If you’re thinking about “cutting the cord” on cable or satellite TV, the alternatives are plentiful and available at a fraction of the cost.
Keep in mind, however, that if you still want to watch local network affiliates (ABC, NBC, PBS and CBS) you will need an HD antenna, which you can purchase at your local electronics store. Also worth noting: You’ll need to purchase a device, such as a Google Chromecast or Roku, to deliver the content to your television.
Here’s a rundown of several cost-saving options:
Sling TV is a channel-based provider that offers live streaming of television channels. It is like cable TV through an app, but much cheaper. For a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite you can purchase a package that includes AMC, Lifetime, A&E, ESPN, ESPN2, HGTV, TNT, Disney and TBS. Sling offers an alternative package for the same price that swaps the Disney-owned channels for Fox channels, including Fox Sports. Sling streams via an app on your phone or tablet.
Hulu is a program-based service that offers a large menu of television shows, both old and recent. You can watch episodes of your favorite TV shows usually the day after the original air date. Pay an extra fee to watch commercial-free. Hulu also offers original programming.
Amazon Prime is a program-based service that offers tens of thousands of movies and television shows. A prime membership is $99 per year plus you get free shipping of other items you purchase through Amazon. Like Hulu, Amazon Prime provides past episodes of TV shows as well as some original content.
Netflix is another program-based provider with a huge library of content including movies and TV shows. Netflix changes their accessible movie database periodically, dropping some and adding others. They also produce their own content of serial programs that have garnered large followings.
Crackle is another program-based service with a fair-sized library of movies and TV shows as well as their own original content. Crackle’s biggest benefit is that it’s free.
Channel websites make it possible to watch past episodes of shows. Each individual television channel has its own website. For instance, go to HGTV.com to watch past episodes of its popular decorating shows.