The so-called "Cord cutting" is getting more and more popular, which is bad news for the Cable TV industry. The reason is that current TV subscriptions in the US are not only too expensive, they are also getting technically obsolete, especially in younger, tech-savvy households.
Ditching cable TV is not for everyone, of course, at least not yet, especially if your internet provider is charging you for your usage, which is (surprisingly) still present on the market. People choose to end their TV subscriptions for mostly financial reasons and many of them seem very happy with their choice. Yet, there are people that are not pleased with the changes, usually because of poor planning. If, for example, you are used to surfing tens of channels on your couch, online services and even antennas will hardly provide you with a viable option at a low cost. However, if you watch just a couple of channels or TV shows occasionally, it might be better if you stop paying tens of dollars each month for cable TV and reduce your bills to 10-20$ for services such as Netflix, Sling TV or Hulu. You can compensate the channels you miss with free online services and/or an antenna.
So if you are not too picky on channels or you are ready to sacrifice a part of your convenience to save some cash, here's how you can do this – without the optional technicalities. If you plan on using any of the paid Netflix-like services, first make a research on what you'd like to watch and how much it would cost. This is where most cord-cutting newbies usually get lost and end up with several subscriptions, resulting in not saving any buck from the whole deal.
1. Old School Antenna
Some people are surprised by the fact that this is actually a very, very good free option. Even if you use paid services to watch TV, antennas are able to "fill the gaps" of channels just fine, and the 'hardware' is very cheap. You can check what signals are available on your address here. Bear in mind that the modern signal is only digital, so if you have an older TV you will need to buy a converter box for 20-50$. You may be surprised, but many channels broadcast just fine HD signal!
Netflix is the hit in global streaming with more than 75 million subscribers in 190 countries. With a collection of 100 000 movies and TV series such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the new black" the success of this service is well earned. In addition, as you may have noticed on the Internet, many young people use it to "chill" as they call it these days. You will like the price: 8- 12$/month. For the price of 11, 99$, you get a subscription for 4 screens in HD.
Hulu not only features thousands of blockbuster movies but also broadcasts Fox, ABC, NBC Comedy Central, MTV and other networks (CBS and ESPN excluded). As an advantage, the TV shows Hulu features are usually added just a day after being aired on TV. Price: from 8$ to 12$ depending on your ad tolerance.
4. Amazon Prime
Though not as popular as Netflix, Amazon Prime is quickly catching up with shows such as Downtown Abbey and Transparent. For 99$ a year (about 8$ per month) you also get music streaming (library of about 1 million songs), and access to Kindle lending library (about 800,000 titles but only a few of them are bestsellers). Even though Amazon Prime has shown sufficient efforts to improve over the years, the volume of its content is still much more humble than that of Netflix and Hulu.
5. CBS All Access
CBS All Access is getting ahead in the US with a library of over 6500 episodes of their series available on-demand and we all know their network has some pretty good shows. In addition, every new episode of any show is uploaded right after it has been aired on TV and there are no ads at all. The price is far lower – just 6$ a month.
6. Sling TV
Sling TV is the closest alternative to Cable TV if you like couch surfing. The basic package features 20 TV channels (ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TBS, TNT, CNN and more) for 20$. Many of the channels include on-demand content of movies and TV shows. There are also several add-on packages each adding from 5$ (for sports, kids and other niche channels) to 15$(for HBO channel and full library) to your monthly subscription.
7. Playstation Vue
Owned by Sony, PlayStaytion Vue is SlingTV's main competitor (full comparison here). Its main package consists of 55+ channels for 30$ and it offers additional packages for up to 15$ more. Yet be sure to check if your devices are compatible with the platform, the hardware options are more limited compared to SlingTV.
8. HBO Now
We cannot miss HBO network, with shows such as Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and much more. HBO Now offers full access to its library of episodes and even though the quantity cannot be compared to those of Netflix and Hulu, the quality has no match. Yet as always HBO keeps their prices high – the cost is 15$ per month.
If you're not so much into TV Shows and programs, but you need your sports – ditching the cord can be much easier for you. Hardcore sports' fans find it difficult to end their TV subscription because they fear that they'll miss some of their favorite teams and sports. For 20$+5$ for SlingTV basic + sports subscription, you will probably get even more channels and sports events than you presently have with your cable TV subscription. And if this is not enough, there are plenty of choices for live streaming of major leagues and TV channels, such as ESPN, NBA, NCAA, NFL, WWE etc. If you don't mind some ads in the beginning, there are many free options that feature all kinds of sports, such as FirstRowSports and SportLemon.
10. Free Movies and TV shows
HitBliss and Crackle are not so famous but they are actually great ad-supported services. Crackle features thousands of movies from TriStar Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Sony Pictures Classic, and you can enjoy TV shows like Seinfeld. HitBliss will make you watch a few ads for credits, but also includes many TV shows and movie titles.
Some channels, like NBC allow you to watch recent episodes of their shows free, so if you miss a given program in your subscriptions, check the channel's website.
Many people wonder whether they should ditch the Cable TV, but don't have the guts yet. If you are unsure, just try without paying anything – most of the services listed above offer free trial period (be cautious with automatic renewals!) and antennas are as cheap as they can be. You don't need to hurry – you can cancel your Cable TV subscription once you are ready. Good luck!