This is our official list of the best alternatives to cable on the market today. Scroll further down for full details on each product.
5 Highest Reviewed Cable Alternatives
The word cord cutter has almost become synonymous with the younger generation. These cord cutters are people who are cutting off their bundle plans and looking for cheaper, lighter alternatives to cable and the bloated packages they offer.
Such a thing used to be unheard of. Cable bundle packages were the only real option for TV. Then satellite came along and offered more or less the same thing in a different way. Sure, you could go antenna, but then you lose all of the cable networks, which have amazing programming as of late, and only pick up the local network stations.
The internet has changed all of that. Now, there are tons of free and low-cost alternatives to cable packages, and a lot of people are beginning to take notice. More people are cutting the cord and moving to digital options, which have also begun offering original content in their own right. The internet has also made it possible to subscribe to just the content you want to view as well without being forced into bundles of hundreds of channels you’ll never watch.
Below are the five best alternatives to cable available on the internet today.
1.) Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a great service that comes with your Amazon Prime subscription. Tons of TV shows and movies are offered for free on a rotating schedule. Chances are, you’ve already got this too, so why not use it?
Prime Video has also been joining the fray with their own lineup of original programming as well. They haven’t taken off as well as some competitors just yet, but their offerings are rather entertaining.
If you’re not a Prime member, remember you also get free 2-day shipping on Amazon as well as deep discounts on some products, like a staggering 20% discount on baby care items. The $99 per year cost basically pays for itself in no time if you just take advantage of it.
Prime Video has apps on just about every platform. They don’t support Chromecast, however, since they have their own competitor, the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Roku is supported, though.
While some content is not offered as part of a Prime subscription, the content that is is marked well, and it’d be pretty hard to buy something by mistake. Still, though, it would be nice if everything were offered. But for the cost in tandem with all the other benefits, it’s not a big deal.
- Tons of TV shows and movies
- Easy binge watching
- Original programming
- Some content is not included with Prime
2.) Sling TV
Sling TV is the first app on this list that offers you a real TV viewing experience. Get access to live TV, including the commercials, just like you would watch normally with a cable subscription for a low $20 per month.
On-demand viewing is also possible, although the interface for it is a bit hard to navigate and leaves something to be desired. Still, it’s there, and the videos load well.
The only potential downside is the notable lack of big networks like NBC or Fox. For those networks, you’d have to look elsewhere or use an antenna. Just about every cable network is offered, however. There’s even an add-on package for HBO and Showtime.
Sling has apps available for just about every platform you could think of, including the Roku streaming box.
- Real TV experience
- Really affordable alternative to cable
- Add-on packages for premium channels
- No national networks
3.) HBO Now/Showtime/Starz
One of the things many people might miss the most if they cut the cord is their premium content channels. Channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz offer big-name Hollywood movies and original, award-winning programming for a low monthly cost.
These days though, a cable subscription is not required to get access to these services. With HBO Now and the Showtime and Starz apps and websites, you can buy just these services separately direct from the company itself. These apps offer both live and on-demand viewing. Some internet-based TV services like Sling TV, mentioned further down on our list here, offer these services as part of a bundle for one low cost.
- Can be bought separately without a cable subscription
- Offer live and on-demand viewing
- Apps like Sling TV offer these channels as bundle packages
- A bit pricey if bought separately
4.) Online Network Channels
Chances are your favorite network has a website that offers tons of free clips and full episodes. NBC, CBS, Fox, Discovery Channel, and many more offer some of their shows online.
Both cable networks and national networks offer these services. There’s even a wealth of Spanish-language content available as well. If you have a subscription to a TV provider, even some internet V providers, you can even watch full live TV with some of these services.
Check out your favorite network’s website today and find out what they have to offer.
- Free access to some of your favorite shows
- Live TV access for subscribers to other online services
- Options to pay for more content
- Often have mobile apps as well
- Not all shows are available for free, no local content for free
It’s no secret that YouTube and Vimeo have been offering tons of totally free, ad-supported content for years now. YouTube itself has its own personalities and content creators that you can’t see anywhere else.
Vimeo is another great video sharing platform with tons of original content and is a great hub for watching music videos. They even offer access to some TV series. WHile not everything is completely free, it can be a great platform to use in combination with other sources of entertainment, much like YouTube.
Both YouTube and Vimeo now offer premium subscription services to turn off ads and access additional content.
- Tons of free content
- Original content
- Great apps for almost every platform
- Vimeo has some paywalls, ad-supported
With all the great digital options available today at a low cost, it’s a wonder the cable companies aren’t more afraid of their standing.
With the younger generation cord cutting at higher rates every day, more of these services will surely pop up in the future as well. One thing’s for sure, these days you don’t need the massive bundle you’ll never watch.