Streaming 101: How To Watch TV Without Paying For Cable


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I’m guessing we all like watching cable TV, but we probably don’t love paying for it. Some people I know pay around $200 per month on cable—yet they just watch the same few channels anyway!

But now we’ll tell you how to watch TV without spending money on cable, because it is possible. Some people call it “cord-cutting,” and all you need to do is quit cable for online streaming—and you’ll soon see the savings. Plus, with all the devices you can watch streamed TV shows and movies on these days, why not try it out?

1. Netflix

You’re probably familiar with Netflix already, but we still want to make sure it gets mentioned here. For just $7.99 per month, you’ll have the Basic plan and can stream everything from Netflix original series and specials to movies and old favorite TV shows. For $9.99, you’ll have the Standard plan and can use Netflix on two different screens at once, meaning you and another person can share the plan. Want more? For $11.99 per month, you’ll have a Premium plan and can watch on four different screens—you and three others. Plus, if you don’t already have it, you can try Netflix free for a month and cancel anytime (but you probably won’t want to, trust us!). And don’t forget to check out Netflix’s secret movie categories, too!


2. Amazon Prime

Just like you can share a Netflix account, you can do the same with Amazon Prime. With the price of an Amazon Prime membership at $99 per year now, think about splitting it to save. For instance, two adults (and four children) in the same household can share an Amazon Prime account through Amazon Household. Though you may not see this advertised, it’s true—and it works. You not only save money, but everyone does. How can it get any better? Well, if you want to try Amazon Prime for a month, you can do so for free. Given all the other perks of an Amazon Prime account, we’re in!


3. Hulu Plus

You may wonder what Hulu Plus is, and we’re here to tell you. In case you missed it, it allows you to watch TV on demand. Sometimes, a network’s website will make you wait a certain number of days or only have episodes available a certain number of days. So, enter Hulu Plus—for just $7.99 a month. You can also pay $11.99 per month if you don’t want any commercials. You can try a week for free and cancel anytime. Some people have found a way to get a month or more for free, but we bet you’ll be hooked after the one-week trial.


4. Sling TV

You may hear about people getting Sling TV lately, and with good reason. Starting at $20 per month, the live TV package offers more than 30 channels—HGTV, anyone? But there’s also the Disney Channel for the kids and ESPN for your sports-loving partner. If it sounds like cable, you’re right—even though it’s not. It’s a combo of live TV and on-demand offerings. There’s a Sling Orange package, the $20 per month one, as well as a Sling Blue one, which is $25 per month. Each has their own set of channels, so if you want both, pay $40 per month and case closed—with more shows to watch than you’ll probably know what to do with. Like other streaming services, with Sling TV, you can try out a month first—for free—and cancel anytime if you feel you’re more a Hulu Plus kind of person.



Yep, now DIRECT TV is in on the streaming game, too, with DIRECTV NOW. With it, you’ll get live television or on-demand programming—for two different devices. You can choose from four different packages, ranging in price from $35-70 a month. Intrigued? You can sign up for a free one-week trial. And, as with the others mentioned, you can cancel anytime.


6. HBO Now

Okay, if you like the idea of no cable, but are wondering, “What about HBO?” this streaming service has you covered. For instance, your friends all might be talking about HBO shows like “Insecure” and “Divorce,” but you don’t want to hear another word until you can watch for yourself. With HBO Now, problem solved. Or, you can use it to watch other favorites (read: “Game of Thrones”). And the price sounds right, $14.99 per month. Also, feel free to try it for no cost for the first month, and cancel anytime if you realize it’s not your thing. But what about HBO GO, you may wonder? That’s only if you have a cable subscription (which you may not have much longer).


All in all, we’re now more convinced than ever that cable’s not necessary when there are so many streaming options available these days, especially given that we can try them for free. Of course, if you love having cable and truly feel you’re getting your money’s worth, that’s another story. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some TV-streaming and binge-watching to do.

[h/t Digital Trends]

About the Author

Natalia Lusinski

In addition to Don't Waste Your Money, Natalia is an ongoing writer for Bustle (sex, dating, relationships, and money), HelloGiggles (pop culture and news), Simplemost (lifestyle topics), and The Delite (feel-good stories). You can also find her writing in the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune's RedEye, xoJane, Elite Daily, Scary Mommy, Elephant Journal, and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, among other publications. She has a Ph.D. in couch-surfing, having spent four years sleeping on over 200 L.A.-area love seats and sectionals, all in an effort to whittle down her student loan debt. She still loves couch-surfing in other cities, too (hint, hint). More.

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