My second favorite* time of year is here: TV IS BACK! I’m may treat characters in TV shows as if they are my real friends. I talk about them, make general reference of them in conversation and even quote them from time-to-time. I can link almost anything happening “in real life” back to something from a TV series. TV rehab will probably be a trendy thing in about 10 years, and I’ll be the poster child when Dr. Drew makes it a reality series. So, it may come as a surprise that with my love (obsession) of TV I made the drastic decision to cut cable a year ago.
[Gif taken from photobucket]
It happened more as a result of circumstance than practical budgeting. My first roommate was leaving New York and taking our TV with her (because it was her’s not because I lost a battle over a television). I didn’t have proper funds at the time to purchase another TV, so I decided to make due with just streaming shows via Hulu on my computer. About six months later I invested in a second-hand TV (it was 3 weeks old and I got a great deal). My current roommate and I tossed around the idea of paying for cable, but weren’t too fond of adding $45 a month to our basic internet bill in order to bundle in cable. Instead, I invested in watching TV without cable…enter the Roku.
A Roku is a tiny little black box that frees you from cable companies and gives you access to all your best friends, I mean favorite shows. I invested in the Roku HD Streaming Player. It costs $59.99 and includes FREE shipping. It saves me about $174.12 a year. It would be $270, but I elect to pay for Hulu Plus so I can stream recent shows on my TV. There are no start-up costs or annual charges with a Roku, but you do have to pay whatever monthly fees Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime etc charge to stream their online content. So let’s chat about those other options!
Netflix is the reigning king of the streaming world. A subscription of $7.99 per month (or poaching other people’s account) gives you access to movies, TV shows, documentaries, original content and far too many options for people who can’t make decisions. The only issue some have subsidizing cable with Netflix, you can’t keep up with current shows. Netflix airs shows after they’ve finished their seasons (and typically around the same time they go to DVD). But if you want to keep up with the latest in TV world you still can!
Hulu Plus* is a flat rate fee of $7.99 per month. You can’t access everything you could on cable, but they offer recent episodes from many of the major networks/channels including ABC, NBC, FOX, ABC Family, Comedy Central and sporadic Bravo shows. You can get Hulu for free on your computer, but if you want to watch shows on your tablet, phone or via a Roku then you have to pay for Hulu Plus. You also get fewer commercials (no it isn’t ad free, but neither is that cable you pay for). Hulu Plus also gives you access to full seasons of shows instead of just this week’s episode.
Amazon Prime may seem like a large expense upfront, $79 a year to use Amazon Prime, but that comes to you at the bargain value of just $6.59 a month (insert desperate infomercial sales voice here)! On top of the free two day shipping and other benefits, Amazon Prime membership (affiliate link) gives you access to streaming TV shows and movies. It also fills in some gaps left by Netflix and Hulu Plus. I’m powering through Downton Abbey right now, thanks to Amazon Prime! Like Netflix, Amazon Prime doesn’t offer access to shows as they air. P.S. Bookworms can take advantage of the Kindle Owner’s Library.
Etc would include HBO Go, Showtime Anytime or any app which you can only access with a cable subscription. If you cut cable then you can access them hacking into Mom & Dad’s account, assuming they still have cable, or a kind friend.
So just do it already and ditch cable, like all the cool kids!
Are you a cord cutter or still hanging onto cable?
*First is May because that’s my birthday month with Christmas coming in at a close second.
*Try out 2 weeks of Hulu Plus (FOR FREE) using my referral code! I’ll get a kickback of two free weeks if you sign up to try it out. After two free weeks, you can cancel your subscription and won’t get charged.
LINK LOVE: THE BETTERING YOURSELF EDITION
- Get rid of student loan debt from Rita at Digital Spikes
- How I Sold My Comic Books (and Why) from J.D. Roth on Get Rich Slowly
- Fall Finance Tip: Improve Yourself! from Jordann (from My Alternate Life) on Sense of Cents
- Did I lose weight or money? from Erin on Red Debted Stepchild
Bonus Round: The Virtues of Fine in the Age of Awesome on New York Times
26 responses to “Frugal Find: Watching TV without Cable”
We just cut our cable and are in the process of setting up a blu ray player/wifi streamer with netflix. We don’t watch a ton of TV so I think the transition will be pretty smooth, except for losing ESPN. That part will hurt.
I can only be a matter of time before sports become more accessible via streaming. Could be a few years, but I imagine it will eventually happen. ESPN seems to be the main reason quite a few people stick with paying the cable bill and I do understand.
Don’t miss our cable at all here, although we are toying with the idea of getting Hulu or Netflix down the line. You can’t beat the great deals!
They really are great deals! I know a lot of parents love Netflix because it’s ad free and they can truly control what their children are being exposed to.
I LOVE my roku although I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of hulu plus’s tv menu layout. I like the online version better. Anyway, I love TV shows too so I’m right there with you.
I really don’t like their layout either! Searching is a pain and they don’t seem to do a great job at “recommending” shows like on the computer. Glad to have a TV buddy!
We love our Roku, too. But I think the most frugal approach would be to buy a digital antenna! I also wrote about our TV-without-cable strategies this month. http://www.evolvingpf.com/2013/09/how-we-watch-all-the-tv-we-want-for-free-including-sports/
Yeah, the digital antenna is the most frugal, but not practical if you’re never home during prime time. I rarely can consume content in real time so roku makes more sense! I have planned on using the digital antenna as a frugal find one of these Fridays. It is a better option for people who love football. At least you can get some games.
I love being cable free! I haven’t joined Hulu Plus yet since being in Oregon (cancelled it when I left Ohio) but I’ll definitely sign up again soon to start watching my fave shows :).
Thanks for the share, Internet bestie! Oh, and nice gif ;).
Thank you, thank you! You better get back into Hulu if you want to keep up!!! Then again, you can always just watch them during the week on your computer. Just be sure not to miss an episode!
I have had cable for a while now and I don’t miss it at all.
I’m sure your wallet doesn’t miss it either!
Sounds like I need to look into Roku. Thanks for the mention too 🙂
No problem. And Roku is the best!!
I’m a cord cutter! My husband and I haven’t had cable for years and we don’t miss it. We’re dedicated Netflix watchers – whenever we run out of shows to watch, we hit up the documentaries section. We tried a trial of Hulu Plus but couldn’t stand the idea of paying for commercials. Does Amazon Prime have commercials?? If not, that might be a good addition. Downton ROCKS!
Amazon Prime doesn’t have commercials, so check it out!
I too love Netflix!!! The only issue I have with it is, as you mentioned, the time lag. For example: Breaking Bad. Finale is tomorrow… and I have yet to watch the new season. 🙁 Makes for awkward moments at the office.
I have shoved my fingers in my ears and run away humming before. Not kidding.
We have a Roku box as well =)
Haven’t had cable TV in years…and don’t miss it!
I wish I had known about Roku my first year in NYC. My roommate and I probably would’ve ditched cable earlier!
Great roundup of the other options out there. I currently have cable and pay way too much for it : ( I started to look into other options but then got lazy and didn’t follow through with switching our setup.
It’s really easy if you just do Roku. I think it took me 15 minutes to set up, and I even teed up a YouTube tutorial to reduce any frustration.
I love the idea of cutting cable as the alternatives are awesome. But if you are a sports junkie it becomes really hard to cut the cord!
Yeah, I’m pretty lucky that I’m not too obsessed with sports. The only thing I truly care about is the World Cup so it isn’t a big deal. Plus, going to bars are more fun for big games!
Should also check out Aereo.com. It’s only available in select cities so far, but for $8 a month you can stream basic cable channels and then some! Also works with Roku!
I’ve been keeping an eye on Aereo. They seem to have some kinks to work out, but they do offer the service in NYC. It might make more sense to do a digital antenna though. I’ll have to do more investigating, thanks for the reminder!