Simple Ways to Get Cable TV for Free

Cable and satellite TV can get expensive. I know. We are still using satellite TV, and paying $92 a month for it.

And we don’t even have a premium package. At some point, though, I hope to convince my husband that he doesn’t need the TV for the sports, and that we can find other ways to keep up with his favorite teams.

cable tv for free

I’m even preparing for the day that we can ditch the paid TV and just go straight streaming online.

Do You Have the Proper Set Up?

Getting cable TV for free is a nice thought, but you will likely have to pay for some part of the set up. First of all, if you have an HD TV with an antenna and tuner, you can get over-the-air local HD channels for free. If you want access to the major networks, this is a good way to get TV without paying for it.

If you want something approaching cable, though, you’ll have to do a little bit more. First of all, you will need the Internet so that you can stream your TV shows. If you want to watch your shows on your television, you’ll need some sort of device. We use our PlayStation 3 for streaming, but you can also use Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, and other devices to help stream the Internet to your TV.

It can also help, in some cases, to get software that facilitates streaming by setting up as a media server. Playon is one such option. You will have to pay for the software, and for whatever device you use to stream the content to your TV.

Even though you will need to pay to get the set up going, it’s still likely less than you are paying for your cable or satellite TV. I’m paying $1,104 a year for satellite TV right now. If I were to pull the plug right now, I’d save that money because I’m already paying for Internet, and I already have a PlayStation 3 (and I wouldn’t buy special software). Even if I had to buy software and a device, I could still get the whole set up for less than $500 — and then I wouldn’t have the monthly fee for cable TV.

Options for Streaming without Paying Extra

Assuming you already pay for broadband Internet, you could ditch the cable TV and watch without incurring any extra cost (if you already have the right set up). There are plenty of places to get free TV content. Many of the major and cable networks stream full episodes of shows.

You do have to plan ahead if you go this route, though. In many cases, the full episodes are available only after a day or two, and then are available for a limited time. You have a viewing window, and you have to plan to watch in that time period.

It’s also possible to get the free version of Hulu, as well as watch Joost.com, FreeTVOnline.com, and Sidereel.com to access clips and full episodes of some shows.

If You are Willing to Pay a Small Amount

For those who don’t care about completely free cable TV, but who just want to pay a lot less, there are paid options. You can sign up for Amazon Prime for $79 per year, and get streaming TV shows and videos, as well as rent streaming entertainment for cheap.

Netflix has an unlimited streaming option for $7.99 a month, and you can get Hulu Plus for $7.99 per month. In fact, you can get all three of those streaming services for $270.76 for the whole year — that’s a lot better than paying more than $1,000 a year.

And, for sports fans, there are options there as well. My husband can get MLB TV online for $120 for the baseball season. That’s not too bad, and still keeps us to less than what we pay right now — and we can watch it on the TV through the PS3. It’s possible to save quite a bit each year when you cut the cable and go with other options.

What do you think? Are you ready to get rid of cable/satellite TV? If you have already gotten rid of it, how do you get your TV entertainment?

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Comments | 8 Responses

  1. Renee S says

    I haven’t had cable in 2 years and I don’t miss it one bit! If theres a sports game I want to see, I either *go* to the game, go to a friends house or watch it at a bar. I have the antenna and tuner to get free over the air channels and I also purchased a ROKU which hooks up to my netflix and I stream shows/movies, etc. My sister and I split the netflix payments (you can have up to about 6 devices on the same account) and we just have the streaming package. If there ever was a show that I had to see RIGHT away, there is always hulu!

  2. Christian L. says

    Miranda,
    My two roommates and I only split the Internet bill for entertainment. One has a PS3 that he’s kind enough to let us all use for Netflix, which I split with my sister. Our collection of DVDs and VHS tapes give us a nice mix.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  3. says

    We have cable. I enjoy it though. I’m not a fan of Netflix since my favorite shows never seem to be on there. I know many people who LOVE Hulu and Netflix though :)

  4. says

    I’m not quite ready to give up my cable. I’m probably one of the oddballs who didn’t have cable until 8 years ago because I lived too far off the main road for a hookup. So I used my trusty antenna. Now that I’ve moved, I’m enjoying all the shows I never could watch before although the choices are overwhelming. If the novelty wears off, I’ll go with Hulu.

  5. says

    HuluPlus and Amazon Prime work great for a majority of channels, although I do find myself missing FoodNetwork shows that don’t show up on either of these streaming platforms. I would love it if HBO would finally make HBO Go available for a subscription fee so I can get my Game of Thrones fix, but I hear they are under pressure from the cable companies to keep it for cable subscribers only.

  6. says

    We cut off our cable years ago. Since I am not so fond of watching TV, only my husband, he rather watch live streaming on Internet especially his favorite sports.

  7. says

    When you buy Comcast internet, it automatically broadcast basic cable through the coaxial wire they pipe the internet through. If you take that cable and plug it into your tv and you have free cable, since you are just paying for the internet. It’s a little trick my brother and I figured out when we got Comcast internet.

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