Your Guide to Cable Alternatives
ow do you watch TV? It seems obvious, but with so many streaming services at your fingertips, it is very confusing to thumb through all the TV apps to see what new show catches your eye.
Are you a cord-cutter? More households are cutting their cable to find more affordable alternatives. With cable companies seeing a decline in new and current customers, many new streaming services have launched to take advantage of the entertainment business while offering cheaper options.
With so many choices, having too many streaming services almost defeats the purpose of cutting your cable service. Below, we explore the most popular video streaming services to help you get the most bang for your buck while ensuring you have the latest content on-demand.
Last week, we witnessed another streaming app come to the frontlines. With the plethora of choices to watch videos from YouTube to Amazon Prime, Disney observed its new Disney Plus app downloads to reach 3.2 million on its launch day.
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In this article, you will explore several online options to help you become a better consumer in saving money and potentially cutting a few expenses along the way.
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Here are several cable TV alternatives.
Do you currently have Hulu? If not, it is a serious competitor to many of the online streaming services available. With several options fitting the budget of every household, it is one of the most popular services being offered in the market.
You may have heard about possible price increases for Hulu. Their current basic plan will remain at $5.99/mo while you can upgrade to Hulu (no ads) for $11.99/mo.
It is their Hulu + Live TV that will receive the price increase from $44.99/mo to $54.99/mo starting December 18, 2019.
Their ad-free + Live TV will increase by $10 also from $50.99/mo to $60.99/mo.
As of the writing of this article, you can try Hulu for free! They are offering two packages to try for a month at no cost.
You can choose either their most popular package that has ads for $5.99/mo after the monthly free trial or choose the no-ads plan for $11.99/mo after the monthly free trial.
So why is this important and flooding the news? It reflects the real possibility of Disney Plus being a top contender compared to Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, etc.
On the official launch day for Netlfix, Apptopia estimated its app was downloaded 662,000 times globally within 24 hours.
That's roughly a fraction of the downloads Disney experienced, which was mostly downloaded in the U.S. 89% is the rough estimate.
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2. Disney Plus
What is the Cost of Disney+
Currently, you can start streaming today by taking advantage of a 7-day free trial. Disney makes it easy where you can try it, and then cancel if it isn't something that interests you or can't find relevant shows to peak your interest.
Should you decide to keep the streaming service, you have a few options. You can subscribe for $6.99 a month, which affords you access to movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and shows from National Geographic.
For $12.99 a month, you will gain access to those mentioned above, plus Hulu and ESPN+.
Is Disney+ Worth the Money
We've seen all streaming services lock in consumers into a rate to only increase the price later. It's inevitable. However, the value you derive from using Disney+ will depend on the entertainment you enjoy. Does your family enjoy Disney movies? Are they Marvel fans?
You might be asking, "How many people can watch or how many devices can use Disney Plus?". Currently, their services allow you to "stream on 4 devices at once or download your favorites to watch later."
This service is excellent for families who are looking to enjoy a movie night at home or during road trips, flying on airlines, and lounging around the hotel room when traveling. Because it is a streaming service, you can watch Disney+ on your computer, tablet, phone, PS4, or Xbox One, most TVs such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and more.
How to Get Disney+ for Free
Perhaps you don't want to pay for another streaming service but looking to switch cell phone providers. If that's the case, Verizon is offering 12 months of Disney+ for free in its Unlimited plans.
However, it is essential to note that the free service includes only Disney+ and does not include Hulu or ESPN+ as seen in the $12.99 package.
While this package isn't for everyone, if you were already considering making the switch to Verizon, it may be worthwhile to consider getting something for free in return.
Otherwise, I do not recommend switching services just for Disney+ as $6.99 per month totals to $83.88, and potentially you may have to come out of pocket more than that when switching cell services.
If you're currently an existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customer of Verizon, the service may already be available to you at no cost over the next 12 months.
"Verizon chief Hans Vertberg added, 'Giving Verizon customers an unprecedented offer and access to Disney Plus on the platform of their choice is yet another example of our commitment to provide the best premium content available through key partnerships on behalf of our customers.'"
Many households are current Netflix subscribers for its vast amount of shows and movies available, and because it is affordable starting at $12 per month.
With your favorite shows from Witcher to its new series, Lost in Space, this online entertainment online streaming service firm has stepped in to the movie creation business and it has been well received by viewers.
Is Netflix Raising Prices Again
If you're like most households, you already experienced the price increase from your Netflix subscription. Personally, my Netflix account jumped from $10.99 to $12.99 this year.
The company has stayed consistent with price increases approximately every two years. When it first launched, their streaming service was $8/mo.
By April 2014, they offered three packages ranging from $8 (basic) - $12 (premium).
Since it's streaming launch, their standard and premium packages increase by roughly $2 every two years. So it is improbable to see a price increase within the next 12 months.
Free trial? You bet! Like the other providers mentioned above, you can watch Netflix for free for a month, and they will send you a reminder within three days before your trial ends.
Their three packages can be found here.
4. Amazon Prime Video
Haven't they conquered enough? From books to groceries, most households are very well aware of the streaming service offered by Amazon. If you live in large metro areas, you've likely seen the Amazon Prime Advertising for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.
According to PCMag.com, "An Amazon Video subscription costs $8.99 per month and only includes access to Amazon's streaming video library. An Amazon Prime account, which includes Prime Video content and a ton of other shipping and shopping perks, costs $12.99 per month (or $119 per year)."
5. Apple TV
Should I Get Apple TV
For $4.99/mo after a 7-day free trial, Apple TV delivers an all-in-one platform to consolidate the numerous streaming apps. Apple has even pride it's Apple TV page "All your TV. All in one app."
In the subscription, Apple has launched its line of tv programs. If you own an Apple product, it's very likely the app is already downloaded to your device.
If you own an Apple TV device, the company offers several Free Series Premieres that can be watched without a subscription.
Want Free Access to Apple TV+
By subscribing to the Apple Music Student Plan, the service gives you free access to Apple TV+. The service is only for college students and requires verification, but if you have a college student in your home, the service can be purchased for $9.99/month after the free trial. It's for a limited only.
6. Digital Antenna
Remember the aluminum foil wrapped tipped rabbit ears? If you're a baby boomer or Gen Y, you may. Walk into an elderly home and you are likely to see these items still lurking over TV sets.
Fortunately, technology has drastically improved from a dual-pronged rods into a sleek flat board-like plate, and digital antennas are far more superior than its counterpart.
While you might think nobody uses a digital antenna, you might be surprised. These are more common than ever as households in rural areas and cities use these instruments to pick up local channels.
For a one-time purchase, there is no monthly contracts, and there are no monthly bills. You pay for the antenna once, set it up, and then watch the channels in a digital format. Goodby ants fighting in a snow storm.
When my kids and I go camping, we will pack up our digital antenna like this one. As an indoor one sitting behind our TV, it is sleek, and a must have on our packing list.
From $20-$30, you can watch all of the local channels plus some metro areas will include extra channels at no cost.
With several packages starting at $20 for your first month, you will have no required committments, easy access to cancel at anytime, and have the ability to choose add on services such as DVR capability and premium channels.
Add-on services include DVR for $5 mo, Sports Channels from $10 mo, Comedy $5 mo, Kid Channels such as Disney Jr and Nick Jr for $5 mo., this package is perfect if you are looking to customize your own TV streaming services. You can finally pay for what you enjoy watching.
Premium channels such as Showtime, Starz, Epix will cost you $5 for your first month, and then $9-$10 per month afterwards.
Which TV Streaming Service is the Best
One pro of the internet is the ability to have so many options that competition is forced to slash prices. The best streaming service depends on each person and is subjective.
If you are looking for a low-cost option with many channel options to choose from, then I believe the options highlighted above will suit your fancy. If you are looking for cable service replacement, consider looking into YoutTube TV, Sling TV, AT&T Now, or Hulu Live.
These services will run from approximately $20-$60 per month, depending on added services you select. To assist you in picking the right TV streaming service if you are on the fence about cutting your cable, then check out the review by CNet.com's "Best Live TV Streaming Services for Cord Cutters in 2019".