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30+ Cable TV Alternatives to Help You Save Money

According to the latest data, the average US household now pays over $200/month for cable TV.

ContentsCable TV alternativesCable alternatives for live TVPaid over-the-air TV providersFree live TV providersLive TVCable alternatives for video on demandPaid VOD providersFree VOD providersCut the cord to save money

It's clearly too much. For this amount, you can subscribe to Sling, Hulu + Live TV, Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video, and still have money.

If you've decided enough is enough, keep reading. Here are the best alternatives to cable TV that will let you cut the cord and save money.

Alternatives to cable television

It's important to realize that there isn't a single similar replacement for cable TV. If you cut the cord, you'll need to do your due diligence on your viewing habits and create a service package that meets your needs.

Here are some important points to consider:

  • Location: Some services are only available in specific markets.
  • Movies or TV: Do you have a strong preference for a particular form of content?
  • Live Events: Are you a sports fanatic or a 24 hour news nerd?
  • Favorite TV channels: Most people are drawn to a small handful of their favorite TV channels.
  • Age of content: Are you desperate to watch the latest hit shows or are you more interested in reruns of old classics?
  • Additional features: Do you need DVR capabilities? How many screens are there in your house? Do you want to watch the content in 4K?

Spend some time thinking about the answers to these questions, then cross-check your requirements with the best cable alternatives we'll look at in the rest of the article.

Check out our guide on how to ditch the cable to learn more.


Broadly speaking, cord-cutting service providers can be divided into two categories:live television services and video-on-demand (VOD) services (some providers straddle the two categories). They can both be subdivided into free and paid solutions. Let's start with live TV.


If you live in the US, there are arguably six affordable TV services worth looking into. They are some of the best cord cutting options.

They are Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Fubo TV, AT&T TV NOW, and Philon. If you are a sports fan, Fubo TV offers the most complete selection of events.

Each of the providers offers a wide selection of channels in many genres. Depending on the service you opt for, you will be able to watch ABC, FOX, CBS, AMC, Nickelodeon, MSNBC, FOX Sports, ESPN, CNN, MTV, NBC, Disney and many more.

Most providers offer several payment levels. The more you pay, the more channels you will have access to. Since the whole point of cutting the cord is to save money, make sure you're not signing up for a plan you'll barely use.

Many vendors also offer add-ons. They can take the form of foreign TV channels, extended sports programming, extra screens and premium channels like HBO and SHOWTIME.

If you want to learn more about each of the providers individually, read our article listing the best live TV streaming services for cord cutters.

If you live in the UK, your paid options are more limited. Sky offers a cheap online-only (no contract) TV service called NOW TV. Five packages are available:Sports, Children, Entertainment, Cinema and Reality TV. The most expensive plan, Sports, costs over £30/month; a sports day pass is available for £10. Bundles are a great way to get cheap cable.

Other paid alternatives to cable in the UK include TVPlayer (£7/mo) and FilmOn TV (£20/mo). Neither service requires you to sign a contract, but they do not broadcast premium channels.


For a more extreme form of saving money, you can use a free live streaming service instead.

Two names dominate the region:Pluto and Plex. Between them, the two services carry a surprising number of premium networks, including CBSN, CNN, NBC, Sky News and Bloomberg, as well as dozens of music channels, kids' channels and niche interest channels.


In the UK, the two main free services are BBC iPlayer and Hub ITV. Both offer live access to the full range of TV channels for each network. If you are outside the UK, you can use a VPN to access it. We recommend ExpressVPN.

Live TV

An often overlooked part of a cord cutter's armament is a trusty old television antenna.

If you live in a major US city, you'll be able to watch networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, The CW, PBS Kids, Create, MyNetworkTV, MeTV, Antenna TV, Escape, Grit, Laff, and This TV for free.

This means you'll be able to keep tabs on major sporting events without paying a dime. Over the past 12 months, these networks have aired the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, US Open, Stanley Cup Playoffs, UEFA Champions League Final, French Open, Gold CONCACAF, NASCAR and MLB Cup.

You can even integrate your OTA antenna with apps like Plex and Kodi so you can watch through your smart TV. You will just need a tuner like an HDHomeRun to get started.

Check out our article detailing what you can watch with a TV antenna to learn more.

In the UK you will need Freeview to watch OTA TV. Channels available on Freeview include BBC 1 and BBC 2, ITV, Channel 4, Dave, Paramount, HGTV, Sony and PBS.

Cable alternatives for video-on-demand

If you mainly watch movies and series, it is possible to argue that you do not need a live TV program at all. Instead, you can ditch cable TV by relying on some of the major VOD streaming services to meet your entertainment needs.

Again, both free and paid options are available.


We all know the names of the biggest streaming services. Most people will want to choose between Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+ as their primary provider.

However, we have also seen an increase in the number of networks running their own streaming services. If you want access to the latest series as they air, you may need to turn to one of these providers instead.

In the United States, the most popular network streaming services are HBO Max, CBS All Access, Peacock (for NBC), Starz, and SHOWTIME NOW. All services cost less than $15/mo.

Finally, those interested in British series should choose between Acorn TV and Britbox. Britbox is a joint venture between the BBC and ITV, so it contains plenty of classic British shows. Acorn TV generally leans towards more modern content.

Read our comparison between Acorn TV and Britbox to find out more.

Free VOD providers

If you're less concerned with watching what's trending, there are plenty of free VOD providers that stream old movies and TV shows.

Some of the most popular free VOD services include Crackle, IMDb Television, Vudu, and The Roku Channel.

Finally, don’t forget Youtube. The site is a gold mine for old series, classic movies, kids shows, and music content. Most shows and networks have their own official channels that air full episodes and clips.


It doesn't matter which combination of these alternatives to cable TV you use. You are guaranteed to save money on your cable TV bill. Not to mention, you won't have to incur any of those annoying "hidden fees" anymore.

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30+ Cable TV Alternatives to Help You Save Money