Cable TV has been a staple in homes around the world for decades. Whether its cartoons for kids, news for the grownups, sports, blockbuster movies, soap operas, and more, Cable TV seemingly had it all.
When it first started to rise to popularity, people loved having options and being able to switch channels and having regularly scheduled programming to enjoy.
However, as technology advanced and seemingly impossible things became possible, and seemingly difficult things became far less difficult, so did our standards change when it comes to entertainment.
Back in the day, it was enough that Cable TV worked exactly the way it did, and it was embraced by the entire world, or at least those who had access to it.
Nowadays, when we look at Cable TV, we see a lot of problems that can’t be addressed on the same technology.
The Disadvantages of Cable TV
On Cable TV, you can’t play and pause as you wish – so you always end up missing something or having to wait for a commercial break to do your thing.
Cable TV also doesn’t let you put down a show or movie to go out, do work, or get some sleep and then pick it up where you left off after, leading to a lot of half-finished shows and movies that you might never catch again.
Furthermore on Cable TV, since programming is scheduled, you can’t just pick what you want to watch when you want to watch, and if you want something in higher resolution than what your cable provider is broadcasting, then you’re out of luck.
Fortunately, while Cable TV is still popular in places all over the world, a new kind of technology service is making its way to millions of devices everywhere.
We’re talking about media streaming – services and platforms that let you stream and watch video content directly to your device, on-demand. How is streaming superior to Cable TV? All of the points mentioned above, and more.
With streaming services, all you need is an internet connection (and sometimes a paid subscription) to start watching hundreds, if not thousands, of movies and TV shows depending on the streaming service you’re using.
Streaming services are also built for the 21st Century, so they utilize technology that blows cable TV out of the water. Play, pause, and stop as you wish, pick from catalogs that contain all kinds of titles and content for your viewing pleasure, experience audio and subtitles in different languages, pick up where you left off, and more.
Since it works over WiFi and internet, you won’t be bogged down by wires and cables, either, so you can watch on any device that can connect to the net, whether its a smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC, or smart TV.
That said, streaming also has a few cons. For one thing, if you ditch cable to get a streaming service subscription, you’re definitely going to up your internet cost if you don’t already have high-speed internet.
You might also need to invest (and therefore spend more money) on new hardware like an android TV box or a new smart TV.
In the battle between Cable TV and streaming services, streaming is in no doubt going to take over. If you’d rather get in on the action sooner rather than later, check out these top 10 alternatives to cable TV.
iFlix – Alternatives to Cable TV
It may not be as renowned or as comprehensive as streaming giants like Netflix, but iFlix is definitely a great choice if you’re looking for a cable TV alternative in a streaming platform.
Especially if you’re a fan of local shows, iFlix offers a ton of content that’s sure to keep you entertained for the entirety of your subscription.
Unlike international options like Netflix and Hulu, iFlix offers a more hyper-localized streaming experience.
In every country it operates in, iFlix provides a huge selection of local films and TV series so you’ll always feel right at home, just like when you’re surfing local channels.
However, unlike with channel surfing on Cable TV, you’ll also be getting one of the most polished media streaming experiences out there.
Another great thing about iFlix is that because it offers localized content, it can stay relatively cheap compared to other options.
You can watch iFlix anytime ad-supported for absolutely free, but even if you opt for the VIP subscription to get more features and no pesky advertising, you’ll only have to pay roughly $2 USD compared to the standard $10-20 USD you would have to pay for other services.
Hulu + Live TV – Alternatives to Cable TV
Hulu, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime TV, is a giant of the streaming industry and one of the first to offer premium media streaming services for a global market.
Popular for its high video and audio quality, massive catalog of content to watch and enjoy, and award-winning originals movies and service-exclusive web series, Hulu is a top-dollar option that will get you the best bang for your buck, and then some.
However, unlike other platforms, Hulu lends itself especially well as a Cable TV alternative because of the availability of Hulu + Live TV.
With this packaged service, you’re not only getting access to a rich catalog of movies and TV shows – with more being added regularly – but you’re also getting live TV streams from popular international channels.
News networks and sports networks have been making their content available as Live TV for a while now, and Hulu is combining its streaming services with live television streams to offer the ultimate cable TV alternative for those who can afford it.
One downside to Hulu + Live TV is that it’s also one of the priciest options out there right now. Hulu + Live TV comes up to $54.99 per month – definitely a big expense, especially when you take into account exchange rates in your local currency.
However, if you don’t really need Live TV, the premium Hulu subscription with ad-free viewing and downloadable content for offline enjoyment comes up to $12.99 per month, and if you’d rather have access to the whole library for cheap, you can get the standard Hulu subscription for $6.99 per month, but you will have to deal with advertising, and you’re not going to have access to all the features Hulu has to offer.
Disney+ – Alternatives to Cable TV
When you hear the name Disney, what usually comes to mind is family movies, animated films, and all the shows we used to love as kids – from icons like Mickey Mouse to every Disney princess that has ever been conceived.
However, it’s also quite easy to forget that Disney also owns numerous other franchises. Disney owns Marvel Studios, Pixar, National Geographic, and the entire Star Wars franchise, so the Disney-owned and operated streaming service, Disney+, is bound to have something for everyone in the whole family.
With Disney+, you have access to a treasure-trove of award-winning, masterfully-crafted content. Every film and TV show bears the Disney standard of quality craftsmanship and masterful storytelling.
Original TV shows offer fun and excitement for the whole family, while children can gain a lot from watching educational series, documentary films, and family-oriented movies that have sparked joy in the hearts of kids for decades.
Adults – both young and old – will have plenty of content to choose from, too, whether it’s action-packed Marvel movies – both animated and live-action – or award-winning flicks from Pixar or otherwise.
Despite the attractiveness of Disney+, residents in some places might be disappointed to find that the popular streaming service has yet to become available in certain regions, theirs included.
Fortunately, it was announced recently that Disney+ will soon be available worldwide, and fans can expect the service to come online on their shores. Access unlimited entertainment with Disney+ for $7.99/month or $79.99/year.
Netflix – Alternatives to Cable TV
You can’t have a list of the top cable TV alternatives without mentioning Netflix – you just can’t. Netflix, the most popular media streaming platform in the world, available almost everywhere, is at the top of the food chain, at least for the time being.
With excellent pricing, a plethora of premium features, and an absolutely massive catalog of movies and TV shows from all over the world, Netflix is the poster child for 21st Century entertainment.
Netflix has one of the biggest catalogs of movies and TV shows out there, and while its originals aren’t as popular or award-winning as those from Hulu, some of them are jaw-droppingly well-produced.
That said, a lot of Netflix’s Originals can be hit or miss, but that’s so easily balanced out by the fact that Netflix just never seems to run out of content.
From your favorite TV shows to your must-watch movies, to popular cartoons, dramas, and even a full-fledged anime catalog, Netflix has something for everyone.
From just $9.99 a month (or up to $19.99 a month, depending on your needs) you can have access to the entire Netflix catalog – no extra fees and you can cancel anytime.
Alternatives to Cable TV
What is the best option instead of cable TV?
There are many options available when it comes to watching TV that don’t involve cable. You can watch your favorite shows streaming online, through a set-top box, or on mobile devices.
Additionally, you may want to consider subscribing to channels that specialize in specific genres of TV such as sports or movies.
There is also the option of buying episodes of television shows and watching them consecutively rather than waiting until they air all at once.
This can be an excellent way to get insights into storylines and understand character dynamics before the episode airs live.
And lastly, you can use services like Hulu Plus and Netflix for limited-time access to current seasons of popular television series without having to pay for an entire year’s subscription upfront.
Of course, none of these choices are 100% perfect, but by examining your needs and priorities carefully, you should be able to find a suitable option that meets your needs practically and emotionally.
What is the cheapest way to watch TV without cable?
There are a number of ways to watch TV without cable, and depending on your needs, one might be cheaper than the other.
One option is to use a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. These services offer a variety of TV shows and movies that you can stream online or with devices such as smart TVs and gaming consoles.
Another option is to purchase old episodes of TV shows from iTunes or Amazon Instant Video.
All you need is an account for either provider and you’re good to go. And finally, if live sports are your thing (well, who isn’t?), then signing up for a full-time cable subscription may not be the best financial decision for you.
Instead, try out antenna channels like Fox News Channel or ESPN which allow access to local programming without paying for extra features like DVRs or expanded channel lineups.
Otherwise Youtube also offers a great plethora of original contents for everyone.