs. Some providers also allow you to see local channels without having to use cable. Here’s a breakdown of the finest streaming cable alternative providers.
You can narrow down the top cable TV alternatives in a variety of ways. Of course, the most straightforward method is price. If you want to pay less than $40 each month, you have a simple purchasing selection. Sling TV — either its Orange or Blue subscriptions — is the only alternative, and it costs a comparatively cheap $40 per month. It may not have as many channels, but everything else begins at $50, which can be inconvenient if you also want streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus, which cost $8 to $20 each month.
However, if you require all of your local broadcast channels – ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC — your options shift away from Sling TV and toward all of its competitors. YouTube TV was once the most economical way to receive all four locales, but it now costs approximately the same as Hulu + Live TV. However, Hulu has buzzworthy originals like Normal People, Shrill, Ramy, and Little Fires Everywhere.
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To find the best streaming services for you to cut the cord with, we tested them on a variety of devices, including streaming boxes, smart TVs, and mobile apps. This is an excellent technique to determine which services are running smoothly and which should be disregarded. We are testing systems that provide actual live TV, not simply linear “live” TV on apps like Pluto TV.
As we use these streaming services, we evaluate how their interfaces look. The finest streaming services have simple interfaces that make it easy to find new things to watch. Next, we examine channel lineups, which might differ greatly from one provider to another. Some streaming providers offer multiple bundles, which we consider before determining our rating.
Finally, we examine price and value. The finest streaming options can supplement cable or let you cut the cord entirely. So we weigh the things that you’re getting for the money versus the competitors.
Overall, YouTube TV is the greatest option for cutting the cord and transitioning from a cable TV subscription to a streaming provider. YouTube TV ranked first on Allconnect’s TV streaming rankings due to its large channel selection and unlimited DVR storage. YouTube TV is one of the more expensive TV streaming solutions; however, if you want something similar to cable TV but without the contracts and installation headache, YouTube TV is well worth the cost.
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Hulu Plus Live TV offers the best combination of live streaming and on-demand content. Its channel lineup may not be as diverse as YouTube TV or Fubo, but it’s getting there, especially with the inclusion of PBS and Magnolia. However, it is Hulu’s extensive archive of on-demand material that distinguishes it. The $77 plan includes not just Hulu Basic, but also Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and an unlimited DVR. Hulu’s original programs, such as The Bear, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Only Murders in the Building, combined with its extensive history of broadcast television, give them a content advantage that no other service can match. Given that Hulu Plus Live TV provides more live channels than other services, it is the best option for live TV viewing.
PRICE: $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year
Disney Plus provides access to most Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic titles, as well as some 20th Century Fox titles. This includes all of the Disney vault classics, as well as Disney Channel original movies and series.
Sports enthusiasts may save $14 per month by bundling Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+. Keep in mind that ESPN+ is its own app and does not offer access to ESPN2’s live content.
Disney Plus enables download any show or movie in its library to enjoy on the go. You get unlimited downloads on up to ten devices, which you can keep for the duration of your subscription. You can even watch on four screens simultaneously.
All of Disney Plus’s programming is ad-free, and over 300 titles are accessible in 4k UHD and HDR. Some platforms charge for these upgraded features, but both are free.
Amazon Prime members already have access to Amazon Prime Video, their alternative to cable. Amazon Video was once a standalone service, but it is now exclusively included in their complete membership option, which costs $12.99 per month.
Like other streaming service behemoths, you have access to a massive library of content and original programs. As an added bonus, if something you want isn’t on Prime but is available on Amazon, you may be able to rent it, including single TV show episodes or even entire channel packages.
Amazon also offers a fantastic product called the Amazon Fire TV Stick. You can use the Amazon Fire TV Stick as your main streaming console and log into multiple apps from the device menu.
YouTube TV boasts more top channels than any competitor at this pricing, and it is one of only two services that currently includes local PBS stations, with Hulu being the most recent addition. The basic $73 YouTube TV package has a superb cloud DVR with unlimited storage and a substantial nine months to watch recordings (most competitors give 30 days). The interface is no-nonsense, even if a little drab, and yet it offers most of the features a cable service can give you. YouTube TV is also the only platform that provides surround sound during live broadcasts.
If you want the cheapest live TV streaming service that yet offers a respectable number of channels, Sling TV Blue is the clear choice. Yet, things are a touch more complicated than they are for Sling’s competitors. Sling offers two separate live TV streaming channel packages priced around $40 per month: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. While a number of live TV channels are common to both, Orange is essentially the ESPN/Disney package, while Blue is the Fox/Discovery package. Meanwhile, Orange & Blue combines both offerings for $55.
DirecTV Stream is a collection of streaming multichannel TV services provided by DirectTV. It is a no-term commitment service, making it one of the best cable alternatives.
DirectTV Stream is an ideal service for sports fans and families due to its popular sports bundles, local networks, and premium channels. DirecTV Stream is equivalent to basic cable TV but less expensive, and there is no obligation; you can discontinue utilizing the free alternatives at any time.
Netflix is one of the fastest-growing streaming services currently accessible. Netflix is a terrific option for cable TV if you prefer to watch movies, popular TV shows, and documentaries. To use the Netflix service, you must have an internet connection and an internet-capable device, such as a smart TV, computer, or smartphone.
However, if you download the video while online, Netflix will allow you to watch your movies or TV shows at any time without an internet connection. Once downloaded, the video can be viewed offline at any time.
This function is ideal for longer journeys! Remember that the downloaded video may only be viewed within the Netflix app or website and cannot move to another device.
Netflix offers affordable pricing for its service. The plans differ in how many devices can use a single Netflix account. The more expensive the plan is, the more devices can use Netflix simultaneously.
PRICE: $10/mo or $100/yr for No Ads
Paramount+ is a TV streaming service that succeeded CBS All Access in March, 2021. The ad-supported Essential Plan allows you to stream 100+ channels, including CBS, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Network, as well as the Paramount Pictures movie studio, for only $50 per year.
Paramount+ provides a slightly higher premium subscription for $10 that removes all ads. Because Paramount is still a relatively new live streaming service, their options and pricing may change in the near future. At less than $10 per month, this is a great option compared to basic cable.
Paramount+ also provides discounted pricing (28% off) for the Showtime Bundle packages. Essential Plan + Showtime for $12/month or $120/year; Premium Plan + Showtime for $15/month or $150/year.
Peacock is NBC’s streaming platform, which launched in 2020. It comes with three tiers: Free, Premium, and Plus.
The free edition includes 50 channels and a plethora of current and past series and movies from studios such as Universal and Dreamworks. You can watch new episodes of NBC shows a week after they air.
The premium plan, which costs $4.99 per month, provides access to additional on-demand content. For example, the free version lets you watch the first 5 seasons of The Office, while Peacock Plus unlocks the whole series and bonus content. It also provides access to all live sports events on the site, as well as next-day watching of current NBC and Bravo programming.
The Plus option is $9.99 a month and allows you to watch content without ads and download some titles for offline viewing.
Starz is available as a separate streaming app for $8.99 per month (following a free 7-day trial).
You may view popular shows and movies presently showing on the Starz television lineup and their on-demand library.
Starz also offers exclusive original movies and programming. It is possible to download original content to watch later without needing to connect to the internet.
With HD video, you may stream to up to four devices at the same time.
Philo is a popular streaming service that provides an excellent alternative to traditional cable television. One of the main attractions of Philo is its pricing – with rates starting as low as $25 per month, it’s much cheaper than most cable bundles.
Philo also provides access to a large library of on-demand video, as well as prominent cable networks such as AMC, Comedy Central, and Discovery.
Unlike cable, Philo has no hidden fees or long-term contracts, allowing you to cancel with no penalty. It’s also ideal for families or roommates because it allows you to stream on many devices at the same time.
Finally, there are several cable TV options on a budget that can help you save money while still providing enjoyment. There’s something for everyone, including TV antennas and streaming services such as Philo, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.
You can significantly reduce your monthly expenses by cutting the cord and opting for a cheaper alternative while still enjoying quality TV programming. So, if you want to save money while still watching your favorite shows and movies, consider the cable TV alternatives listed in this article.
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