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 sports and that we can find other ways to keep up with his favorite teams.
I’m even preparing for the day that we can ditch the paid TV and just go straight streaming online.
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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 setup.
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 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 setup 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 setup 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 setup). There are plenty of places to get free TV content. Many of the major 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 even 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 $139 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 $149.99 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?
The Bottom Line – Simple Ways to Get Cable TV for Free
The rising costs of cable and satellite TV have led many to explore alternative options. While transitioning from paid TV to streaming requires an initial setup cost, it can lead to significant savings in the long run.
With the right equipment and broadband internet, you can access free over-the-air local HD channels and major networks. Streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku, or gaming consoles offer easy access to online content.
Paid streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu Plus provide a wide range of entertainment at a fraction of the cost. By making a one-time investment in streaming setup, you can potentially save hundreds annually.