The internet has changed the way we get our information. It is also changing the way we watch television. The days of having only one option to watch TV are over. Cable companies are no longer monopolizing television, you now have more online options to watch live TV. You no longer need a Satellite/Cable subscription TV bundle to get stations like ESPN, CNN, History Channel or Food Network. Sports channels are also available from many of these streaming services. All you need is an internet connection and you can choose from several different companies to provide the live TV streaming service. We will look at options to stream live TV, binge-watch a series or movie. More companies are entering this space. You can watch live television on just about any device. In most cases combining an internet connection with one of these live TV streaming services is still cheaper than bundling cable. This article is a list of all the current alternatives to cable TV. We will continue to update it as options evolve.
Cable TV Alternatives
All of these providers offer premium cable channels. Each provider offers different types of channels so check their packages to see what channels work for you. The nice part is you are not locked into any contracts and you can cancel at any time. Local channels like NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX might be limited to live local coverage, if you live in a major city then you will receive coverage from that larger market. You could also setup an HD antenna to receive local news coverage for your area. A high-speed internet connection is you all need to get started. Many of these providers also have cloud DVR services that will allow you to record several shows for later viewing. Here is a current list of all the online alternatives to cable television.
Live TV Streaming Services
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu offers live TV. They also have many premium channels in their lineup. You get full access to the entire Hulu streaming library along with live sports, breaking news, live events and current shows for about $44.00 a month. Click here to see Hulu with Live TV full channel lineup. My father has been using Hulu live TV on his Amazon Fire TV stick. It is easy to use and no streaming issues. He loves it.
FuboTV also offers cable channels. Their lineup is mostly sports related stations, but are beginning to offer more cable channels. You have access to such channels as FX, USA, BRAVO, E Channel, Food Network, HGTV, History, Travel Channel and more. They are adding more premium channels regularly. If you are a soccer or sports fan this service has a great selection of channels. They also have cloud DVR functionality to record shows for later viewing. Click here to see FuboTV full channel list.
Skystream TV offers 65+ channels and works on just about every device. It is $35.00 dollars a month. Which is a bit cheaper than the competition. They have a decent channel line up (see the chart below) including premium channels like HBO, Cinemax and Showtime for an extra fee. Their DVR capabilities include 50 hours of record time. 7 day replay and watch on the go options. There are no contracts and you can cancel anytime. You can watch up to 5 screens at one time. Skystream TV is free to try for up to 7 days.
Skystream TV Channel Line Up
Sling TV offers several different packages to stream live TV. The Sling Orange service offers 30 channels including ESPN, Disney Channel, AMC, CNN, HGTV, and more. The Sling Blue service offers 40+ channels like FOX, NBC, regional sports, NFL Network, FX, and more. Sling TV starts at $20 a month, you can try it free for 7 days. Sling TV is continuously adding channels to its lineup, so you should check their website to see the current offerings. Click here for Sling TV full channel line up.
Direct TV Now
Direct TV Now has several different packages. You can choose from up to 120+ cable channels. Direct TV Now’s basic package starts at $35.00 a month and goes up from there depending on what channels you want. If you are an AT&T wireless subscriber you can get the service for $10.00 a month. Check for promo’s because they keep changing. Direct TV Now does not have a DVR service as of yet. Click here for Direct TV Now’s complete channel lineup.
You Tube TV
You Tube TV offers a nice selection of channels. You watch live TV from major broadcast and popular cable networks. Watch local and national live sports, and shows the moment they air. For $35.00 a month you get access to over 30 channels and get to record all your favorites without storage space limits. You can share with up to 6 other roommates or family members in your household. Click here to see You Tube TV full channel list.
PlayStation Vue is a live streaming TV service with sports, news, TV shows and premium channels. They offer a powerful cloud DVR for recording shows. You can stream on up to five devices at once. PlayStation Vue can stream many different devices and is not limited to the PlayStation console. Click here to see PlayStation’s Vue full channel lineup.
Other Options for Streaming TV
There are also other ways you can watch television online. These services do not provide live TV but provide options to stream movies and shows on demand. Again all you need is an internet connection. Many of these services will allow you to binge-watch a series and shows.
Amazon Video is a streaming service that allows you to watch thousands of TV shows and movies. They have an extensive lineup which is always being updated. Amazon has many popular original series to choose from. You can stream to just about any device. For about $8.00 a month you get access to Amazon Prime Video and Music. You also get free 2-day shipping on most items bought through Amazon. I personally use this service for watching TV shows and movies. I also love their selection of music. Just install the streaming music app and you can listen to just about every song or album you can imagine. I highly recommend trying it. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Netflix also has thousands of movies and TV shows for around $8.00 a month. They offer many of their own hit original Netflix series as well. Streaming is available to just about every device and you can cancel your subscription anytime.
Vudu may not be as well recognized as Amazon or Netflix. They have many movies and TV shows to choose from that you can rent or own. Many movies can be rented for as low as $3.99 and TV series seasons for $9.99. They also have a selection of free content with limited commercials. They have a good selection of current movies and TV shows. You can also stream to many different types of devices and users. Vudu often runs specials that are well worth checking out.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access allows you to binge watch your favorite CBS shows for a small monthly fee. You can watch over 10,000 episodes on demand of shows like Bull, NCIS, Mom, Survivor, Big Brother, Big Bang Theory and 60 Minutes. They also have exclusive content only available through the CBS All Access app. Those shows include Star Trek Discovery, The Good Fight and No Activity. They are planning to add more original content in the future. With CBS All Access you can watch live local streams and 24/7 news coverage. Try CBS All Access. 1 week free!
You can also watch premium cable channels. Channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax can be streamed as an add-on service with Sling TV, Direct TV Now, PlayStation Vue or Amazon Video. Just add it as an additional option when signing up. If you don’t want to subscribe to a package you can watch the channel using one of their associated apps. Just install the app using your streaming device of choice.
Many people do not want to get rid of cable because they’re afraid of losing their sports channels. Well, that is not a problem. Many of the above live streaming TV services offer sports channels that can be added on. You can also see our article on how to watch sports without a cable subscription.
Free content is available from many of the major stations. NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and others allow you to watch certain shows using their app or website. See our list of legal free TV shows and free movie sites.
Devices to Consider With These Services
All of these streaming services will work on a variety of devices. If you don’t already have a streaming device, let’s look at some of the most popular that will work with these services. Just install the associated app from anyone of these streaming providers on to your device, open an account and you are ready to watch.
Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick is an excellent streaming device that will hook up to your television through the HDMI input. It is easy to operate and setup.
The Roku Express is a nice entry level streaming device. It will work well for any of these services. It is easy to setup and compact.
The iPad is another great streaming device. You can take it on the go or watch it while lying in bed. The iPad makes an excellent all-around option for streaming videos.
You may want to consider switching your internet service provider. Speeds may vary, in general, you will want speeds of a least 10mb to stream HD. You can use our broadband speed page to test your internet speeds. Are you getting what you are paying for? If you are lucky and have more than one option in your area, it is worth looking into and can save you some money. We have an article explaining how to switch ISP’s.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
You can still watch all of your favorite TV shows and channels without a cable subscription. All you need is an internet connection and one of these live TV streaming services. Stay tuned to this space, I am sure more services will become available in the near future.