6 alternatives to help you ditch cable television

Sun, Nov 19, 2006

Blogroll, HDTV

I pay $120 a month for cable TV and internet. About $75 dollars of that cost is for television. That is $900 a year just to watch TV. I have no premium cable channels either. Here is a brief list of 6 ways to ditch your cable television:

  1. Get an indoor high definition antenna and either hook it up to your HDTV or a tuner card on your PC. Most network affiliates also broadcast in high definition.
  2. Download television shows or movies off the internet. Apple has a large selection of TV shows available for downloads at $1.99 a piece, which can add up over time though. ITunes and an Apple TV can be a nice cable replacement. Vongo is another alternative (test Vongo out for free by signing up). The only way to view HD versions of your favorite shows right now is as a torrent file. TED (torrent episode downloader) is a handy tool for this, acting like an internet Tivo.
  3. Join Netflix. Netflix is a great deal and is a good alternative to a movie channels like HBO and Showtime. For the same price a month as one of the premium channels, you have movies delivered to your house. Plus, many of HBO’s shows are available for rental as box sets.
  4. Watch free content on the internet at sites like Network2.tv or Stage6.
  5. View shows at major network websites. ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox all have their most popular shows available for streaming.
  6. Get DVD’s at your local library. Most libraries offer DVD rentals for free or for a minimal cost compared to Blockbuster.

Even with these tips, I have not ditched my cable TV. The reason why is sports. My HD tuner gets over the air broadcasts but I would miss ESPN too much. Though $75 a month for ESPN is a bit much.

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    54 Comments For This Post

    1. Tom Says:

      Would an HD antenna work on an HD-ready TV, or would I need a separate HD tuner?

    2. J.R. Says:

      You do need an HD tuner if your TV is just HD “ready.” I guess that is one drawback.

    3. Eric Says:

      I have the same problem. I couldn’t ditch cable because I watch ESPN all the time. I couldn’t go without it. My cable bill is about the same. I pay $100 for cable and internet. I wish there was a better alternative.

    4. P.S. Says:

      I only watch college football. I wish there was a solution somewhere between getting the whole shebang and going to a sports bar 12 Saturdays.

    5. Jef Says:

      I just ditched cable ($80/mo!!!) and sports can be a problem. I’d recommend sports bars. Get out, yell with the crowd, have the rival team in the same bar. It’s a good time.

      Either that, or spend that $75 you saved on cable for the month on ACTUAL TICKETS to the game. Nothing beats sports in-person.

    6. malik Says:

      how abt tvuplayer

      live tv :)

    7. J.R. Says:

      Hmmm….sports bars…….wife may not like that though :)

    8. Adam Says:

      gotta say, I’m lovin’ the library lately. After moving to a new/bigger house, we don’t have the money to throw to cable/sat-tv, so yea, the public library is a good source of both old, and newer movies. What’s really nice, is if the library doesn’t have what you want, they CAN and will find it, either buying it themselves, or from another library.

      Though I do miss my daily dose of Fuse, I get my music fix from last.fm and pandora hehe.

      Lifehacker also did a good article on (ab)using (lol) your local library, http://www.lifehacker.com/software/feature/get-the-most-of-your-local-library–online-153821.php

      Just beware, those $0.50 late fees per day (on DVDs/VHS) do add up lol.

    9. Wheelson Says:

      A little known option, with Comcast at least, is to ask them for their “Limited Basic” cable service which they are required by law to offer but do not advertise at all. It’s an extra $5 with Broadband Internet service (technically an extra $20 but if you have no cable TV but use their Internet service they charge you $15 so the net extra is $5).

      This frees me up enough monthly cash to utilize Netflix and iTunes more than I would if I bought the much more expensive cable packages full of channels I don’t watch.

      Limited Basic also usually includes HDTV that is normally broadcast in the area. The bonus for me is that ESPN and Fox Sports squeak by the filter so I get those too!

      If you live in an area where you get CTV you can watch The Daily Show too!

    10. bc Says:

      Like Malik said, I’ve found that the TVUPlayer found at http://viidoo.com/en/index.php is a good option for sports if you don’t have cable/satellite. The picture isn’t perfect, but it has ESPN and you can see the football flying in the air, which is all that really matters. Might be worth looking at.

    11. Spazz Says:

      All you have to do is have your company pay for your home internet somehow and you get the cable autmoatically. You don’t have to pay twice. Just pay for cable internet. They can’t block the television cable.

    12. E Says:


      Comcast (as well as most other cable companies) can block the TV signal from the line if you only order high speed internet. They place a filter on the pole or in the pedestal before the line connects to your house. Just getting cable internet doesn’t mean you’ll get basic TV by splitting the line and plugging it into your TV.

    13. Jofo Says:

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    14. oobx Says:

      what about Free-to-Air (FTA) satellite? There are about 100 free channels in English and hundreds in other languages.

    15. Venkat Says:

      Thanks for the info. I have a TV and want to hook it up to an indoor antenna. KTEH advertises in their website that their broadcast is free to air. I live in Sunnyvale. Will an Indoor antenna with 25 dB gain (something that we can pick up from Fry’s) receive channels like PBS reliably ?

    16. Jordan Dumont Says:

      Found this the other day http://www.freetube.us.tc .Let’s you watch television online easily and you don’t need a tuner card.

    17. Yvette Says:

      I would like to cancel cable. I would like to watch t.v. like i used to. Watching t.v. used to be free. I cant afford the bill anymore and with out the cable hook up theres no t.v. So i am forced to keep it on. I know theres a way to watch tv without cable. If there any suggestions out there please pass them on. I dont want to use the internet. I just want to watch tv like back in the days. Cant afford to live like i used to. So i have to make changes. If it wasnt for the kids i would turn off tv altogether. My kids are out of the house most of the time but when we do get the chance to stay home, Id like to watch good programming. Most programming on tv today is not worth watching, so why pay for it.

    18. Little Jimmy Jimster Says:

      Just cancel your cable and get a hobby to fill up the free time that you would normally spend watching TV. I haven’t had cable TV for 14 years and I don’t miss it at all. Also, I am learning to play the guitar and I get to spend a lot of time playing with and reading to my son. He loves books! Read the sports scores in the paper.

    19. RosarioElliot Says:

      We save 250.00 a month since we switched, looking at WhiteHatt technologies for a full time internet tv player – http://www.whitehatt.com

      Hope it helps,

    20. Seth Campbell Says:

      Nuclius IPTV will offer a “pick your own channel” linuep that guarantees you will save money. Website is http://nucliusiptv.com

      Throw in the fact it’s got a “real channel lineup”, runs 1080p to your TV, Blu-Ray, advanced DVR, and will work similar to a slingbox… it’s the best of the best.

    21. Anonymous Says:

      how do you watch tv if you dont have cable, dish or uverse. im getting ready to cancel uverse but want local channels

    22. Anonymous Says:

      how do you watch tv without any subscriber, do i need some sort of box

    23. trebor Says:

      I find that http://www.cancelcabletv.com offers good alternatives to cable and satellite as well.

    24. Steve Stinson Says:

      Hello, Thanks for this great source of information. Take a look at http://www.upcommunications.net The Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s Cable & Satellite alternative. We use multiple links scanners before posting (Free) Internet TV and other entertainment resources.

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      Paying too much for cable is really a waste of money. I know you’re at the point of “cutting the cable” but ESPN is keeping you from doing it. I recommend America’s Top 120 package, it is way cheaper than what you’re paying now and it includes 7 different ESPN channels. I work at DISH Network so I know what I’ve stated are facts. Check it out, it’ll help you grip those clippers to cut that cable.

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