It is very likely that you have heard from friends or family that you can now easily get by without having a subscription to cable television. By eliminating that service from your life, you can save a substantial amount of money, oftentimes it will be one hundred or more dollars every month. However, what is not as often discussed is what you can do for in-home entertainment after ending your TV service, which can be a pretty huge issue for those who enjoy their cable programming. Especially for those people, looking at alternatives to cable TV seems very limiting in options. But for the handful of shows you might end up missing out on, there is a liberating aspect to streaming services in that you can watch your favorite programs whenever you want.
So, speaking of streaming services, we can highly recommend Netflix and Hulu for different purposes. We will also discuss other entertainment options you may not have considered or knew about, including Amazon Prime, YouTube, USTV Free and more.
Most people have a preference for Netflix since, unlike Hulu; it does not stop shows for commercial breaks. Its ever-expanding selection includes movies and television shows, but they usually take a long time to be delivered to the service.
Although it receives a lot of criticism for being a paid service that still shows ads, we still highly recommend signing up for Hulu Plus. Not only does it have a huge, growing list of some of the best TV shows, but it releases them at midnight of the night the show aired. This access to brand-new episodes makes the commercial breaks worthwhile, in our opinion, especially considering they show the viewer a little by a counter at the top of the screen that show just how long the commercials will last – and they rarely take more than a minute. Our one gripe with Hulu is from their movie selection – it’s underwhelming at best.
Amazon Prime: Having an Amazon Prime membership is alone worth the annual fee of $99 for the free one-day shipping that comes with the service, and the shows and movies that come with it are a nice bonus. Where Amazon Prime really shines as a streaming service is that it has an excellent selection of shows targeted to small children due to a deal with Viacom that gets them more Nickelodeon shows than Netflix or Hulu.
YouTube: Although YouTube has a bit of a stigma behind is as far as its community and the types of videos are concerned, there is a ridiculous amount of content available to watch on the original video website. From news and reviews to sitcoms and drama, any kind of TV programming you might want is available through YouTube. The only downside is that you will be watching user-generated content rather than the high-production value stuff you’ll see on TV. However, some of the shows and videos on YouTube are just as good and often surpass their television counterparts. Not bad at all for a free website.
For the most part, you will only be able to find functional streaming television apps for the Android as they have a number of marketplaces (as in Google Play, Amazon App Store, etc) and unofficial marketplaces are much less strict about allowing developers to release apps than Apple and Google are for the official app stores for Android and Apple devices. For example, from the Amazon App Store, you can find more than one streaming program that actually shows live television from the big networks. The streaming app with the highest reviews is called DroidTV, which you should check out whether or not you want to break free from cable anyway. The only issue we have with mobile like DroidTV, US TV Free and others in that vein is that it is very difficult finding anything similar to this for Apple phones without having to jailbreak the phone for root access.
And Much, Much More!
There is now available more streaming services than ever before. These include places like espn3.com where you can watch live sports depending on your internet provider and twitch.tv to watch gamers play while giving commentary. Do you have a favorite that we didn’t mention in the article? Let us know in the comments below to share the knowledge!
A Note about Online Piracy: Many people who have cut the cable cord will tell you to take up digital piracy so you can watch the latest movies and TV shows the instant they are released. However, this act is illegal and we at About Bill Pay strongly recommend that you do not participate in this kind of activity. With all of the above, there really is absolutely no need to try pirating just to be up to date with a show or movie. The consequences are not worth it and any fine you receive would (obviously) completely negate any money you saved by going cable free in the first place.