Are you thinking about cutting the cord? You’re not the only one.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, the percentage of Americans who watch TV through cable or satellite service dropped from 76% in 2015 to 56% in 2021. According to the survey, they cite a variety of reasons for this: high monthly costs, access to everything online and not watching much TV anymore.
Streaming services have filled the gap left by cord-cutting as cord-cutting has gained popularity. From channels and programming to how you watch and pricing, each offers a slightly different viewing experience. But, to help narrow down your decision, and save some money, here are 23 of the best alternatives to cable TV in 2023.
1. Sling TV
Because Sling TV’s lower price and customizable nature align with cutting the cord, it is arguably one of the most popular cable TV alternatives.
With Sling TV, you’ll also get ESPN, FOX, and NBC for $40 a month after a recent price increase. However, their first month is currently half-off. Viewers can pick and choose from two basic packages of channels (Orange and Blue), then add on smaller extras for $5.
There is an Orange + Blue package for $55 as well. It’s best for those who can’t decide between NFL Network and ESPN to subscribe to Sling Orange + Blue, which gives you six extra channels than Sling Blue alone.
Whether you’re a sports fan or a comedy fan or a parent looking for kids’ programming, Sling TV has something for everybody. Here’s a handy hack for you to try. Ordering an HD antenna with any package will allow you to receive all your local channels.
Is Sling TV perfect? Of course not. In terms of channels, Sling TV does not have the most. In addition, unlike Hulu and YouTube, its cloud DVR is not unlimited
2. YouTube TV
A great cable TV alternative, YouTube TV offers an easy-to-use interface and a huge array of channels. The service offers shows from 70+ different networks such as ESPN, Bravo, Animal Planet, TLC, National Geographic, and FX.
Aside from that, there are more than 100 live channels, sports (MLB, NFL, and NBA Networks), and movies to choose from. There are also add-ons from Starz, Showtime, or AMC for an additional price.
YouTube TV also has a short lag behind cable TV, which is another standout feature. Despite being a little behind live feeds (less than a minute), Sling and other services still count for sports and live events. Upon recording sports matches on a DVR, YouTube TV also has key plays, which makes it easy to view key highlights in minutes. With the launch of YouTube TV 5.1 channel audio in September 2022, Apple TV and Fire TV will have it as well. Previously, only Smart TVs, Roku, Google/Android TV devices had it.
Its monthly bill will increase to $73 due to a price hike in April 2023. There is also the lack of forced bundling, which may be a pro or a con depending on your perspective. Those who do not need Disney Plus or ESPN Plus might also enjoy it. The NFL Sunday Ticket will be available as a paid add-on to YouTube TV starting in 2023
As a relative newcomer to the video streaming scene, Philo launched its nationwide streaming service in 2017. It is one of the most affordable cable TV alternatives with a monthly subscription rate of $25 for 64 channels. Some of the standout channels include A&E, AMC, Comedy Central, Food Network, Hallmark Channel, and Nickelodeon.
The main drawback? You will need to check out other options if you are looking for news or sports channels on Philo.
Up to ten different accounts can be created with Philo and three devices can be streamed at the same time. In addition to unlimited DVR, they also offer a 7-day free trial. Movie lovers will also appreciate Philo’s affordable add-ons, including Reelz and Sony Movies for $3/month, EPIX for $6/month, and Starz for $9/month.
For people who want to watch the latest episodes of their favorite network shows, Hulu is a great alternative to cable TV. Moreover, Hulu has released its own content with Hulu Originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Only Murders in the Building, and Letterkenny. Additionally, they have a growing library of movies that are updated fairly frequently. A&E, HGTV, CNN, FX, MTV, and CNN are all included.
Meanwhile, Hulu’s lowest level service has been reduced from $7.99/month to $5.99/month, while some of the best streaming services are increasing their costs.
Hulu offers the following plans and pricing:
- Hulu $7.99 per month (or $79.99 per year). Enjoy over 85,000 episodes from your favorite shows, movies, and Hulu Originals.
- Hulu (No Ads) $14.99/month. This is similar to the above, but without any ads.
- Hulu + Live TV $69.99/month. Stream live TV and all the content in Hulu’s library.
- Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV now with Disney+ and ESPN+: $82.99 per month
- Hulu Premium Networks $8.99-$14.99/month. With HBO, Showtime, and Starz on demand, you can pay for premium cable channels as you wish.
- If you are a student, you may be able to sign up for Hulu (with ads) for just $1.99 per month.
Aside from unlimited screens, a cloud DVR enhanced with Spanish subtitles, and many other add-ons, Hulu lets you customize your plan even further.
Sadly, major sports channels such as MLB Network and NBA TV are often left out.
As part of their “Elite” plan, fuboTV offers access to 164 channels for $79.99 a month. In addition to this, there are a number of local channels, sports, and entertainment channels. For those who prefer premium options like Showtime, STARZ, and Regional Sports, there are additional add-ons available.
The following are the different fuboTV packages:
- Pro Quarterly. For $70/month, you’ll get 125 channels, 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR, and unlimited screens
- Elite Quarterly. For $80/month, you get 176 channels, fubo Extra (39 more channels), News Plus (12 extra channels), 1,000 hours of cloud DVR, and unlimited screens.
- Ultimate Quarterly. $100/month gets you 210 channels, fubo Extra (39 additional channels), News Plus (12 additional channels), SHOWTIME® live + on-demand, NFL Redzone, and 1000 hours of cloud DVR.
- Latino Quarterly. A subscription for 43 channels, 250 hours of Cloud DVR, and two screens at once costs $33/month. This package does not offer a free trial and is prepaid every 3 months at $99 per month.
Currently, fuboTV does not offer parental controls, which is a major oversight. You can cancel fuboTV at any time since there are no contracts.
Launched in 2020, Peacock is NBC’s streaming service. A free version, a premium version, and a plus version are available. However, new Peacock subscribers will no longer be able to sign up for a free membership tier as of January 30, 2023.
There are 50 channels and plenty of new and old shows and movies from studios like Universal and Dreamworks included in the free version. New episodes of NBC shows can be viewed a week after their airing.
With the premium plan, you’ll have access to more on-demand content for only $4.99 a month. As an example, the free version lets you watch the first five seasons of The Office, while Peacock Plus unlocks the entire series and bonus material. Furthermore, you will be able to watch the NBC and Bravo series the following day as well as all of the live sports events on the platform.
You can watch some titles offline when you subscribe to the Plus plan, which costs $9.99 a month.
There are countless shows you can watch, including Cheers, Below Deck, Parks and Recreation, and Bel-Air. There are 40,000 hours of movies, TV shows, and more on their platform. You can also watch live sports and events, such as the Olympics, Super Bowl, and WWE.
Vidgo is a newer alternative to cable television. As you watch a show or play a game, you can join chat rooms to share the experience with friends and family.
The Vidgo plan is a respectable one, despite its youth. You can subscribe to 110+ channels for $64.95 or 150 channels for $79.95 a month. Sadly, the service no longer offers free trials.
In addition to ESPN and Fox Sports, the package offers a full suite of lifestyle and entertainment channels. There are two major drawbacks to Vidgo, though — there isn’t much coverage of news networks and there isn’t a cloud DVR available.
CBS All Access was replaced by Paramount+ in March, 2021. The Paramount Network, Nickelodeon, and CBS are all included in the ad-supported Essential Plan, which is only $50 per year.
With Paramount+, you can remove all advertisements for a slightly higher $10 monthly fee. The pricing and offerings of Paramount could change in the near future since the service is relatively new. As an alternative to basic cable, this is a great option for less than $10 per month. Plus, this is the only home for CBS shows on-demand.
Included in the Paramount+ Premium plan are:
- On-demand access to over 30,000 episodes, movies, and originals
- Exclusive programming and Paramount+ Originals
- Stream the NFL and UEFA Champions League on CBS, as well as other top soccer leagues, plus MORE sports like PGA golf and NCAA basketball.
- CBS News Streaming Network and CBS Live offer 24/7 local and national news
- Watch your shows offline at any time by downloading them
- Live CBS channel from your local CBS affiliate
- Stream on up to three devices simultaneously with up to 6 profiles
In addition, if you have a T-Mobile postpaid wireless account, you can add the Paramount+ ON US offer without providing your credit card information for a year. On your T-Mobile bill, a monthly fee of $4.99 will be applied after your one-year offer period expires.
9. Disney Plus
You can access Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic titles through Disney Plus, along with some 20th Century Fox titles. Movies and series from the Disney vault as well as originals from Disney Channel are included.
For $14 a month, Disney Plus can be bundled with Hulu and ESPN+ to save sports fans money. It’s important to note that ESPN+ is its own app and doesn’t include live content from ESPN2.
To watch shows or movies on the go, Disney Plus lets you download them. In addition, you can download unlimited files from up to 10 devices as long as you remain a subscriber. It is also possible to watch on four screens at the same time. This might be the coolest thing about Disney Plus.
Additionally, Disney Plus offers more than 300 titles in 4k UHD and HDR, all of which are ad-free. Both of these upgrades are free, unlike some platforms which charge for them.
Pricing is as follows:
- For $7.99/month, you can get Disney+ Basic (With Ads)
- The Disney+ Premium subscription costs $10.99/month or $109.99/year.
In terms of OG cord-cutters, Netflix has long been a popular alternative to cable TV. Most likely because you have access to both movies and TV shows, including original content that won 25 Emmy trophies in 2022.
Netflix is what we’ve been using to watch TV mostly, and it’s one of my favorite alternatives to cable TV
Netflix has been putting a lot of money into creating its own content. This includes popular favorites like Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards, Arrested Development, and more.
They constantly add more titles, in addition to original shows like Stranger Things and The Crown, to keep this alternative feeling fresh. Furthermore, it is very good at analyzing your viewing habits and making recommendations for you.
Netflix offers the following plans:
- Basic with ads: $6.99 per month
- Basic $9.99 per month. On one streaming device, you can watch unlimited movies and shows. There are no ads and you can watch unlimited movies, TV shows, and mobile games.
- Standard $15.49 per month. You can watch on up to two screens simultaneously, with HD picture quality. Ads are not present.
- Premium $19.99 per month. With this, you can watch Netflix on up to four devices simultaneously in HD and Ultra HD. There are no ads as well.
The first month of Netflix is also free. Netflix subscriptions are affordable every month — but this might change as they keep hiking up prices. Netflix doesn’t require any contracts or other fees, so you can change your plan at any time.
11. DirecTV Stream
DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV, AT&T TV Now before that, and DirecTV Now originally) has changed its name many times without actually fixing its shortcomings. In addition to being more expensive than most, the Entertainment package only includes about 75 channels. Also, the DVR deletes recordings after 90 days.
What’s more, it will try to entice you into signing an annual contract — something you definitely do not want to do. To keep up with other games, DirecTV Stream will add live scores like Fubo.
Despite this, cord-cutters can still watch their favorite local teams through DirecTV Stream, as many regional sports networks are only available through DirecTV Stream.
In addition to regional sports networks, NBA TV, MLB Network, and college sports networks, the entry-level starter plan, Entertainment, costs $74.99 per month and has 75 channels. The next tier is Choice, which costs $99.99 per month, and has 105 channels.
With the Ultimate package, you get 140 channels, including Golf Channel and NHL Network, for $109.99 per month. With Premier, you get HBO Max, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax bundled into a single monthly fee of $154.99 — which might seem like a money waster.
12. HBO Max
On HBO MAX, you can stream over 10,000 hours of popular content on demand. As such, HBO’s streaming service should more than satisfy cord-cutters who still want premium content.
Shows and movies from WarnerMedia are included in the streaming service, as well as HBO content. That means HBO Originals such as Game of Thrones, Succession, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more are also included.
HBO Max has 2,000+ movies and 500+ TV shows, such as Friends, South Park, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
You can choose between two plans, one with commercials, which costs $9.99 a month. For $15.99 per month, you can get ad-free access.
As an Amazon Prime member, you get access to Prime Video. Even with AmazonFresh and two-day shipping, you can’t beat 25,000 movies and TV shows for $14.99 a month. At $8.99 a month, Prime Video is good, though less so when compared with a standalone, non-Prime membership service.
Besides live sports coverage, such as the NFL, NBA, and WNBA, Prime Video also has a growing slate of original programming. This includes The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
With just a few original shows and movies to choose from, Prime Video cannot compete with Netflix’s vast catalog. Additionally, it doesn’t provide the immediate availability of Hulu, which streams many TV shows following their broadcast elsewhere the following day. Even so, Prime Video has plenty to offer.
14. Apple TV+
Apple TV+ has carved out quite the niche with hit shows like Ted Lasso and Schmigadoon for only $$6.99/month. Since this is a relatively new service, it doesn’t have a large back catalog of content. It is growing rapidly, however, when it comes to original content.
It is important to note that Apple TV+ is a streaming service only and shouldn’t be confused with Apple TV streaming devices or Apple TV app. You can test out Apple TV+ for free for 7 days and it’s ad-free and available in 4K. Downloads last for 30 days and you can watch 6 screens at once.
A free year of Apple TV+ is likely to have been included as part of your new Apple device purchase (must be activated within 3 months). For $14.99/month, it’s also offered as part of bundles like Apple One, which includes Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, iCloud+, Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+. Apple TV+ is also free to students with an Apple Music subscription.15 Television Channels Online
15. Local Networks with an Antenna
You can watch dozens of live channels with a digital antenna, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates based on your location. The advantages and disadvantages of a digital antenna are the same as those of any alternative to cable TV.
- There are no monthly fees
- Resolutions up to 4K and HD are available
- There can be more than one TV served by one antenna
- Channel selection is limited
- There may be some difficulty with the initial setup
- Bad weather can interfere with signal reception
Antennas for digital television are available both indoors and outdoors. The channel selection of indoor antennas will be less than that of outdoor antennas, but they tend to be cheaper and easier to install. The reception will be better and there will likely be more channels with outdoor antennas. But they can be more expensive and harder to install.
If you’re a sports fan, ESPN+ is the best alternative to cable TV. It’s $9.99 per month and you can stream live sporting events, watch sports networks, and watch ESPN+ Originals.
It does not replace ESPN, but it does provide access to exclusive content. Moreover, The app is the exclusive provider of UFC pay-per-view fights, which you receive at a reduced rate.
Save even more when you sign up for a year for just $99.99. For $12.99 per month, you can bundle ESPN+, Hulu, and Disney+.
There are many shows and movies available on Crackle, a free, ad-supported video-on-demand service. Chicken Soup for the Soul took majority control of Crackle in 2019 after Sony acquired it in 2006. Despite not being Netflix or HBO it’s become one of the most popular free services.
Crackle Originals was one of the first free streaming services to offer original content. The Crackle catalog is smaller than Hulu’s original catalog, but for a free service, it’s pretty solid. Drama, comedy, docuseries, miniseries, and movies are among the service’s original content offerings. With over 38,000 hours of content combined, it continues to grow.
18. Frndly TV
At only $6.99/month, Frndly TV claims to offer some of the cheapest live TV programming.
With more than 40 live streams, on-demand channels, and DVRs it offers a wide variety of entertainment. There are several popular channels, including A&E, Hallmark Channel, and the Outdoor Channel.
In addition to 1,000+ on-demand movies and shows, there is live streaming available as well. Most devices, including FireTV, Roku, Android TV, Apple TV, and iOS mobile apps, can be used to watch Frndly TV.
With Frndly TV, you can also record unlimited hours and watch shows 72 hours after they air. When you subscribe to the premium plan, you can record multiple movies and shows at once and keep them for nine months.
There are three services that Frndly offers:
- Basic – $6.99/month. Watch live and on-demand TV on one TV
- Classic – $8.99/month. Stream HD video on two screens simultaneously, record for three months, watch on two screens at once
- Premium – $10.99/month. Watch on four screens at once, record for nine months, and DVR is unlimited
As a streaming service, Vudu offers two primary functions, each appealing to a different type of audience. Featuring over 200,000 titles to rent or buy, it offers new releases and catalog titles as well as digital rentals and purchases. Additionally, it offers free on-demand streaming of movies and TV episodes without subscriptions or monthly fees.
In 2021, it merged with Fandango’s FandangoNow to become one popular streaming service. The only catch is there are a lot of ads, even though it’s free. A second complaint is that 4K quality is only available for rented content, not for free content.
20. Pluto TV
This free over-the-top (OTT) streaming service was launched in 2014 and acquired by Viacom in 2019. Pluto TV is currently being marketed by Viacom as a way to market Viacom’s other services. Viacom has expressed interest in developing Pluto TV into a more competitive force in the streaming market
Accessing Pluto TV is as simple as launching your browser or downloading the app. The service can be enjoyed as long as your internet connection is stable. Basically, Pluto TV lets you watch it online across your devices, at the same time with your friends, and without spending a penny.
It reaches more than 22 million monthly viewers through its free streaming service. There are over 200 channels available to its viewers, including Viacom properties such as Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. There are also notable content providers like A&E Networks, CNN, Nerdist, and WeatherNation TV that have partnered Pluto TV as well.
21. Samsung TV Plus
Users worldwide can access more than 200 live TV channels and on-demand content with the Samsung TV Plus app, included with all Samsung Smart TVs. To access the app, you don’t have to subscribe or create an account.
Samsung’s streaming platform is available on all Galaxy Devices, mobile and tablet, by updating their operating systems to Android 8.0 or higher, aside from TVs (specifically those released from 2016 onwards). If you want to watch your favorite channels hassle-free and cost-effectively, it’s a great choice for cord-cutters.
Launched in 2014, Tubi is often called “the free Netflix” because it offers quality movies and TV shows for streaming online. With one of the most extensive titles lineups, this free, ad-supported service is a popular cord-cutting option.
Most viewers don’t mind the low resolution because of the easy interface, the constant updating of the library, and of course the free titles. The service also includes parental controls that parents will appreciate.
23. The Local Library
Libraries are my favorite alternatives to cable TV. Why? Because it is 100% free!
A library has an enormous collection of movies (even new releases, blu-rays, and more), complete TV series, and more. In many areas, libraries collaborate with other libraries, so you can probably find what you’re looking for at another if you don’t find it at your local library.
Free digital access to TV and movies is available through many libraries now, such as:
The downside? You may be limited to how many shows and movies you can watch each month. However, if you truly want to cut the cord and save a lot each month, this is probably your most advisable option.
What is the best streaming service for live TV?
Depending on what you are looking for, the answer may vary. Among the alternatives to cable, YouTube TV may be the best. It offers a variety of local channels, sports networks, and more. In addition, your DVR allows you to save an unlimited number of recordings.
How can I get rid of cable TV?
Your first step should be to check to see if you are still under a contract with your current cable company. If not, check out our streaming reviews and decide which is best for you.
Is it possible to watch local channels without a cable subscription?
Many cable alternatives offer local channels for free, including DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV. If you prefer over-the-air broadcasts, choose the right digital TV antenna for your area. Alternatively, if you have access to it, you can download the Locast app.
Where can I watch free TV shows online?
Roku TV, Fire TV, and other streaming devices offer a number of free streaming services. You can watch thousands of movies and TV shows on these services, such as Hoopla and Tubi TV. In addition to streaming YouTube videos for free, you can also watch advertisements on the site. These are great budget-friendly cable TV alternatives.