Cable companies have been losing subscribers in record number. The reason is that many people are turning to the Internet to watch TV shows. Technology has finally come to a point where not having cable service is a viable option. But if you're thinking of cutting the cord, you should first be aware of what alternatives you will have.
To get all the main TV channels like NBC, CBS, and ABC, all you'll need is a HD antenna. If you get one that's of decent quality, you should be able to watch good quality HD TV. The best way to select a good antenna is to pick a well-rated one on Amazon. You can typically get a decent HD antenna for around $30.
But what about your favorite shows on other channels like HBO or MTV? You have several options here. The first is to subscribe to streaming services, which allow you to watch many popular shows. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video (which comes with Amazon Prime) are all excellent options. You'll even get some original programming that you can only watch on your streaming service.
One disadvantage of streaming services like Amazon Prime, however, is that the shows will usually only be posted a year after they have aired. This means you'll always be behind on your favorite show. Unless you're willing to buy the most recent episodes on iTunes or Amazon, you may have no choice but to wait until they become available at your streaming service.
If you don't want to wait, a newer service called Sling may be the answer. This service costs $20 a month but allows you to watch about 20 cable channels over the Internet. You can use a USB stick to watch the programs on your TV as well. Although it is still a new service, I've heard many good things about Sling, so you may want to consider giving it a try. Here is some more information about Sling if you're interested:
If you enjoy playing video games and have a game console such as Xbox or Playstation, integrating TV service is quite simple. Xbox is already integrated with Sling TV. Similarly, Playstation has its own service called Playstation Vue. Plans for Playstation Vue start at $29 for 55 channels, and there are currently 3 plans to choose from. People who own game consoles, therefore, should research options such as these, which on the whole cost less than cable service and offer more channels for a lower price.
Another way to save money if you use game consoles is to join a service called Gamefly, which is a video game rental service that sends you games you rent via mail. Joining Gamefly by using a free trial (which lasts 1 month) can be a great idea additionally because currently, you can get a free month of Hulu as well. (To get the free trial, go to this page: http://freetrialspot.com/gamefly.php.) Therefore, you'll be able to test drive the Hulu service and Gamefly service at the same time at no charge.
As you can see, there are many options you can turn to even if you forego cable altogether. That said, you'll probably have to mix and match a few different services and experiment a bit to get all the channels you want. But it's doable, and worth exploring since you can end up saving $50 or more per month.