This post may contain affiliate links which help me keep the site running. All opinions and recommendations are 100% mine. I never recommend something I haven't tried and used myself.
Entertainment costs have been skyrocketing for years, but we’re fortunate to live in technologically advanced times that provide many different options for cutting cable–and the hefty bill. No longer are we stuck jumping between a local cable company or a satellite dish company. Ditching traditional cable or satellite can seem like a big change to make, but after an adjustment period, the only thing you’ll notice is the savings.
I’m not a big TV watcher. I don’t have it on at all during the day unless my little ones want to catch a Sprout or Disney show. Otherwise, nothing comes on until all the kids are down for bed–and by then it pretty much serves as a lullaby to put me to sleep! I’d be perfectly happy with just my local network channels, though I admit I would miss my Food Network favorite, The Pioneer Woman and HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper. My husband, on the other hand, simply can not live without his 1800 channels of ESPN and the myriad of sports channels that cable offers. So you can imagine it has been tough to get him on board with dropping cable. Initially, we switched from Comcast cable to Dish Network, but after the promo period ended, we were right back up to $120 per month to watch expanded basic (no premiums) cable on three TV’s with a DVR, and another year still left on the contract.
Then we discovered Sony’s Playstation Vue. Despite the name, you do not need a Playstation gaming system to use their service, but you can access it there if you already own one. We bought a Roku for each TV in the house and access Vue from the downloadable app. We currently pay $64.99 per month for a similar selection of HD channels that we had with Dish, plus HBO and Showtime. That’s $64.99 total, no taxes or fees are added and…there’s no contract. If we were to drop HBO and Showtime after Game of Thrones and Curb Your Enthusiasm (haha) concludes, we would only pay $44.99 per month, shaving another $20 off the bill.
You can pause and rewind live TV and they even offer a DVR service called “My Shows,” so you don’t have to give up that convenience. The only major adjustment has been that all the local channels aren’t included. In our service area, we can access CBS live, but ABC and NBC are only available on demand. Their shows are automatically added to our My Shows section when they’re available for viewing, which is usually within 12 hours of its original live viewing time. Some shows take a little longer though, like ABC’s Scandal, which I can then view on the ABC Roku app sooner than waiting for it to show up in My Shows. The only downfall there is you can’t fast forward through the commercials. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and above all else, it’s freeing up an extra $55 (and the potential for $75) per month!
Sling TV is another similar option, but doesn’t have as many features as Playstation Vue. You will need some type of streaming device like a Roku in order to use the service. While they recently added ESPN to their line-up of channels, your access to local network channels will likely be even more limited with Sling. For instance, our service area is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and we could only access NBC and FOX on demand–no ABC or CBS access at all. They also don’t offer any DVR service at this time. All of this is reflected in the price however. Their plans are among the cheapest and there’s no contract. You can try a free trial for 7 days here to see if it works for you.
Hulu also allows you to watch current season network shows, available the next day after original airing, in addition to original content. HD viewing is an option and you can add on Showtime for a fee. Plans start at $7.99 for limited commercials and $11.99 for no commercials.
If you’re like me and truly can live with just the basics, you can still access your local channels free over the air through high quality HD antennas. Both outdoor and indoor antenna options are available depending on your preference. Research how far you are located from your local stations and then purchase a corresponding antenna for a one-time cost. You can check out TV Fool’s TV Signal analysis tool to assist in finding the distance from your transmitting stations.
I purchased this one for indoor use in our living room. Now I can watch local channels when I just don’t want to wait until the next day to catch a must-see episode. It has a 60-mile range which is probably good for most households. We get close to 20 channels very clearly on it–I highly recommend it.
Now you may be wondering where we get internet access from if we’ve ditched cable. Well, we still have Comcast Xfinity for that one. They provide the most reliable service in our area and despite its rising cost, it’s still cheaper for us to piece out our cable from the internet, over getting an all-inclusive bundle. This may not be the case for you though, so always explore all of your available options.
The easiest thing to do before making any changes is to simply pick up the phone and ask your provider if they can offer you a lower price for being a loyal customer in good standing. Sometimes it won’t work unless you sound like you’re willing to switch companies, so be prepared with some cheaper options that they can try and match or beat.
Have you ditched cable for good yet? Are you happy that you’ve done so? If not, tell me what’s holding you back.