Cheap TV Services: Best Alternatives to Cable

john-sting-112628TV programming has programming has been around for entertainment for decades. Nowadays, there are so many interesting and addicting shows, that it can seem difficult to give up your cable subscription. Some of those great shows can be found watched on prime time networks, like CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox– which can usually be accessed for free on your television.

However thanks to the new digital age where flatscreens and smart TVs reign supreme, basic channels may not have the best quality over-the-air signal so we’re left without a choice but to pay for cable and satellite television. While cable also offers great programming, it comes at a high cost.

According to Fortune.com, the average cable bill costs consumers $103.10 per month–a record all-time high. The figure includes all added fees that cable and satellite companies don’t advertise, including sports packages and even taxes.

Those companies certainly know how to entice customers–low prices for everyone, until the bill is mailed. Pressman also notes that because of the high cost, many consumers have decided to “cut the cord” and switch to online content providers.

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon’s Prime Video are providing alternatives to the pricey cable and satellite services.

By switching to online streaming services, you’ll know exactly what you will be paying from the start. I’ll take a look at each of the services and what they provide while comparing their pricing. It’s time to say goodbye to the ever-increasing cable and satellite bill and start saving.

Pricing

Netflix offers a Basic, Standard, and Premium services. The Basic service costs $7.99, but does not provide its programming in HD and only allows for one screen to use Netflix at a time. For $9.99, the Standard services allow for HD streaming and allows for 2 screens, or viewing profiles. The Premium service costs $11.99 and provides HD and Ultra HD streaming while providing 4 viewing profiles. Perfect the for the family.

Hulu offers its full service for $7.99 per month, but unlike Netflix, the service includes limited commercials. You can upgrade and eliminate commercials by paying $11.99 per month. Hulu does not offer viewing profiles like Netflix does.

Amazon Prime Video is included in its Prime Membership price, which is $99 per year ($8.25/month). So if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper taking advantage of free 2-day shipping, then you can already enjoy the video streaming service.

Prime Video is commercial-free, but does not provide viewing profiles. Amazon does offer a monthly Prime rate of $10.99, which grants you access to the entire Prime service (2-day shipping included), but you can save $32.88 by purchasing the yearly membership.

Content

Each of the streaming services provides current programming, as well as their own exclusive content. Netflix offers a vast selection of movies and full seasons of many currently-airing shows from prime time and cable networks, like ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Showtime’s Shameless.

However, the seasons are not available to stream until after the season is done airing on their respective network. Netflix is perhaps best known for their exclusive programming like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. The service is constantly adding new exclusive content, so your next TV addiction is probably currently being filmed.

Hulu also provides a vast selection of movies and TV shows, but unlike Netflix, Hulu streams current TV show episodes the next day after they air on their respective networks, allowing for you to keep up with your favorite show as it airs.

Hulu also provides the option to add on to their service by subscribing to Showtime for an additional $8.99, allowing for you to view Showtime’s programming via Hulu. You’ll never run out of shows to watch as Hulu has their own exclusive shows as well.

Amazon’s Prime Video their own selection of current programming, movies, and exclusive content, however, it is much smaller when compared to Netflix and Hulu. Prime Video does offer the latest movies, but unless they are listed under “Prime,” they will list a price where you can buy or rent them via Prime Video. Prime Video offers the most add-on subscription options from cable networks, like HBO and Starz.

Prime Video also has subscriptions based on subject matter or from a certain region such as Acorn TV, which features British programming, and BeFiT, which feature workout videos. All of the add-on subscriptions can be purchased at varying monthly prices, although they can add up, increasing your monthly payments.

Bottom Line

All of the companies offer a free month trial for new customers, allowing for you to try each of the streaming services and compare for yourself.

The add-on subscriptions offered via Hulu and Amazon’s Prime Video also come with a 7-day trial, so you can decide whether or not the subscription has content for you. Best of all, there are no contracts, so you can cancel any of the services at any time for any reason, allowing you to pick and choose what’s best for your viewing needs.

So if you’re on the fence about finally cutting the cord, then give one of these streaming services a try.

Have you cut the cord yet or tried out a cheaper TV service? What’s holding you back?

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Posted in: Entertainment and Leisure, Saving Money

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