Welcome to the future of television where you have the freedom to choose what you watch, how you watch it, and how much you pay for it. We’re diving deep into the world of cable TV alternatives, bringing to light options that offer you both live TV and on-demand content, without the traditional cable woes.
From streaming giants like YouTube TV to specialized services for sports aficionados, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a movie buff, a news junkie, or someone who just wants the basics without the extra fluff, there’s a cable alternative out there tailored just for you.
So why stick with the old when you can embrace the new? Join us as we explore the best cable TV alternatives that will not only entertain you but also save you money. Let’s cut the cord and venture into a world of endless possibilities!
Best Alternatives to Cable TV
Ready to break free from the traditional cable TV model? You’re in the right place. In this section, we’ll dissect the two major categories of cable TV alternatives: Streaming Options and Satellite TV. Each offers a unique set of features, pricing models, and viewing experiences, and understanding the nuances of each can help you make an informed decision.
First, we’ll delve into the rapidly evolving world of streaming services, where you can customize your viewing package down to the last channel. Then, we’ll shift our focus to Satellite TV, a tried-and-true alternative that offers a different flavor of flexibility and channel variety.
Let’s dive in!
If you’re looking for a robust Cable TV Alternative, DIRECTV Stream is a contender worth considering. With a variety of plans and a focus on live TV, this service offers a comprehensive solution for those eager to cut the cord.
Plans & Pricing
DIRECTV Stream offers four main plans:
Entertainment Package: Priced at $69.99 per month, this is the most basic plan. It includes local broadcast affiliates like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, along with news channels such as CNBC, CNN, and FOX News. Sports channels like FS1, ESPN, and NBC Sports Network are also part of the package. However, it doesn’t include regional sports networks (RSNs).
- Choice Plan: At $89.99 per month, this plan expands the channel selection to roughly 90 channels, including additional sports networks like ACC, ESPNews, and NBA TV. It also includes RSNs, making it a good choice for sports fans.
- Ultimate Plan: For $104.99 per month, you get up to 130 channels, including additional ones like BBC World News, CBS Sports Network, and Golf Channel.
- Premier Plan: The most comprehensive package costs $149.99 per month and includes premium channels like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz.
From news and sports to entertainment and lifestyle, DIRECTV Stream offers a wide range of channels. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast looking to catch the latest MLB or NBA game, or a movie buff interested in premium channels, there’s something for everyone.
The web interface of DIRECTV Stream is straightforward, albeit less flashy than competitors. It’s easy to navigate and offers a stable streaming experience. However, the service could improve by adding features like a dark mode for better viewing in low light conditions.
It’s worth noting that DIRECTV Stream is one of the few services that offer RSNs from all three major networks: AT&T, Comcast, and Sinclair. This makes it a strong choice for sports fans. However, the service is relatively expensive compared to other streaming options like Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV, which start at $64.99 per month.
Sling TV is a budget-friendly streaming service that offers a la carte channel packages. It’s a great cable TV alternative, especially for those who want to customize their viewing experience without breaking the bank.
Plans & Pricing
Sling TV offers two main plans:
- Sling Orange: Priced at $35 per month, this plan includes 30+ channels like ESPN, CNN, and Disney Channel.
- Sling Blue: Also priced at $35 per month, this plan offers 45+ channels including FOX, NBC, and USA Network.
You can also combine both plans for $50 per month. Additionally, Sling TV offers various add-on packages for sports, news, and entertainment, starting at $5 per month.
Sling TV’s channel lineup is diverse, covering news, sports, and entertainment. However, it lacks some local channels and premium networks, which are available as add-ons.
The user interface is intuitive but could benefit from some modernization. The service offers features like Cloud DVR and multi-stream viewing, although these come at an additional cost.
YouTube TV is a comprehensive streaming service that offers a wide range of live TV channels. It’s known for its robust DVR features and high-quality streaming.
Plans & Pricing
YouTube TV offers a single plan priced at $64.99 per month, which includes 85+ channels. They also offer a 4K Plus add-on for an additional $19.99 per month, which brings 4K streaming and offline viewing.
The service covers a broad spectrum of channels, including news, sports, and entertainment. However, it has limited regional sports network (RSN) coverage.
YouTube TV offers a seamless streaming experience with support for up to 1080p/60fps. The interface is well-designed and easy to navigate. One unique feature is the multi-view, which allows you to watch up to four streams at once.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV is a premium streaming service that combines Hulu’s extensive on-demand library with more than 75 live channels. What sets it apart is its inclusion of Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, making it a comprehensive entertainment package.
Plans & Pricing
Hulu + Live TV comes in at about $70 per month. While this may seem steep, it’s worth noting that the package includes Hulu’s on-demand service, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus, which would cost around $13 if subscribed to separately. This makes it a slightly cheaper alternative to YouTube TV, which recently increased its price to $73 per month.
The channel lineup is solid, covering a range of live sports, news, and local channels. However, it lacks some popular channels like AMC and BBC America, which are available on other services like YouTube TV. On the flip side, Hulu does offer channels like the History Channel, Lifetime, and A&E, which are not available on YouTube TV.
Hulu has been continually refining its user interface, and the latest updates have made it even more user-friendly. The program guide is traditional and offers data up to 14 days out, making it easy to plan your viewing schedule. The service also includes a cloud DVR and program guide, making it a well-rounded option for those looking to cut the cord.
Fubo TV is a streaming service that caters primarily to sports enthusiasts but also offers a variety of news and entertainment channels. As a cable TV alternative, it comes at top-tier option for cord-cutters who don’t want to miss out on live sports, news, or prime-time shows.
Plans & Pricing
Fubo TV has undergone some changes in its pricing structure. The most affordable plan is now the Pro plan, priced at $74.99 per month. This plan includes approximately 150 channels, depending on your location, and comes with 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR storage and the ability to stream on up to 10 devices simultaneously at home. The Elite plan is priced at $84.99 per month and includes about 219 channels in total. For Spanish-speaking audiences, Fubo offers a Latino plan for $32.99 per month with around 50 channels.
Fubo TV shines in its sports channel lineup, offering a mix of local, national, and international sports channels. It includes channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and many more. Fubo TV also recently added Bally Sports RSNs, which is great news for sports fans who follow MLB, NBA, and NHL teams. However, it lacks some channels owned by A&E and Turner.
The web interface of Fubo TV is clean, compact, and user-friendly. It’s organized into various sections like Home, Sports, Shows, Movies, Guide, and Recordings, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. The service is available on various platforms, including Android and iOS devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku.
DIRECTV is a satellite TV service that offers a traditional TV experience with a plethora of channels, including premium ones like HBO and SHOWTIME. It’s a solid choice for families, movie buffs, and sports enthusiasts alike. However, it does come with a two-year contract, so it’s essential to consider this commitment.
Plans & Pricing
DIRECTV offers a range of plans to suit various needs and budgets:
- ENTERTAINMENT All-Included: Priced at $64.99 per month, this plan offers over 165 channels.
- CHOICE™ All-Included: Costs $84.99 per month for 24 months plus taxes and fees, and includes over 200 channels.
- ULTIMATE All-Included: Priced at $109.99 per month for 24 months plus taxes and fees, this plan offers over 270 channels.
- PREMIER™ All-Included: The most comprehensive package, priced at $154.99 per month for 24 months plus taxes and fees, includes over 340 channels.
DIRECTV offers a wide array of channels, from news and sports to entertainment. The ENTERTAINMENT plan includes popular channels like Disney Channel, HGTV, and CNN. The CHOICE package is more sports-oriented, including NFL Network and ESPN College Extra. The ULTIMATE package is ideal for movie lovers, offering channels like ENCORE Action and ENCORE Drama. The PREMIER package is the most extensive, including 45+ premium channels like Max, Cinemax, STARZ, and SHOWTIME.
DIRECTV provides free installation and DVR service. The Genie DVR offers up to 200 HD hours of storage, allowing you to record five programs simultaneously. The service also offers an app, enabling you to take your DVR recordings on-the-go.
DISH Network is another significant player in the satellite TV arena, offering a robust channel lineup and one of the industry’s best DVRs, the Hopper. What sets DISH apart is its flexible contract options, allowing you to choose between a two-year commitment for lower monthly bills or a contract-free plan for more freedom.
Plans & Pricing
DISH Network offers three main packages:
- America’s Top 120: Priced at $79.99 per month, this plan includes around 190 channels.
- America’s Top 200: Costs $99.99 per month and offers more than 240 channels.
- America’s Top 250: Priced at $109.99 per month, this package includes over 290 channels.
All plans require a 2-year commitment with early termination fees and include your local networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.
DISH Network provides a wide range of channels, including sports networks like ESPN, Disney Channel, HGTV, and Food Network. The America’s Top 200 package is particularly good for sports fans, offering channels like CBS Sports Network, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network.
DISH Network offers free installation and DVR service for up to six rooms. The Hopper DVR provides various storage options, ranging from 125 HD hours to 2,000 HD hours, depending on the model you choose. The service also offers on-demand content, similar to Netflix, with nearly 30,000 movies and TV shows available for your viewing pleasure.
Final Verdict: Which Cable TV Alternative Should You Pick
The landscape of television is changing, and Cable TV Alternatives are at the forefront of this revolution. Whether you’re a sports fanatic, a movie buff, or someone who just wants to keep up with the latest news, there’s an alternative out there tailored for you.
Streaming services like DIRECTV Stream, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and Fubo TV offer a plethora of channels, customizable plans, and user-friendly interfaces. They give you the freedom to watch what you want, when you want, without the need for a long-term contract. Satellite TV options like DIRECTV and DISH Network provide a more traditional TV experience but with the flexibility of various plans and the added benefit of extensive channel lineups.
So, which of these Cable TV Alternatives should you pick? The answer depends on your viewing habits, the channels you can’t live without, and your budget. If you’re a sports enthusiast, Fubo TV and DISH Network’s America’s Top 200 package are excellent choices. For a balanced mix of entertainment and news, Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV Stream offer compelling options. And if you’re looking for a budget-friendly, no-contract service, Sling TV is worth considering.
In the end, the best Cable TV Alternative for you is the one that aligns most closely with your lifestyle and viewing preferences. So go ahead, cut that cord and dive into a world of endless entertainment possibilities.