three girls watching tv

Best Ways to Watch TV Without Cable

November 12, 2014 | Everyday Savings, Ways to Save

By Jen Jackowski

Cable television certainly has us hooked. Between sports stations and popular hits (I mean, “Game of Thrones,” am I right?), cutting the cord seems like an impossibility. But then you get your cable bill every month and shutter at the sum you must dish out for the luxury of entertainment access. You’ve probably asked yourself more than once “Is it really worth it?”

Honestly, I don’t think so—not when there are tons of cheaper ways to find great TV! You can cut your monthly bills significantly by getting TV without cable.

Life Without Cable TV

Despite the possibilities out there, renters haven’t all gotten on board. A recent Rent.com survey revealed that 72% of renters pay for cable or satellite–and 65% reported feeling that they overpay for cable.

How Much Renters Pay for Cable

If you’re looking to save some money, it’s time to get rid of cable! Here are some the most-used cable-less TV options our renters are using:

Most Popular Streaming Services

 

1. Netflix (36% of Renters)

My personal favorite and most used by renters, Netflix can be watched on almost any device you own, from your Xbox One to your smartphone. You can also add up to five users (my boyfriend and roommate both have profiles on my account), making it a cost-effective service, especially if you split the price.

31 percent of renters share their Nextflix account

If you set up an account, you’ll have access to all the movies and shows the service provides for just $7.99 a month—that’s looking better than the $26 to $50 range, huh? You can also opt to get DVD delivery for an additional cost, but with all the content already online, you really don’t need it.

If you want to be in the know on certain Netflix exclusive content (I’m thinking of the wildly popular “Orange is the New Black”), you shouldn’t miss out on this affordable streaming service. I spend so many of my weekends without turning off my TV now.

If for some reason you’re ever disappointed with Netflix, you can cancel at any time as it requires no contract—now there’s entertainment freedom for you!

2. Hulu (17% of Renters)

The nice thing about the service is it gives you options. You can create an account for free to get limited access to shows currently airing on TV. By limited, I mean you have to wait a week or so after an episode aired on regular television before you can watch it on Hulu.

However, if you spring the $8 a month it costs for Hulu Plus, you’ll get to watch those shows immediately and have to endure fewer commercials, not to mention gain access to plenty of movies.

But where Hulu Plus really shines is in offering old school content, and I mean old. The Criterion Collection has tons of classic black-and-white films like Akira Kurasawa’s “Seven Samurai.” On top of that, the collection, available only on Hulu Plus, offers independent films.

3. Amazon Instant (11% of Renters)

This often overlooked streaming service is free to use and has a variety of movies and shows. You can download the app to your smartphone, TV or gaming console to stream content whenever you want.

The shows are a bit more limited here than on Netflix, as some are only free if you have Amazon Prime. Otherwise, the service works a bit like pay-per-view. If you want to watch a show that’s not free on Instant, you’ll pay a few dollars and it will be yours forever. Or you can front a couple bucks to rent it for the day.

A few movies aren’t available on Prime for free either, like new Disney releases. Those you can only purchase and have in your digital queue for later viewing. For this reason, it’s a pretty limited service. However, pair the free Amazon Instant Video with a paid option, like Netflix, and you’ll have a pretty large streaming library.

I mainly use this service to supplement my accounts.

4. Apple TV or Roku (10% of Renters)

Apple TV and Roku are streaming boxes that connect to the Internet and lets you access a variety of apps, including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and others in one spot. You can also use them to stream music, and select shows and movies. Both are a one-time purchase. Roku has multiple options, ranging from $49 to $99, while AppleTV will cost you $99.

Honorable Mention: HBO Go-It-Alone

HBO announced on Oct. 15, 2014, that the company would break with cable providers to offer HBO Go-It-Alone, a streaming service that gives users access to the channel’s shows. So if you have cable just for “Game of Thrones,” you can do TV without cable soon! The new option will be available in 2015 for $5.99 a month (insert squeal of excitement).

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How to Watch TV Without Cable 


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