If you're a TV addict, you know that some of your favorite shows can come with a high cost, as cable and internet could run you as much as a couple of hundred dollars each month. Thankfully, the digital age has left us with some cheap cable alternatives and clever ways to save money without sacrificing quality. Read on to find our favorite ways to watch TV on a budget.
Once you cut the cord, you still need to find apps to watch your favorite shows and movies. Here are some of the most popular ones available today.
Back in the olden days, you used to get one or two discs in the mail periodically from Netflix. While that option is still available, who wants to wait a few days between episodes of your favorite shows?
Netflix streaming is the best way to get caught up on old shows. You can even stream movies, and the best part is, you can screen on four devices for just $16 per month.
Watch instantly on your computer, or stream to your TV via devices like the Wii, PS3 or Xbox 360 to watch your favorite shows. Unfortunately, not every series is available for streaming, especially new ones, so check out your options before you commit. But you'll be able to watch Netflix's original programming, such as "Ozark," "Orange is the New Black" and "Tiger King."
Hulu Plus is great for getting addicted to new shows, as this service updates a day or two after episodes air live instead of entire seasons at once. With plans starting at $5.99 a month with no commitment, you'll have access to all current season episodes of many hit shows, hundreds of classic series and thousands of award-winning movies.
If you're a member of Amazon Prime, then you instantly have access to a number of great TV shows and movies, right at your fingertips. While not all of them are free, the ones that do cost money are available for only a small fee, so double-check the prices before you click anything.
And if you're an avid online shopper, you'll enjoy Amazon Prime's other benefits, like free two-day shipping, in addition to unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows for $119 per year or $12.99 per month.
The newest streaming service is a family-favorite featuring Disney classics, Pixar adventures, Marvel epics, Star Wars sagas and National Geographic explorations. Start streaming now for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.
This internet television service offers live TV, on-demand video and cloud-based unlimited DVR from more than 70 television networks. For just $49.99 per month, you can share the service with six users.
Unless you have a smart TV, you'll need a device in order to download and use those cheap cable alternative apps.
Roku lets you stream various channels right to your TV without purchasing a gaming system that can cost hundreds of dollars. The box itself is affordable (from $29.99), and there are no monthly fees, so once you make the initial purchase, it's all yours!
It's one of the most reliable streaming devices on the market, and there's something for everyone. You can stream free and paid services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora and YouTube.
The 4th generation streaming media player ($149-$199) lets you watch videos, listen to music, play games and use other types of apps from the internet on your TV. It comes with a variety of pre-installed apps that include free streaming. Some apps, like Hulu Plus and Netflix, require a direct subscription to view their content.
The 4K streaming media stick ($39.99) with its Alexa Voice Remote allows you to stream your favorites from Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO, among others.
The $35 Chromecast is a small stick that plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. Set it up with a mobile app, then control your TV via your laptop, smartphone or tablet. Anything that you can stream online can be viewed directly on your TV.
Channel Master uses antenna technology to transmit many TV channel options for free, so it's like having cable, only without the pesky monthly charges. The only downside is the setup and installation fees, which could cost you several hundred dollars, but after a few months, this system will more than pay for itself.
One of the advantages of the Channel Master is its built-in recording capability, so you'll never miss your favorite shows again. You can pause live TV, record up to two channels at once and fast forward through commercials.
It's so easy today to enjoy great entertainment on a budget. With so many cheap cable alternatives and family-sharing plans, you can spend countless hours catching up on your favorite shows and discovering new ones.