Since the advent of television, people have been tuning in to get the latest news and find entertainment in various programming. Often, programming was limited to local companies broadcasting over the airwaves. Viewers would often install antennas on their home to pick up more channels that were broadcast farther away. Cable TV provided a method for viewers to purchase additional channels to be directed to their home through a cable connection. When broadcasting companies went digital, it became more difficult for people to access programming over the air. This forced many people to purchase Cable TV to have any programming available to them.

In recent years, Cable TV providers have increased rates for programming. In addition to these rates, they often add additional fees for the equipment needed to watch the programming, as well as other fees for simply sending the signal to the home. These prices seem to go up regularly since the cable providers seem to have a monopoly on these services in many areas around the country. Fortunately, there are alternatives to cable TV. These options provide customers with methods to get the programming they want and need without being held hostage to the increasing costs of cable providers.

HDTV Antenna

Although television has switched to digital, the signals are still broadcasted over the airwaves. Unfortunately, traditional antennas cannot pick up these digital signals as they previously did. HDTV antennas provide this option for viewers who do not want to continue paying the high fees of cable TV. These advanced antennas can pick up many television stations within the area and even nearby television areas.

How it Works

HDTV antennas pick up digital broadcast channels within the area and nearby television markets. These signals are then sent to the television for viewing. Most major television networks, such as ABC, NBC, and CBS are available for viewing. Any local networks are easily picked up by HDTV antennas. Many of these networks also provide sub-channels that offer additional programming.

Pricing

Since the programming is broadcast through the airwaves, it is free to watch anytime. The only cost is for the HDTV antenna. These antennas come in a variety of prices and abilities. Customers can often find these types of HDTV antennas for as low as $15.

Features

  • Access popular nationwide channels
  • Access local broadcast station programming
  • No recurring costs since programming is free
  • HDTV antennas are relatively inexpensive

Netflix

Netflix is a company that started out as a service to rent DVDs through the mail. In 2007, Netflix began an online streaming service. This service allowed customers to watch movies and television shows directly over the internet on their computers. It did not take long before Netflix became a very popular streaming service with a large selection of movies, television shows, and even original content. With advancements in technology, customers can view Netflix programming on their computers, television, and smartphones.

How It Works

Netflix works over the internet. Customers must already have access to internet service to be able to use Netflix. Customers simply create an account with Netflix to have access to all their programming. If Wi-Fi is available, customers can stream programming to almost any device.

Pricing

Netflix does charge a monthly fee for using their service. For a basic plan, it is $8.99 per month. This allows customers to access all their movies, television shows, and original content on one device at a time.

Features

  • Customers can watch Netflix anywhere when they have access to the internet or have Wi-Fi service.
  • Depending on the service plan, customers can stream Netflix programming on one to four devices simultaneously.
  • Customers can watch original Netflix series and movies.
  • Customers can watch old and new movie content.
  • Customers can watch old and newer television series in their entirety.
  • New programming is available each month.

Hulu

Hulu is a streaming service similar to Netflix. It provides a variety of movies, television shows, and original content available at any time. However, Hulu offers additional content that Netflix does not. Their service provides programming from many network providers the day after it airs on regular television. Many popular television series are available to all Hulu subscribers the next day. In addition, Hulu offers live television options to their subscribers.

How It Works

As long as the customer has access to the internet or Wi-fi service, they can access Hulu’s extensive list of content on their computer, television, or smartphone. Customers simply choose a plan that suits their needs. Their basic service allows access to their programming with advertisements placed throughout the show. There is also an ad-free option that provides the same content without commercial interruptions. The live TV provides customers with a variety of channels that they can view as it airs either with or without advertising.

Pricing

  • Basic Hulu with ads is $5.99 per month
  • Basic Hulu without ads is $11.99 per month
  • Hulu + Live TV is $44.99 per month
  • Hulu + Live TV without ads is $50.99 per month

Features

  • Streaming service provides a large selection of movies, original content, and television series, often the day after airing, available anytime and anywhere.
  • Live TV option is available to view a large selection of channels live.
  • Live TV option provides access to local channels
  • Additional Premium Channels, such as HBO, Showtime, ESPN, and others, are available for additional charges
  • Customers can choose to watch programming without commercials
  • Various pricing options to suit any budget
  • Television Channels Online

There are a variety of television networks that offer a lot of their programming on their website or on their YouTube channel. This allows customers to view this programming without subscribing to any television provider for content. Although a lot of the options are limited, it does provide a free method for viewing many of the programming people enjoy for free.

How It Works

The best method for finding free network programming is to visit their website or YouTube channel. Often, select programming is available to view directly from either of these locations. Some channels also offer apps. These apps provide a variety of shows and options they have available. Some of these apps also offer additional content for a monthly subscription fee. For those with a smart TV or smartphone, the apps can be easily downloaded to provide the content. YouTube is also available on many of these devices to make it easier to watch this programming.

Pricing

Many of these network stations offer free content. Some content, such as certain shows or access to their older library, is available for an additional charge. Many of these are offered for as little as $5.99 per month.

Features

  • Customers can access content directly from the networks
  • Many programs are available free
  • Some offer free access to live programming
  • Additional content is available for small fees
  • Can be streamed to favorite smart devices

Although still widely popular, cable TV has become an expensive method for watching television programming. Some cable TV packages can cost hundreds of dollars monthly. Often, these packages come with hidden fees and charges that are not fully disclosed when purchasing a package. Fortunately, these alternatives to cable TV provide viewers the option to find enjoyable programming without paying the high costs associated with cable TV providers.