Alternatives to Cable
Many of us have been in the world long enough to remember when cable first made it big during the 80s and 90s and became a common household product. Now like the 8-track, cassette tape, and DVD of old, we are experiencing a new age of gadgets and services to feed our every television demand.
In essentially all the below options you need a WiFi capable product (Blu-ray, Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, etc.) to enjoy access. If you don’t have any of these options, consider that you can hook your laptop up to your television via HDMI cord, assuming your television is HDMI capable. You can also hit up your local entertainment store to purchase an HD antenna to enjoy your local stations and the peace of mind that comes with fewer options and subscription costs.
Even if you have and have been fine with cable, commercials can be a source of agony once your kids are old enough to form the words, “Mom, can we get that?”
If you are timidly considering switching to something else but don’t know what on earth that something else is, take a gander at some of the most popular options available today:
Netflix: For $8 to $25 a month (plus applicable fees) you can enjoy endless streaming with a variety of package offers for how many devices you can stream to at once as well as if you’d like CDs via mail, which widens the scope of what you can view to over 93,000 options. They are known for movies and documentaries in addition to past seasons of many popular television shows, both present and past. Commercial-free.
Hulu: Starting at $8 per month (and with some shows available for free), Hulu especially focuses in on old and new television shows, including Hulu originals, and a variety of movies. Hulu has benefits of offering current TV series shows as fast as 24 hours after premiering but has the downside of some commercials. You can pay $4 more per month to limit commercials, known as Hulu Plus.
Sling: With the tagline of “take back TV,” Sling offers many basic cable/satellite channels from $20-$40, depending on which package you select. Sling does not require satellite and you can cancel anytime.
Amazon Prime: One with many non-television perks, Amazon Prime offers a mix of several options here. You have access to many movies, documentaries, and television shows for free, and the option to purchase new seasons in some cases. You can also rent movies, store photos on your own cloud, receive 2-day shipping on purchases, and more with your Prime membership at about $99 plus fees. This option also has special packages for students, parents, and more. Commercial-free.
DirectTV Now: Without a satellite or other devices, you can stream DirectTV Now for $70+ a month to access many in the company’s usual lineup both live and on demand.
PlayStation Vue: The Vue app allows you to get, for $11 to $65 (plus applicable taxes), access to many of the most popular cable channels. The PlayStation also provides access to many of the other subscription-based apps like Netflix, Amazon, and more.
Roku, Amazon Fire Stick or Chromecast: If you don’t have a Blu-ray, these options may be of interest to you in particular. Each one (Roku, Fire Stick, or Chromecast) inserts into your TV via HDMI and can then connect to WiFi and work with your phone and/or tablet to provide access to all the popular apps like Netflix, Amazon, Vue, and more. The streaming device can be purchased between $30 to $70 depending on the quality of streaming you hope to view. Commercial-free.
HBO Now: If you love one of the original cable networks, HBO Now offers internet streaming of their shows and many movies for just under $15 a month. Commercial-free.
PBS Kids and other similar apps: PBS Kids offers many kids shows anytime, anywhere via app or online. Other stations, like Disney and Nickelodeon also offer similar products with shows available for both free and a cost. PBS Kids in particular is growing its children’s programming beyond the A.M. hours in some markets with a free specialized television station of only children’s programming. Commercial-free.
Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.