Giving up cable -- what's the best replacement option?

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about this lately, and I wonder if there’s a way for my family to follow suit.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has let go of cable for a cheaper alternative – specifically, the logistics of exactly what you replaced it with and how much it costs / how much you saved.

We only watch cable for two things:

  1. Nightly news
  2. Weekend soccer matches featuring UK teams

We pay a crazy amount just to get these weekend soccer matches. We’ve kept it as a luxury because it keeps my husband feeling connected to his home (he’s British and we live in Florida).

We also use Amazon Prime for the occasional TV series or movie.

Thanks for sharing how you do it!

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DirectTV Now is an awesome alternative. Recently, they featured a deal where if you prepaid for six months, you received a free Apple TV 4k. The plans are very simple to understand. The streaming works well, but you may have to upgrade your internet speed.


@alexis.grant In the same boat! I’ve been looking at Sling TV - going to give it a whirl in Jan! They have upgrade packages for sports and also a cloud DVR option!

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I cut cable out about 5 - 6 years ago and never looked back. My favorite service is Netflix and with its current run of original content, it provides a ton of entertainment for roughly $11 a month. In addition, I share a spotify account with my girlfriend and because she’s a student, we get access to Hulu. That is $5 a month. Lastly, I rounded my it all out with amazon prime video, which is $119 a year or $10 a month.

My total entertainment cost is $26 a month which is far below any cable package.

If your husband is really adamant about soccer and such, check out Youtube TV. It is $40 a month and you get 60 channels. That may seem limiting but you won’t need a cable box attached to your tv and unlimited DVR and can cancel any time

Hope that helps!


Hi… Welcome to the Community!

My wife and I have reduced our cable “bundle” from the bill-us-all-you-can package down to internet only, from around $180 per month down to $55 (including home phone VOIP service) with zero regrets and less than zero loss of quality programming because we now have more options… what to watch and when to watch is completely up to us. That $125 of savings has found much better uses elsewhere in our budget.

First of all, I cannot thank you enough for the information you provided that most people fail to give… what you are looking for!

Nightly News: This should be an option, depending on your area, that will reduce your cost to zero by replacing your cable providers cable with a high definition antenna. When you think of the money you will save each month, I would suggest the best antenna range that you can get. Groupon has a deal going for amplified HDTV indoor antennas with 50, 60 or 65 mile ranges from $13.99 (take that, Amazon!!!). You can also consider outdoor antennas as well.

Sports Streaming Options: I will provide options and alternatives that I am aware of in a forthcoming comment on its own a little bit later on. I am not a sports fan to have input off the top of my head. Stay tuned. I hope to write a concise comment of its own about sports, the most common question asked of me, for you and others interested in this very topic.

NOTE: You WILL have several options but what is “best” for you may or may not work for anyone else and may or may not be dependent on your location, devices and/or “must-haves.”

Alexis: I am researching the options that you have for Soccer (UK) in order to provide you with a more concise response to your specific needs. Can you tell me what channels you are currently accessing that give your husband the games that he’s most interested in? I don’t want to research three hundred UK based cable subscription channels in an effort to reinvent the wheel when you two already have the answers that I need to save us both time and trouble. /rayt

We dumped cable 4 years ago when we moved.
Now we pay for amazon prime $5 a month hulu
$12 and netflix free because 1 of our kids have
it plus wwe for hubby $10 than our internet $30
a month. So $55 a month.

Sling isn’t to bad Husband didn’t like it. There all so
pluto i think is the name and its free. youtube has
free movies that you can watch to. I can’t think of
any others but if i do I’ll let you know

Update: Sharing this here gave me a kick to do something about it!

The channel we need – and pretty much the ONLY channel we need – is NBCSN, NBC Sports Network.

I did some research last week and it looked like Hulu offered it, so I signed up for a free trial… but then couldn’t find the channel, and a chat with customer service helped me figure out the channel isn’t available through Hulu in my area.

Going to try a new alternative this week!

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@alexis.grant I use YoutubeTV, Hulu, and Netflix for about $60 a month. YoutubeTV has NBCSN its GREAT, so glad to be off cable. Works on everything except Amazon Firestick. Frontier also has $40/mon internet for 2 years going on now so my whole bill is around $100

Hi Alexis—We are also in the process of ditching cable. I’m a bit of a researcher when it comes to these things so I’m happy to share a little bit of what I’ve learned so far…

  1. If you have more than one TV in your house, you need a plan for each TV, depending on how you use it and it’s age. For example, we have a smart TV in the main living area and a “not smart” TV in the bedroom. We’ll probably go with an HD antenna for network channels (news, etc) plus a streaming box (Roku) with a service like Hulu or sling for the main living area and an antenna only for the bedroom (since we mainly use it to watch the news). This strategy involves some initial cash outlay for each TV bc you have to buy an antenna for each and a streaming box for each (if you opt for one) but you’ll make up the cost quickly once you give up cable.

  2. You’ll probably want a streaming service for the sports (we’re in the same boat—sports are very important in our house). Consumer expert Clark Howard has a nice comparison of the different services on his website along with lots of other info. Visit them at Look fir the section on cutting cable

  3. Most experts agree that you’ll want a streaming device like Roku even if you have a smart TV. The user interface is better than just going thru your TV. There are different options depending on what kind of TV you have and what you need.

  4. Steel yourself when you call the cable company. They will try like hell to get you to stay. You have to be very good at saying NO!

I have to admit I thought this process was a bit overwhelming at first, which is why I put it off for so long. However, after a little reading and talking to others who have done this, it seems very doable. Good luck and happy saving!

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If you’re a little tech savy, you can build an UNRAID media server out of an old PC. Then join a Usenet service for $10-20/month. Setup PlexServer and Sonar(simple through the UNRAID Docker service) on the media server and download the TV programs that you want to watch from Usenet via Sonar. There are many video tutorials on YouTube on how to do this.

If you are a TV junkie and watch many programs daily this might not work well for you, but if you only like a few shows a week or like to binge watch them it works great.

A media server works great especially if you combine it with putting an antenna up on the roof for local news and the occasional live TV show over the air.

Does Hulu provide the Fox Sports channels (FS1 and FS2 I believe)? It’s for fox what NBC Sports is to NBC, and CBS Sports is to CBS.

If I’m not mistaken there’s a BRITBox streaming service available in the US now. I assume that even if you are subscribed to Hulu you can still pay the minimal subscription fee for BRITBox if it’s available as a separate add on service for ROKU, not necessarily for Hulu itself. I don’t know if the FOX sports services are free or not, but CBS in monetizing the hell out of their streaming services so they probably charge for their sports channels too.

Some of the streaming players allow you to install any one of their recognized by their underlying OS (Play for Google, Installer for Windows, etc.). It then becomes a simple matter of either a)Add-ons for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or b)You can install the streamer directly on your player, which then leaves you with figuring out what combination saves you the most.

Another thing to keep in mind are the subscription prices as well of the big three. They also have different subscription levels available because of their capabilities, not just to grab more money. Hulu and Netflix are best known for this.

Hulu offered 3 levels of service, based on the number and type of streams you want to receive. The cheapest level gave you 2 streams of HD signal quality and 2 of SD Signal. The next level was then 4 HD signal plus lack of commercials, the 4 HD signals mattered the most to me, but I have friends that would have paid the extra couple bucks to forgo the commercials. If you had a UHD version of your player you may not the UHD version of Hulu, Netflix or Amazon installed, just that the player will up convert to UHD, not that it PLAYS in UHD (4K or 4K HDR).

The same holds for Netflix and Amazon. Amazon gives you whatever the players installed can manage, either SD, HD or UHD.

Netflix needs the upgraded subscriptions in order for Netflix 4K to even work.

Now that this has been has been dissimulated there are a other things to keep in mind:

A) How many HD TVS do you have and are your Streaming services installed (Netflix, Amazon Videos, Hulu, etc.)

B) How many UHD (4K) TVS do you have and are your Streaming services installed (Netflix, Amazon Videos, Hulu, etc.)

4K takes approximately 4 times the bandwidth to broadcast a signal compared to an HD signal. Why does this matter you wonder ? Did you get that entry level internet package that costed you almost nothing ($10-$30 service) ? Did they give you the Mbps speed of this service and tell you you should never need more than 10 or 15 Mbps are more than sufficient to run an average family’s internet services so you’ll be fine. It won’t be.

Did they give you that free Wi-Fi router/modem combination so now you don’t have to pay for Wi-Fi either ? You will.

If you have no cable and the OTA channels will only suffice if you have your TV on but you are primarily concentrating on other things. If you concentrate on what’s on right now BESIDES OTA, you will then start streaming…Why is this wireless signal keep saying it’s BUFFERING ? Let’s try the second tv. Maybe the first was a bad connection. NOPE ! The buffering has gotten worse and Johnny’s computer screen has just frozen up.

I’ll continue this a little later, if you wish, or you can figure out without my help just how much this is really going to cost…

This is just off the top of my head so a little research might still be in order.

Wanted to share an update because we found a solution that worked for us – we can get (and record!) NBC Nightly News and soccer on NBCSC. We got a Roku (one-time fee of $29) and a YouTubeTV subscription ($39/month). Moved our cable/Internet package to just Internet, for a total savings of $70/month. Thanks for all the ideas here in this thread!

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