Posts About Streaming TV

Best Cable TV Alternatives 2018 — Watch TV Without Cable (Even Free!)

By Steph Myers / January 8, 2018 / Tags: , ,

Here are today’s best cable TV alternatives, so you can cancel cable and stream TV online — without missing any of your favorite shows or live sports.

best cable TV alternatives - cancel cable
Watch your favorite channels, shows, and sports with today’s best cable TV alternatives.

Tired of spending a small fortune on cable or satellite TV? Sick of those rigid package options, and paying for channels you don’t want just to get the ones you do?

Thankfully, there are some great cable television alternatives available today. You can watch TV, sports, and movies online (or stream TV, as it’s also called) from a number of sources — including live, on demand, and at very little (or no!) cost.

⊕ SEE ALSO: Cord Cutters Club — Simple Help To Cancel Cable Today

You’ll be able to cancel cable, or cut way back on your subscription, without missing your favorite channels, shows, and live sports events. (If you’re mostly interested in streaming sports, see: The Ultimate Always-Up-To-Date Guide To Stream Live Sports Without Cable.) Plus, if you live or travel outside the US, the options here give you some great sources to watch US TV from anywhere in the world.

Here’s our rundown of the best cable TV alternatives.

Best Cable TV Alternative To Watch TV Without A Subscription: Kodi

Kodi is the best cable TV alternative if you want to stream TV, sports, and movies without needing any expensive subscriptions.

What is Kodi? Briefly, Kodi is a media player. It’s free to download and use and works across devices, in any corner of the world.

You can use Kodi to stream all kinds of TV shows, movies, and sports, both live and on demand. You can use Kodi to watch Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video — as well as a huge slew of shows on popular channels like HBO, Showtime, AMC, and many more. And you can watch all of this great TV for nothing on Kodi.

⊕ SEE: How To Use Kodi: Quick-Start Guide For Beginners

There is a catch. Using Kodi to watch TV on the sly comes with some risk. There are arguments about whether or not Kodi is legal. It is highly recommended you take steps to use Kodi safely so you avoid Kodi’s security issues (so you don’t get hacked while you use it). But, as long as you use Kodi with a VPN, you’ll stay safe and private and have nothing to worry about.

⊕ SEE: Why You Should Always Use Kodi With A VPN — And How To Pick The Right One

For more about what you can watch with Kodi and how to get started, check out our quick-start guide for beginners: How To Use Kodi.

If you already use Kodi, but you need help finding where to watch a certain show or channel, check out our list of the best Kodi Add-ons to stream TV, movies, and sports. See the best add-ons to watch live TV on Kodi.

Again, streaming copyrighted content without the proper access is maybe not completely on the straight-and-narrow. Hey, we’re not here to judge. We’re just here to tell you how you can watch great TV on the cheap in the best way possible. (And, you know, we all use Kodi ourselves.) But, if you’re squeamish about stepping on the toes of copyright holders (the channels you’ll be watching for nothing with Kodi), bypass this option.



Best Cable TV Alternatives To Stream Live TV: FuboTV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live TV, DirecTV Now (Monthly Subscriptions)

There are a growing number of internet TV providers available today. These will let you watch live TV without a cable/satellite subscription and no contracts.

⊕ SEE: Sling TV vs. PlayStation Vue vs. fuboTV vs. YouTube TV vs. Hulu Live TV vs. DirecTV Now: Compare Channels & Costs

FuboTV

FuboTV used to be just a soccer streaming service. But now it’s expanded into other sports, as well as general entertainment. In all, fuboTV now includes over 46 live sports and entertainment channels.

Stream TV Shows Without Cable On fuboTV

In the sports arena, you can use fuboTV to watch NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA basketball, NCAA football, soccer, racing, and more on channels including FOX, NBC Sports, NBA TV, NFL Network, and many others. One of the biggest draws of fuboTV is that you get tons of regional sports channels. That means you can watch your home team games without cable on fuboTV — something the other streaming services don’t provide without the workaround described below.

Plus, you can also stream other TV shows and popular channels. You can watch NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX through their various regional stations with fuboTV. Plus, watch FX, FXX, USA, Bravo, History, Nat Geo, and a bunch more.

You can try fuboTV free for 7 days.

YouTube TV

An obvious, yet often overlooked cable television alternative comes in the form of YouTube TV. YouTube TV is a great new TV streaming service. Here’s what you get:

– Watch popular cable and broadcast channels live and on-demand
– Live stream sports on ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and more
– Unlimited DVR space
– Six users can watch at the same time
– No contracts or commitments — cancel anytime.

YouTube TV is a solid cable TV alternative for cord-cutters, or anyone who likes to be able to stream TV anywhere, any time. They offer a 1-month free trial, so take advantage and try it out.

The downside is that YouTube TV only available in a handful of cities: Chicago, LA, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. That leaves a lot of people in the lurch — which is a shame, because YouTube TV does a lot of things right.

If YouTube TV isn’t available where you are, don’t fret. There’s a simple workaround. See how to get YouTube TV in any location — either within the US or in another country.

YouTube TV channels

Sling TV & PlayStation Vue

Both Sling TV and PlayStation Vue will let you stream live TV from 20+ channels, including FX, AMC, ESPN, TNT, and other popular networks. Plans start at $25-$30/month, with no contracts.

The downside here is that on-demand access is limited, and the various packages can get confusing (particularly on Sling TV). Other limitations, such as the number of different devices a household can use simultaneously, are also frustrating and hard to understand. And you will need a good high-speed internet connection to stream TV with either option, so factor that into your budget.

Nonetheless, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and fuboTV are great cable TV alternatives. You can watch a lot of great live TV with more flexibility than traditional pay-TV options. Check out the chart below to see which channels you can watch on Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, fuboTV, or with another standalone streaming service (e.g. HBO GO).

Not in the US? See how to get Sling TV from another country

Hulu Live TV

Hulu, the popular video-on-demand platform, now has a live TV service. For $40/month, you can watch TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TruTV, Boomerang, Turner Classic Movies, ESPN, and a bunch more channels live.

DirecTV Now
DirecTV’s new streaming service, aimed at capturing some of the cord-cutter and cord-never market, offers a long list of channels. DirecTV Now starts at $35/month.

Best Cable TV Alternatives To Stream Shows & Movies On Demand: Netflix, Hulu, & Amazon Prime Video (Monthly Subscriptions)

With Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, you can watch countless hours of TV episodes, movies, and other entertainment content on demand.

⊕ SEE: How To Exponentially Expand Your Netflix Library

Each of these streaming services costs about $8/month, with no contracts. That’s a handy perk because it means you can subscribe to Netflix one month, then cancel and get Hulu the next month, and so on to increase your TV coverage without increasing your spending.

Not in the US? See how to unblock US Netflix from anywhere, or how to get Hulu from outside the US

If you want access to new TV episodes the next day after they air, Hulu is your best bet. New episodes of shows don’t show up on Netflix until the entire season is over.

Amazon Prime Video free trial

Amazon Prime Video is similar to Netflix (but has a lot more TV and movie titles, they claim). If you’re an “Amazon person” this is the best TV deal out there. For a monthly subscription, you get unlimited access to stream everything in the Prime Video library — including the growing selection of popular Amazon Originals like Sneaky Pete, Transparent, and The Man in the High Castle.

Prime Video not only has thousands of TV shows and movies available to stream on-demand. You can also subscribe to add-ons if you want to get access to more channels and content. There are Amazon Video add-ons for: Showtime, HBO, Acorn TV, Comedy Central Standup, Cheddar, Con TV, Comic Con, Curiosity Stream, History Vault, and more. See the chart below for the full list of channels you can get with Amazon Prime Video.

With Prime Video, that same monthly subscription also gets you a whole lot more benefits, like free video game loot, free Kindle books, free shipping on Amazon orders — and much more. You can get a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime Video to try it out.

Best Cable TV Alternatives To Watch Live Sports

Live sports has broken free of the cable box. There are now lots of options to live stream sports in all the major leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL — as well as around the world.

⊕ SEE: Ultimate Guide To Steam Live Sports, 2017

We detail all the options to watch live sports without cable here. All the information is up-to-date so check it out to see how to watch all your favorite teams and events, no cable needed. If a sports streaming service or a live stream is blocked in your area, see how to unblock live sports everywhere.

Best Cable TV Alternatives To Watch Free, Legal TV From Other Countries

There’s plenty of great TV to be streamed from outside US borders. The UK in particular puts out lots of high-quality, original content. And the best part — there are dozens of free UK TV channels you can watch online.

UK channels like the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, CBS Drama, and more are all available to stream for free, both live and on demand. Many UK TV networks import shows from the US, so you can watch your home-grown favorites as well as popular programs from across the pond.

⊕ SEE: How To Unblock Geo-Restricted TV In Any Country

Canada and Australia also have some excellent channels you can watch online. Check out CBC from Canada, and SBS from Australia. Or, go here to browse open access TV from around the world.

Note that some channels will be geo-blocked. That means access is restricted for anyone outside the home country. So you’ll need to take an extra step to unblock content on these sites so you an get access.

Best Cable TV Alternatives To Stream A Few Choice Networks: HBO NOW, Showtime Anytime, Starz, & CBS All Access (Monthly Subscriptions)

You don’t need a cable, satellite, or internet TV subscription to watch some popular TV networks. HBO, Showtime, Starz, and CBS all have standalone subscriptions: HBO NOW, Showtime Anytime, Starz Play, and CBS All Access. You can watch everything the network airs without needing any other TV subscription.

CBS All Access

HBO NOW, Showtime Anytime, and Starz Play cost $15/month. CBS All Access is $6/month. You can watch both live and on-demand with all three of these. There are no contracts.

Best Cable TV Alternatives To Watch Free, Legal TV Archives: Crackle, YouTube, ‘TV Everywhere’ Apps, TV Network Websites

If you don’t mind watching older TV episodes or shows, you can stream a ton of free content on Crackle (home of ‘Seinfeld’), YouTube, and with TV Everywhere apps.

TV Everywhere apps are what many TV networks use to give viewers access to content on demand. Some popular ones include Discovery, History, Food Network, Comedy Central, Smithsonian, NBC, ABC, and FOX — but there are lots more to choose from. You can download TV Everywhere apps for your phone, tablet, or streaming device such as Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

⊕ SEE: Which TV Channels Can You (Legally) Watch Online Without Cable?

Another great source is the website of whatever channel you’re interested in. Lots of them post free full episodes of shows.

Best Cable TV Alternatives To Buy Content A-La-Carte: GooglePlay, Amazon Video, iTunes, Vudu, & More

If you prefer to pay for only what you watch, and nothing more, you can buy single episodes of shows, as well as movies, a-la-carte. There are a lot of different sources for this: GooglePlay, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Vudu, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, and more. The prices are pretty much the same from one to another. Expect to pay $2-3 per episode, depending on the show.

A great source to find where to buy a particular TV episode or movie is JustWatch.com. You can see all the available sources for an episode, series or movie, as well as compare prices.

Other Cable TV Alternatives

There are some other streaming services out worth checking out. To be honest, these aren’t great. But, depending on what you’re looking for (or what you’re willing to live without) one or two might be decent options for you. Visit: SelecTV, KloudTV, and OWNZones.

You can also watch free broadcast TV with an antenna — no cable needed. The major US broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and CW — are all available for free over-the-air. Most people can pick up these channels, and 20-30 of others, in crystal-clear HD with a decent indoor antenna. Deciding what kind of antenna you need, however, can be difficult. This antenna guide will help you find which type you need for your home and location in just two easy questions. If you want an even faster answer, this antenna will make most people very happy. It has a great range (50 miles) and will pick up all the best over-the-air channels, plus lots of other features.

Wrap-Up

The best cable TV alternatives above should let you either cancel or downgrade your cable TV subscription and save some money without giving up your favorite TV. If you have any questions, or if we missed anything, hit us up on Facebook.




Sling TV vs. PlayStation Vue vs. fuboTV vs. Standalone Streaming: Compare Channels & Costs

Service FUBO TV
(Free trial)
YOUTUBE TV
(Free trial)
HULU LIVE TV
(Free trial)
DIRECTV NOW
(Free trial)
SLING TV
(Free trial)
PLAYSTATION VUE
(Free trial)
OTHER
Package & Price Premier ($35/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Basic ($40/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Orange ($20/mo)** Blue ($25/mo)** Extras ($5/mo) Access Slim ($30/mo) Core Slim ($35/mo) Elite Slim ($45/mo) Varies
A&E Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
ABC Premier Basic Broadcast Extra On-demand On-demand On-demand
Acorn TV Amazon Video
Adult Swim Basic Basic Orange Blue
AHC Basic Elite
AMC Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Animal Planet Basic Access Core Elite
Baby TV Extra Basic Kids Extra
BBC America Basic Orange Blue
BBC World News Basic World News Extra
beIN Sports Premier Sports Extra Core Elite
BET Basic Blue Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
BET Gospel Elite
BET Jams Elite
BET Soul Elite
Big Ten Network (BTN) Premier Basic Basic Basic
Bloomberg TV Basic Orange Blue
Boomerang Basic Basic Kids Extra Elite
Bravo Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Cartoon Network Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
CBS Premier Basic CBS All Access
CBS Sports Premier Basic Basic
Centric Elite
Cheddar Amazon Video
Chiller Extra Basic Basic Basic Elite
Cinemax Basic Extra $10/mo
Cloo Elite
CMT Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
CMT Music Elite
CNBC Extra Basic Basic Basic World News Extra Access Core Elite
CNBC World Basic Elite
CNN Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Comcast SportsNet Basic Basic Basic Blue
Comedy Central Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Comedy Central Stand-Up Amazon Video
Comedy TV Basic
Comic Con HQ Amazon Video
Con TV Amazon Video
Cooking Channel Basic Lifestyle Extra Elite
Curiosity Stream Amazon Video
CW Basic
Destination America Basic Access Core Elite
Discovery Basic Access Core Elite
Discovery Family Basic Access Core Elite
Discovery Life Basic Elite
Disney Channel Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
Disney Junior Basic Basic Basic Kids Extra Access Core Elite
Disney XD Basic Basic Basic Kids Extra Access Core Elite
DIY Network Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
Dove Channel Amazon Video
Drama Fever Instant Amazon Video
Duck TV Kids Extra
E! Premier Basic Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
El Rey Premier Basic Orange Blue
EPIX Hollywood Extra
EPIX Drive-In Hollywood Extra
EPIX Hits Hollywood Extra Elite
EPIX2 Hollywood Extra
ESPN Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
ESPN Bases Loaded Sports Extra
ESPN Buzzer Beater Sports Extra
ESPN Goal Line Sports Extra
ESPN2 Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
ESPNews Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
ESPNU Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
Esquire Network Access Core Elite
Euronews World News Extra
Flama Orange Blue
Food Network Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Football Report TV Premier
Fox Premier Basic Blue* On-demand On-demand On-demand
Fox Business Premier Basic Basic Access Core Elite
Fox College Sports Premier Elite
Fox News Premier Basic Basic Basic Access Core Elite
Fox Sports 1 (FS1) Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Fox Sports 2 (FS2) Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Fox Sports Regional Premier Basic Basic
Fox Soccer Plus Premier
France24 World News Extra
Freeform Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
Fuse Premier Basic
Fusion Premier Basic World News Extra Elite
FX Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
FXM Premier Basic Basic Basic Elite
FXX Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
FYI Premier Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra
Gaia Amazon Video
Galavision Orange Blue
Golf Channel Premier Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
Hallmark Channel Premier Basic
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Premier
HBO Basic Extra $15/mo HBO Now / Amazon Video
HGTV Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Hi-Yah Elite
History Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
History Vault Amazon Video
HLN Basic Basic World News Extra Access Core Elite
Hoopla Kidz Plus Amazon Video
IFC Basic Orange Blue Core Elite
Impact Elite
Investigation Discovery Basic Access Core Elite
Lifetime Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
Lifetime Movies (LMN) Premier Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra
Local Now Premier Orange Blue
Logo Basic Comedy Plus Extra Elite
Maker Orange Blue
MGM HD Elite
MLB Network Basic MLB.TV / MLB At Bat
MLS Soccer TV MLS Live / Fubo TV
Motor Trend Amazon Video
MSG Premier
MSNBC Premier Basic Basic Basic World News Extra Access Core Elite
MTV Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
MTV Hits Elite
MTV Live Elite
MTV U Elite
MTV2 Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
Nat Geo Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Nat Geo Wild Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Elite
NBA TV Premier Basic NBA League Pass
NBC Premier Basic Blue* On-demand On-demand On-demand
NBCSN Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
NDTV World News Extra
NESN Premier Access Core Elite
News 18 India World News Extra
Newsy Orange Blue
NFL Network Premier Blue Core Elite NFL Game Pass, US & Int'l
NFL RedZone Premier Sports Extra Core Add-On ($40) Elite Add-On ($40) NFL Game Pass Int'l
NHL Hockey TV Basic NHL.TV / NHL Mobile App
Nick Jr. Basic Blue Kids Extra Access Core Elite
Nickelodeon Basic Access Core Elite
NickToons Kids Extra Access Core Elite
One World Sports Premier Elite
Outside TV Sports Extra Elite
OWN Basic Access Core Elite
Oxygen Premier Basic Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
Polaris+ Orange Blue
Pop Basic Access Core Elite
Pursuit Channel Basic
Revolt Premier
RT World News Extra
Science Basic Access Core Elite
Screen Junkies Plus Amazon Video
SEC Network Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
See So Amazon Video
Showtime Basic Showtime Anytime / Amazon Video
Smithsonian Earth Amazon Video
Spike Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
Sprout Premier Basic Basic Basic Elite
Starz Amazon Video
Sundance TV Basic Hollywood Extra Core Elite
Syfy Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Tastemade Amazon Video
TBS Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
TeenNick Basic Kids Extra Elite
Tennis Channel Basic
TLC Basic Access Core Elite
TNT Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Travel Channel Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
TruTV Basic Basic Blue Comedy Plus Extra
Turner Classic Movies Basic Basic Hollywood Extra Core Elite
TV Land Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
UFC TV UFC Fight Pass
UMC Amazon Video
UniMas Premier Basic Blue Broadcast Extra
Universal HD Extra Elite
Univision Premier Basic Blue Broadcast Extra
Univision Deportes Sports Extra
UP Faith&Family Amazon Video
USA Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Velocity Basic Elite
VH1 Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
VHI Classic Elite
Vibrant Lifestyle Extra
Viceland Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
Weather Channel Premier Basic
Weather Nation Basic
WeTV Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
YES Premier Basic Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
YouTube Red Originals Basic
Package & Price Premier ($35/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Basic ($40/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Orange ($20/mo)** Blue ($25/mo)** Extras ($5/mo) Access Slim ($30/mo) Core Slim ($35/mo) Elite Slim ($45/mo) Varies
Service FUBO TV
(Free trial)
YOUTUBE TV
(Free trial)
HULU LIVE TV
(Free trial)
DIRECTV NOW
(Free trial)
SLING TV
(Free trial)
PLAYSTATION VUE
(Free trial)
OTHER

* Select markets

** Sling TV’s Orange+Blue Plan ($40) has all the Orange channels plus all the Blue channels

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