Finding legal and free alternatives to Cable TV is important these days. Face it, your most expensive monthly bills are probably mortgage (or rent), cell phone and Cable TV. Cutting at least one of these bills can put a lot of money back in your pocket and Cable TV is probably the easiest one to cut.
Alternatives to Cable TV
As long as you have Internet access you can probably find your favorite shows. The only difference is that you don’t get to watch them until after their initial air date. There are a lot of ways you can find your shows.
Cost: Free, once you have an antenna
It will cost you some initial cash, but a good digital antenna can save you a lot of money on the cable bill. To find out what stations are available in your area go to www.antennaweb.org, enter your zip code and you will a list of available TV stations for your area, all for free, with no required subscriptions. If you want to get a good signal you will need a good antenna ($40 or more). Strong signals can be picked up with an indoor antenna, but If you want to try for a few of the weaker channels, then invest in a good quality outdoor antenna.
The best way to find popular TV shows, after they have aired, is to check the network station. ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. Even PBS has a selection of recently aired shows for you to watch. One problem is that there is a limited viewing window, some shows are pulled within a week, and some aren’t available online until the next episode airs. Each network handles their shows differently and sometimes it depends on the popularity of the show itself.
It’s not just the big networks that will stream their shows, a lot of the specialty networks will as well. If you are a foodie then head over to FoodNetwork.com for some of their more popular shows. Comedy Central also airs a lot of their shows. Basically if you like a show, then look at the airing stations home page to see if they have it available for free.
The regular Hulu website may not have new content, but it has a lot of the older shows and movies, all available for free. All you need is a good connection, however, be prepared to hear the same commercial so often that you can recite it by the end of your movie.
Are you one of those that like to sit back and watch the 8:00 movie, or spend your weekend aimlessly watching older movies on the local stations? Then Crackle is perfect for you. This is a streaming website that offers up hundreds of movies from the Sony library for free. They may not be the most current, but they have quality and quantity. If you like anime, they also have a dynamite collection of it. The movie choices rotate every month, so if you see something you want to watch, you might want to schedule it pretty soon.
Hit Bliss is an application you can download on any computer or mobile device which will allow you purchase episodes of your favorite TV shows with credits that you have earned. You earn credits by watching advertisements; about two minutes of ads will earn you enough credits for one TV episode.
You never know what you will find on YouTube, and most of the full shows that you do find aren’t put up there legally, but occasionally a Network will make a show available through YouTube
If you are a new junkie, then is the site for you. It has a wide variety of live streaming news from various networks around the world. A few of the individual stations might require a subscription, but a large portion of them are free.
You may not find all of your favorite shows, using these alternatives to Cable TV, but you will find a good portion of them, and free is way better than that cable bill. Using these methods you might even find a few new ones or old favorites you had forgotten. Unfortunately, if you are a sports junkie and you want to reduce your Cable TV bill, you either have to hang out at a friends, or go to the local sports bar – which may cost you more in the long run.
Photo Credit: Kyle Isenhower