6 Streaming Channels that are Better and Cheaper than Cable TV

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Do you love TV, but hate getting that giant cable or satellite bill in the mail every month? Then call your cable provider and break up with them, because you’re about to find somebody else.

In this post I will dive into 6 different streaming apps and discuss their pros, cons and costs. If you are looking for a discussion on which streaming devices you can use to get access to these apps, check out my post What to Use to Replace Your Cable or Satellite TV: 5 Platform Options that Save Money.

This post contains affiliate links, read the full disclosure here.

Netflix

Netflix is one of the most popular streaming channels available. They offer TV shows and movies in the thousands.

  • Cost: $7.99-11.99
  • What to love: Parental controls and separate accounts for each family member- including kid-friendly titles only profiles. As you rate different titles, Netflix can get smarter about your preferences and give you recommendations.
  • Availability: Virtually everywhere streaming channels and internet is available
  • Free Trial Period: 30 days
  • Best For: Binge-watching whole seasons and discovering hidden gems

Sign up now for a 30 day fee trial of Netflix

Hulu

Hulu also offers many titles reaching in the thousands, and stands above the competition with how current it is. New TV episodes are added daily, including brand new pilots and recurring favorite seasons. For most current titles, new episodes become available to stream the day after they air on cable.

When you find a show you like, hover over the show’s photo icon, then click the + sign in the bottom right corner to add it to your watchlist. Now, when there is a new episode it will show up on your Hulu home page so you can always find the latest content.

  • Cost: $7.99, with a commercial free upgrade for $4 (totally worth it, IMO) and a SHOWTIME premium access upgrade for an additional $8.99
  • What to love: Exclusive full series of shows, currently including all the episodes of Curious George and Seinfeld. Plus current seasons of popular shows like Last Man on Earth, SNL, The Goldbergs, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • Availability: Virtually everywhere streaming channels and internet is available
  • Free Trial Period: 2 weeks
  • Best For: Staying current with your favorite TV shows

Sign up now for a 2 week free trial of Hulu

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime membership costs $99 a year (or 50% off for students) and it comes with a TON of amazing benefits. Free 2-day shipping, Unlimited Photo Storage, Amazon Family with 20% off diapers, Kindle Owner’s lending library, free audio content on Audible Channels, and more. And of course: Amazon Prime Video. They have thousands of titles in TV and movies, including original content.

In addition to the Prime library, they also have new releases to rent and buy- which is handy when you want to stream the most current new releases from home. Amazon also offers subscriptions to current TV shows. This is a huge plus because there are some shows that are hard to find on other apps- like AMC’s The Walking Dead and CBS’s The Big Bang Theory.

If you can’t find your favorite titles anywhere else- you still don’t have to miss out! They aren’t free with Prime, but you can download the app and make purchases without a prime membership. If it’s between paying $100 a month for a special cable package to watch your show, or shelling out a mere $30 a season (and then OWNING the season forever on your Amazon account), which would you choose? When you buy a subscription to a show on Amazon, it will become available in your library the day after it airs- so just be sure to stay off Facebook to avoid spoilers. :0

  • Cost: $99/year ($8.25/month) for the yearly plan, or $10/month on the monthly plan. (50% discount for students)
  • What to love: Prime library, availability of new release movies and subscriptions to hard to find shows, premium channel upgrades
  • Availability: Virtually everywhere streaming channels and internet is available
  • Free Trial Period: 30 days, or 6 months for Students
  • Best For: Binge-watching, and favorite hard to find shows.

Sign up now for a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime, or a 6 month trial for Amazon Prime Student

Add a free trial premium subscription to your Prime account(SHOWTIME, STARZ, etc)

Sling

Sling offers live streaming access to over 150 channels chosen a la carte. Choose from options like ESPN, AMC, HGTV, TNT, Food Network, ABC Family, and more.

  • Cost: starting at $20/month
  • What to Love: Great option for those who want to cut cable without feeling out of the loop by the delay of typical streaming channels. Plus, you only pay for the channels you want to watch and they offer add on packages like Kids and Spanish channels for low prices.
  • Availability: Available on most streaming platforms. Not currently available on TiVo devices.
  • Free Trial Period: 7 Days
  • Best For: Live streaming, including sports and news

Sign up now for a free 7 day trial to Sling

VidAngel

Their tagline pretty much speaks for itself: Watch Movies However the BLEEP You Want. VidAngel is a newer company with a mission to give families the power to filter violence, language, nudity, and other questionable content out of what they watch.

When VidAngel first came to the scene, they were offering content from Hollywood and Disney and are now in a legal battle with them and have had to take down that content for the time being, but fingers crossed, it will hopefully be back and running soon- because it was my favorite way to watch new release movies with my family.

They are currently offering their own exclusive family friendly content, like Dry bar Comedy.

  • Cost: Buy in for $20, after refunds movies are $1 to watch and HD movies are $2
  • What to love: Current offerings of clean comedy and exclusive content
  • Availability: Smart Phones, Apple TV, Chromecast, FireTV, Laptop/Desktop, Roku, and some Smart TVs
  • Free Trial Period: None
  • Best For: Filtered family-friendly content and low cost new release rentals (when available)

Check out VidAngel’s Current Family Friendly content

YouTube

There is definitely something for everyone on Youtube. From original comedies, talk shows, and how-to videos to exercise videos and music. It is dang entertaining, but it takes some time to sift through and find something that you really love.

  • Cost: FREE
  • What to love: A variety of content on any topic. Being able to subscribe to your favorite channels and keep current on what you love to watch most.
  • Availability: Virtually everywhere streaming channels and internet is available
  • Free Trial Period: N/A
  • Best For: Short music, exercise, humor, and how-to videos

Check out this list of 10 YouTube Channels for Moms (lots of funny stuff!)

Or 60 YouTube Channels that Will Make You Smarter

 

Looking to cut cable? Try the 6 free and cheap online alternatives like netflix, sling, hulu, amazon, and more.

Each streaming channel has their own pros and cons, and they each have a different selection of content.

So how can you choose which one to break up with cable for?

By wining and dining with them all!

Take advantage of free trial periods, and then- just like dating- narrow it down to the one that fits your lifestyle and budget best.

For my family we use a combination of Hulu and Amazon prime. My husband and I love the shows on Hulu and we watch our favorites every week while we fold laundry together (so romantic!). My kids LOVE Amazon Prime video, they have tons of great cartoons, including their super cute original series Tumble Leaf.

During the summer when our favorite shows aren’t airing, we put our Hulu subscription on hold (easy to do in your account settings). This not only saves us money for a couple months, it’s even more of a reason to get out and have some family fun.

What are your favorite streaming channels?

If you are looking for information about which streaming device you should use so you can download all these great streaming apps, check out What to Use to Replace Your Cable or Satellite TV: 5 Platform Options that Save Money.

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