Ditching cable is becoming more and more common, especially for younger consumers. It’s a no-brainer, if you’re trying to save money. After all, there’s an incredible amount of media available online. But knowing just how to watch what you want, when you want it, comfortably, isn’t easy for everyone, but technology presents an especially difficult decision.
Streaming services like SlingTv, Netflix, HBO Now, and Amazon produce and distribute incredible content for a fraction of the price of a cable contract. And network TV is still available for the cost of a digital antenna—about ten bucks—which means you won’t miss the Super Bowl or the Oscars.
Finally, there’s the option to purchase individual shows via iTunes or Amazon.
Juggling all of these options, however, is confusing. So we’ve put together our own cable-free “packages” to give readers an idea of just how to go about cutting the cord for good.
Basic Cable Substitute
If you’re hooked on network and standard cable channel content, this is a real money saver.
• Hulu Plus for current network television, plus older content from FX, Comedy Central, and similar. If you can do without CBS, it’s $7.99 a month. If you can’t, it’s $5.99 extra to add it.
• Dish Network’s SlingTV is $20 a month for those that are serious cable junkies, and must have their AMC, A&E, and ABC Family shows (among numerous others). But you can usually save even more by purchasing seasons separately from Amazon and iTunes, if you only watch a couple of shows from those channels.
Total cost comes to just over $400 per year—half of what you’d pay if your cable bill is in the 60-70 dollar range.
Premium Content Fan
When cable came out, the best shows from network TV started migrating… and then cable began to produce even better content. Well, it’s happening again, but now the shift is to streaming services. Amazon and Netflix not only host some of the best content, they’re also producing it. With House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Transparent, and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, some of the hottest around-the-water-cooler shows are streaming.
Now, if you’ve gotten this far, and you’re saying, “What about sports!?” don’t worry. You can get a sports package from Sling TV. Once you add an indoor antenna for network coverage, you’re set. The only thing you’re really out of luck with is the option to catch every local game. Cable still wins out there. But don’t dismiss the possibility of at least cutting your cable back; you might need less than you think!