Analysts are calling it an ‘apocalypse’ as cable TV subscription figures plummet. In 2013 alone, 18.1% of cable TV subscribers cut the cable for streaming packages like Hulu and Netflix, and the trend continues. The second quarter of 2015 saw cable subscriptions decline by 463,000 viewers compared to a 141,000 cable-cutters in the same period in 2014.
Cable-cutting is the new money-saving trend that has everyone talking. And it really works, plus you still get to see some great TV content and can follow your favorite shows without breaking the bank. If you have a relatively new TV set, it probably has streaming hardware built-in, but if you have an older TV, you needn’t despair. Streaming devices such as streaming sticks and set-top boxes are cheap and will help you cut the cable bill and save big time.
How much is cable costing you?
In the US, consumers are currently paying $99 per month on average for their cable TV subscriptions, and providers like Comcast, Direc TV and AT&T are all talking about further price increases in 2016 prompting still more viewers to seek lower cost alternatives.
So let’s take a look at the best streaming choices for cable-cutters.
Cost: $20 per month
You should be able to get a free trial of this service and you get the Roku Stick you need to get started free. Most of the top cable networks are available through Sling TV, and for an extra $15 monthly, you get access to all the edgy entertainment from HBO. Best of all, there’s no contract, so in the unlikely event that it isn’t working for you, you can stop anytime you like.
Cost: $99 per year
Watch what you like when you like with Amazon Prime. There’s a vast array of movies and TV shows available, you get everything from Starz and Showtime plus there are more than 40,000 movies to choose from, plus you get free shipping from Amazon whenever you order goodies.
Not sure if you’d like to commit to a year’s subscription? You get a trial period that allows you to test the waters, and some of the content that isn’t available on Netflix and Hulu is available on this service.
Cost: $9.99 per month
The recent Netflix price increase to $9.99 per month has customers grumbling, but it’s still a whole lot cheaper than having cable TV. And you’re spoiled for choice regarding content. The latest movies and TV shows (and some classic oldies) are there for you to choose from. If you want to stream to more than one device, you pay a little more, but you don’t need to buy two subscriptions.
Cost: $7.99 – $11.99 per month
If you hate ads as much as I do, you can pay a bit more and never see another ad on Hulu. You probably won’t even miss your cable, since you can watch the current seasons’ best series from channels like NBC, Fox and more. They’re only available the day after having been aired on cable, but you can wait that long without being behind the times! As with Netflix, you also get a great selection of movies. Neato!
Cost: $5.99 per month
With this streaming package, you get to see the latest episodes of your favorite CBS shows the day after airing plus you get a good selection of on-demand content. If you’re not a huge TV junkie, you can get the free CBS app and, at least, have access to the latest episodes of your shows.
HBO Now | Showtime Anytime | Starz
Cost: $10.00 – $14.99 per month
Yes, it costs a little more, but you have to admit those HBO shows are fabulous. Get access to cult shows like ‘Girls’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ and be thoroughly entertained. The same goes for Showtime and Starz which you can also get for an extra fee on your Amazon Prime subscription.
Follow Select Sports
Estimate: $15 – $20 per month
Sports fans will have the hardest time cutting their cable, and if you’re just crazy about everything sports related, you may end up having to keep the cable. But if you only follow top sports like games from NFL.com, then there may be an alternative.
Most sporting organizations offer streaming packages of one kind or another, but each subscription costs in the region of $100 to $200 a year, so they are kind of pricey, but you still save if you compare subscribing to one or two sports compared to paying for cable.
Cost: Depends on the genres you subscribe to
Klowd is a newish service that lets you decide what you’d like to subscribe to and pay accordingly. There’s a free trial available, so you can check it out at no cost and compare it to your other options.
Before you get excited, be warned that you’re not going to get access to all the latest and greatest with a free streaming package – but you’ll still get a reasonably good selection of things to watch, and of the free streaming options, these twos are the best bet.
Even if you subscribe to more than one of the paid streaming options out there, you’ll probably still find that you’re saving. Some savvy viewers are carefully tailoring a basket of streaming subscriptions so that they can see all their favorite shows and still save.
This money-saving trend is huge! If you haven’t checked out your streaming options yet, get with the program now.
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