These days cable service isn’t the only way to watch your favorite TV shows. In fact, there are numerous apps out there that let you watch TV programs and movies for a fraction of the cost, but which is better? According to a recent study, TV and corresponding premium channels cost the average subscriber around $86 per month — and those costs continue to rise about six percent annually. That means you could pay over $200 by year 2020.
Traditional Cable Alternatives
Cable alternatives can be streamed over your computer, TV, Xbox and even your PlayStation. Some have apps that work on tablets and smartphones too. These days there are dozens of apps out there that let you watch your favorite TV programs.
For a monthly fee you can catch up on past seasons or watch movies over the web and on your TV using the Netflix app. Netflix has one of the largest streaming libraries, but they don’t have episodes that are currently airing — you have to wait until the season completes and is then released on DVD to access it on Netflix.
Hulu Plus gives you access to the latest television shows for an annual or monthly fee. When the show airs, it won’t be live on Hulu. Instead, it will air the next day. But if you are the type that can’t wait for your show’s season to end and be released on DVD, Hulu is the answer. Not all shows air on Hulu, however. While they are expanding their contracts, the selection is still rather limited.
YouTube has joined the paid subscription world. You can access some channels based on the subscription you have. But, just like Hulu, they don’t let you watch a show as it airs.
Amazon Instant Video
Amazon Instant Video is similar to Netflix. It streams things that are already out on DVD — TV shows and movies included. Some programs will air new episodes a few days after they air live on TV. Amazon Instant Video is part of the Prime Membership program, which means you have to pay the annual fee for that.
Going with Traditional Cable
If you like to watch the news or want to watch shows as they air live, then you will need traditional cable. While apps help you save, they lack the capacity to show live news programs every day and cannot show television programs as they air.
Some consumers find it more convenient to order a very basic cable package —that includes channels like ABC, NBC, etc. Then they supplement with money-saving apps for more premium channels to save money and have the best of both worlds.