Have you been thinking about the best way to watch tv without cable and save a few dollars? Cable TV came to us in the mid-70s. At the time it was a great improvement from three channels and a pair of rabbit ears. Cable TV was a great way to get many more channels with an excellent reception to your home at a reasonable price.
The best way to watch TV without cable is probably using WiFi and a streaming media device. A streaming media player will allow you to access and navigate to many streaming media providers. If you have no Wifi, the second method is using an HD antenna. Depending on where you live selection could be very limited.
Fast forward to 2017 and the cable experience has become more expensive and quality has diminished. We now have a number of alternatives to cable TV. With the introduction of the Internet and streaming media devices. Media players have changed viewing habits vastly. Especially with younger people, that want to consume their entertainment on their own schedule on tablets and smartphones.
The majority of younger people are forgoing the cable route because they grew up with NetFlix, Youtube, and other online viewings. They don't see the value of subscribing to cable and they have no real connection or affinity towards any particular network or channel.
All they want is a good wifi connection and a subscription to a few streaming providers. Many young people just share their password with friends or “borrow it” from their parents.
Many people are looking for an alternative to cable TV. Here is the Best Way to Watch TV Without Cable guide and what to consider before you cut the cord.
Some things to consider before cutting the cord
The Bundle Dilemma
The Bundle Cable TV/Internet/Phone. Price $150 to $250 if not more for sports and movie packages. What is included in your Bundle and how much are you paying now?
Do you still want a home phone?
- If the answer is yes. Contact your local provider to see what the cost of the Internet/phone Bundle is in your area.
- If the answer is no. Consider the following.
What is the price of the Internet alone?
- You will need to stream TV at a minimum of 15mb/s for 4K streaming 25mb/s is preferred.
- Many Internet providers charge a premium for faster speeds and Internet-only packages $75 to $100 plus.
- Be aware some providers have a cap on data usage and streaming media and playing games live require a lot of data.
Note: a good router and strong Wifi signal is a must for best-streaming media quality. See Your Ultimate Router Placement Tip Guide for tips on getting the most out of your router.
If you still want to have TV here are two of the cheapest TV options out there.
- AT&T U-verse TV 300Mbps internet speed 190 channels $75 month
- Verizon Fios TV 940/880 Mbps 425 channels $79.99 month
Basic option HD Antenna
- If you are a minimalist and do not require Internet or phone. The cheapest and simplest solution is an HD Antenna.
- HD Antenna is the modern-day version of old school rabbit ears. A great option for local broadcast stations and sports.
- Good quality antenna cost less than $40 and the best part is there are no ongoing subscription fees.
- There are two types of antennas indoors and outdoors outdoor antennas usually perform better.
- Programming depends on where you are located and what is available in your area.
- The selection is limited but there is a number of channels that broadcast over air signals here are a list of some that are available See Channel selection
See Amazon HD Antenna Pricing
Streaming Media Player
A streaming media player is a device that will connect your television or home theater to the Internet and allows you to stream video and music from a number of online services. Some services are free but many are paid subscriptions.
Setting up your TV for streaming media can be inexpensive and quite an easy process. But choosing from the many streaming media devices that have flooded the market can be overwhelming. Gear Gadgets And Gizmos is here to help you with this process.
Streaming media players can start as low as $30 dollars for a basic dongle or stick, like the Amazon Fire Stick or Chromcast dongle are basic streaming media players that will get you up and running. Set-top boxes come with more features, gaming options, storage, and a remote.
A good streaming media player will cost $100 to $150. But there are many options available for under $100, especially if you keep an eye out for sales.
If you would like to watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime (30-day free trial) and much more online entertainment providers, a streaming media device is a great way to cut the cable. Not only that but you can eliminate a number of DVRs that you are presently renting monthly from the cable company. You are often paying for TVs you probably seldom use.
Don't forget you can use a gaming console like an Xbox or PS2 and use that to access streaming content. Navigation is a little more clumsy and your remote would be the gaming remote but it works.
The main selection from our research is it comes down to a few major streaming media devices, Roku, Google Chrome, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and much major gaming consoles already on the market.
What is Smart TV?
If you have a newer Smart TV you maybe already have an alternative to cable tv most TVs made in the last 5 years are often equipped with built-in apps. If your needs are minimal a smart TV is all you will need. But they do not work as smoothly or have as many options and games available as a streaming media player.
A Smart TV is a digital television that is, essentially, an Internet-connected, storage-aware computer specialized for entertainment.
Smart TVs are available as stand-alone products but regular televisions can also be made “smart” through set-top boxes that enable advanced functions.
Most TV's sold in the last two years are Smart TVs. If your needs are minimal that's all you will need.
Now that you can stream media on your TV there are a number of paid options available. What are the ongoing costs for you?
I would suggest choosing only a few Streaming Providers at a time to try out and see if you like the programming. By selecting too many options at once you may be overwhelmed by the choices and the monthly fees will equal to or more than your original cable bill with a fragment programming with different streaming providers.
- Netflix $10-12 per month
- Hula $8-12 per month
- For sports fans. Sling TV's fundamental $20 per month bundle Watch ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TNT. Sling Blue Bundle get NHL, FS1, FS2, NFL network and get 9 more games channels, including SEC Network, ESPNU, ESPNews, and beIN Sports HD, with the Sports Extra Package.
- Amazon Prime $99 year Try for 30 days for Free
- Playstation Vue Free
- Crackle Free
- Funny or Die Free
- Vevo Free
- YouTube Free
- See our Top 8 Best Streaming Video Services
- The streaming TV experience is not free. depending on your viewing requirements and how many streaming providers you sign up with the monthly fees can add up to more than original cable bill.
- If you are already paying for Netflix and watching it 75% of the time, It's probably time to cut the cable.
- A good high-speed Internet connection is required for optimum viewing.
- The cost for Internet-only service can cost a premium.
- If a home phone is required dropping cable only, does not reduce the overall bundle price significantly (Internet/Phone)
- For some, there is a learning curve to comfortably navigate and master the interface. If you yourself are or have tech-challenged older parents and if they are already struggling with the cable TV remote and you are thinking of switching over. Then the change from cable to streaming may not be a great idea if the old dog is not prepared to learn a few new tricks.
- With a good Internet connect a quality Streaming Media Device and plenty of streaming services available There are plenty of ways to get your own personalized entertainment experience and save money too.
A Streaming Media Player Can Save You Around $100 A Year
That cable TV converter box in your seldom-used guest room is costing you about
$5 to $10 monthly in rental fees. That's about $100 a year.
Streaming Media players are a one-time cost of $50 to $150. With a Streaming media device and a good WiFi signal, you can easily connect your guest room TV to view programs when needed. No ongoing box rental fees. Choose from set-top players or simply just a media stick. See what streaming media is all about.
- See all our Streaming Media Player Reviews