Ditching cable for streaming is easier than ever, even if you’re a sports fan or a sucker for live broadcasts. But as streaming prices rise, the question is no longer “can you replace cable with streaming,” it’s “how can you ditch cable on a budget”? Here are the free services, streaming bundles, and you need to cut the cord without breaking the bank.
Start with a, which will quickly grow slow and unreliable, an affordable streaming stick will work at full speed for years and cost very little to replace.
and Amazon’s are two of the best budget streaming sticks, clocking in at just $30 each. Both streaming sticks come with tons of free on-demand content and hundreds of free live TV channels through and the app. And of course, they support all of your favorite streaming services.
If you own a 4K TV, consider buying the, , or . They cost a bit more than the Roku Express and Fire TV Stick Lite, but that’s the price of 4K HDR streaming! The Chromecast with Google TV is a particularly strong option here, with a personalized interface, Google Assistant support, and an all-in-one “watch list” that compiles shows and movies from all of your streaming services.
The affordable Roku Express grants instant access to all your favorite streaming services, plus tons of free content through The Roku Channel. Grab one now and ditch cable.
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick Lite opens a world of streaming services and free content through the Fire TV app. If you’re a Prime subscriber or an Alexa user, Fire TV might be the the low-cost streaming solution for you.
Why pay full price for streaming? There are dozens ofwith on-demand content and live TV channels to satiate your thirst for new content. And when you need a premium service like Disney+, there’s usually a bundle, extended trial, or discount to help you subscribe without emptying your wallet.
: Crackle was one of the first streaming services to offer free, ad-supported content, and its rotating selection of hit shows and blockbuster movies is almost always worth your time.
While these free services offer an impressive amount of premium content, they lack some new shows and movies, and of course, they’re all ad-supported.
. Here are some ways to save money on all the big boy streaming platforms:
- Bundle It: You can save a ton of money signing up for streaming bundles instead of individual services. “
” includes Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ for $14 a month (or $19 if you want Hulu with no ads). With it, you save $5 a month or $60 a year.
- Annual Plans: Nearly every streaming service offers a 10%-20% discount when you pay for a full year up front. Of course, you only want to do this with services that you use all the time.
when you aren’t using them could save you a lot more than 10% or 20%.
- Student Discounts: Some streaming services, like YouTube Premium, offer massive discounts for students. There’s also the “
” bundle for students, which packs together Spotify, Hulu, and SHOWTIME for just $10 a month (that’s $16 a month in savings).
- Partnered Deals: Some phone carriers and credit card companies offer free streaming subscriptions for their customers.
can get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for free, and get HBO Max for free.
- Limited Time Discounts: Most streaming services go on sale at least once a year, especially around the holidays. If you don’t want to wait for a discount, you could try hunting down some
for streaming services.
None of these savings options are as cheap as, you know, not subscribing in the first place. But they’re still better than paying full price. If you want to save even more money on your premium streaming services, try “” your subscriptions—canceling the ones you don’t want so you pay for as few services a month as possible.
Sometimes, it’s better to be old fashioned. Free over-the-air TV provides a cable-like live TV experience, with local channels, news, sports, and even some heavy-hitters like ABC and CBS. And funny enough, free antenna TV hasthan cable!
Setting up OTA TV is. Just buy a , screw it into your TV’s coaxial jack, slap it on a window, and hit the ground running. You can even watch OTA TV through your Xbox or PlayStation with the help of (TVs have built-in digital tuners, but game consoles, projectors, and old tube TVs do not.)
Of course, you might want to checkare available in your area before committing to OTA TV. If you live in a remote area, you should also consider using an , as an indoor antenna may not pick up a wide selection of channels. If you want to add DVR and a channel guide to your OTA TV experience, grab an like the .
Screw this digital antenna into your TV and gain instant access to tons of free channels, including ABC, CBS, PBS, and local sports.
takes a bit of time and effort, but once it’s done, you can stream your shows, movies, and music on any device—even devices outside your home!
To set up a Plex server, you first needthat can run the Plex Media Server software and hold all of your files. An is the , though you can use cheaper devices like the or an old laptop.
You also need a large, like an external hard drive, and of course, a . If you have a large DVD or Blu-Ray collection, you can use a or to rip the files from your discs.
Those who plan to stream to multiple devices at a time should also consider signing up for, a $5 per month that waives the Plex app’s download fee and grants access to exclusive features, live TV, and DVR functionality.