The ultimate guide to cutting the cord and free TV services

More and more customers are choosing to cut the cord. What do we mean by this? Cutting the cord means getting rid of your overpriced cable service. Say good bye to services like Xfinity, Cox, Comcast, and Dish Network. Cutting the cord is the first step on your way to affordable and free tv.

In this article, we will show you why cutting the cord is the smart way to go. The bottom line is; all you need is good internet service to get free tv services.

Many customers prefer the security of a landline phone. Because they believe they are saving when bundling internet, phone, and cable services. But when you compare the prices to a free service with little to no quality differences, free wins all the time. There are also many affordable options to cable to watch paid content. While bundling offers you marginal savings, the cost is still quite expensive. And you will end up paying for services you don’t need.

Why is it Beneficial to Cut the Cord?

It all breaks down to the savings you can make. Cable lures you in with introductory pricing, discount bundles, and contracts. Once you’re on a contract, they increase the rates by as much as $50 sometimes. Fees and penalties apply to get out of the contract.

Below are some 2021 bundled national average introductory internet and TV rates. Usnews.com and allconnect.com posted these rates.

ProviderStandalone internet monthly priceStandalone TV monthly priceBundled monthly RateBundle savings per monthMonthly Cord Cutting Savings
Cox$29.99$69.99$89.99$9.99$60.00
Optimum$44.99$59.99$79.99$24.99$35.00
Spectrum$49.99$44.99$89.98$5.00$39.99
Verizon Fios$39.99$50.00$89.99$0.00$50.00
Xfinity$29.99$49.99$69.99$9.99$40.00

In the chart above, bundling offers some savings except for Verizon. Verizon customers would save $50 on average nationally by cutting the cord.

Average Bundled Rates

Below are some 2021 bundled national average introductory rates for internet, TV, and phone.

ProviderIntroductory Basic Bundled Rates, Internet, TV and Phone per monthStandalone Internet per monthMonthly Cord Cutting Savings
AT&T$89.98$35.00$54.98
CenturyLink$85.00$49.00$36.00
Spectrum$62.98$49.99$12.99
Verizon$89.99$39.99$50.00
Xfinity$39.99$29.99$10.00
Usnews.com and allconnect.com also posted these rates

In the three instances above, monthly savings of over $35 can occur by cutting bundles, including phone and cable.

The good thing is, this is a different period from the 60s through to the early 2000s. Back then, households depended on cable, satellite TV, and free-to-air. They got their news, sports, and entertainment from those media.

Now, we have countless entertainment sources. Lots of kids and teens today don’t even watch traditional cable anymore. They prefer Youtube Kids and other social media platforms and apps. Social media apps not only entertain but also allow them to make friends. They can also enjoy, repost, and share content with their friends. Liking, disliking, or commenting helps young people interact with content creators. Providing feedback and receiving acknowledgment are important to them.

Changing consumption habits means people want to watch content when it is convenient for them. Now, shows need to be on when we want to see them. We consumers should not be changing schedules to watch our preferred shows. Free tv services have adapted to consumer needs.

Cable Alternatives

Streaming Services

Streaming Services are perfect for current consumption trends. Customers who prefer a cable-like service can buy the streaming apps TV subscription. Customers who prefer on-demand content can buy those packages. They save hundreds of dollars by only paying for what they want to consume.

Let’s take a closer look at some streaming services.

Free TV Streaming Services

For free content you can view on your computer, check out these legal free streaming sites:

  • Haystack News
  • Kanopy
  • Hoopla
  • Crackle
  • IMDb TV
  • Pluto TV
  • The Roku Channel
  • Tubi
  • YouTube
  • Popcornflix
  • Vudu
  • Crunchyroll
  • Yidio (Video Aggregator)

The above sites offer live TV and on-demand content mostly paid for by ad revenue, so you will probably need to turn off your adblocker. Therefore, the quantity of the ad interruption varies, so does the amount and quality of the content. Sometimes, you may need to sign up for a free account. You may have paid upgrades available to view premium content.

Haystack News

Haystack News provides news content free. This legal streaming service uses advertising revenue for funding. Therefore viewers customize their preference for news content when they set up an optional profile. With that said, they can access news from over 350 free local and international news sources.

News junkies, including investors who like to keep current on the latest financial news, love Haystack. Haystack scores high marks for its international and local news coverage and it provides both on-demand and live-streaming content.

Crackle

Crackle streaming service was my best pick for original content, movies, and TV shows. It streams old and new movies and shows and appeared to have the freshest programming of all the free tv streaming services. There is something for everyone on Crackle. Shows with household name stars like Ashton Kutcher, The Rock, Gene Wilder, John Travolta, Eddie Murphy, and more.

Crackle also has a wide variety of genres. I liked that you can search for content by featured categories. Categories include “Automobiles,“ “Summer Kickback,“ “Trains and Planes,“ “Home School,“ “Documentary“ and “Classic.“

Crackle works for families because of the content variety. Another good thing about this streaming service is that you can choose how long the ads are. Also, you don’t need an account to stream.

The pain points I found with Crackle were content provider agreements, limiting how long some programs are available. Another drawback is that you cannot view content offline.

Yidio

Yidio is a video aggregator that hosts links to videos and TV shows offered on other streaming services. You can use Yidio.com to search for titles across many platforms like Tubi, The Roku Channel, Crackle, and over 100 more.

On Yidio, you can filter results by free TV shows and movies, and you can watch most content using any web browser or most devices. You don’t need to create an account to use Yidio, but having one helps you keep track of your favorites.

The Best 7 Paid Streaming Services

Paid streaming services offer better and original content. Most offer 4k resolution streaming. You can upgrade to a premium account and get even more features for a fraction of the cost of cable packages. We explored a few paid streaming services below.

7. Peacock

Peacock gives you free tv content, but you have to pay $4.99 for a subscription with ads and $9.99 for ad-free streaming. The platform is compatible with most devices and browsers, and you can view the premium service on up to three devices.

Peacock offers a decent movie and TV show selection. It has exclusive rights to stream, The Office and the Harry Potter movies. Peacock is not yet available in 4K resolution.

6. Sling TV

Sling is also free but with premium upgrade options. Orange, with sports and family programming, is one choice. Blue, with entertainment and news, is the other. Both Options cost  $35 per month each. If you bundle both, it’s only $50. With Sling, you can stream premium content simultaneously on three devices. It scores highly for device compatibility. Customers love the on-demand content and that there is no setup contract.

The downsides with Sling are the occasional performance issues, and the search function isn’t great.

5. HBO Max

At $14.99 monthly, HBO MAX has increased and changed its content. It now appeals to a broader audience and competes better with market leaders. You get an extensive collection of TV shows and movies, including all episodes of every HBO series. You can simultaneously stream premium content on three devices using the easy-to-use system.

The varying quality of the original programming and the limited 4K content are the main drawbacks.

4. Disney Plus

To complement your other streaming services, take a look at Disney Plus. Especially if you enjoy content tailored for children. Disney strategically prices its product for $7.99 or $79.99 per year and offers an ESPN+ and Hulu bundle for $12.99 monthly. 

You get standard 4K that simultaneous streams on up to four devices. Unfortunately, some of the best originals are still pending, and other content is missing.

3. Hulu

Hulu offers $5.99 Hulu on-demand and Hulu Live TV services for $64.99, both monthly rates. You get several live TV channels and 50 hours of cloud DVR service, and two simultaneous screens. For $9.99 monthly, you can get unlimited screens, while an added $12.99 monthly gets ESPN+ and Disney Plus.

Hulu streams on many devices, and they use ads to offer a low base price, but customers can pay more to stop seeing them. Top shows like “The Simpsons” and spectacular movies make Hulu an easy decision. 

2. Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video offers super value at $12.99 per month and $119 per year. Once you sign up for Amazon Prime, you get automatic access to; the premium delivery service and Amazon Music besides the steaming service. Amazon has a wide range of top-quality original content plus top-rated movies and shows. They offer three simultaneous streams you can watch on several devices.

Amazon Prime Video is perfect for kids. The only downsides are that Netflix has better content and a better interface.

1. Netflix

With monthly plans ranging from the $9 basic plan, HD plans at $14, and $18 Premium plan, Netflix provides incredible value for a fraction of cable costs. You get access to Netflix Original TV and movies. A user-friendly platform, multi-device support, and a massive movie selection.

Netflix is currently the best and most popular streaming service. Many devices come with the pre-installed app because of its popularity.

Netflix requires faster internet speeds and charges more for 4k streaming. It is one of many streaming services to have lost content to new competitors. Despite these downsides, Netflix is unquestionably the best streaming service available.

Use an Antenna

When the FCC mandated that TV stations stop sending analog signals in 2009, TV channels could only send digital signals. This means you can get free tv using only a cheap antenna.

If you still have your antenna and you have a digital TV or a digital converter box, you will be able to access digital signals within your antenna’s range.

Any antenna will work, so ignore marketing gimmicks like HD or ultra HD antenna. Antennas only receive signals not blocked by mountains, buildings, trees, or other obstructions. You cannot convert a signal into HD or Ultra HD with an antenna.

Cable Channel Apps

If you love a particular cable channel, but you don’t want to pay for cable, then check if the channel has an app with free content. Almost all premium cable channels have apps, and a lot of free content is on the app. CNN and BET are good examples.

Conclusion

Cord Cutting is the best way to take control of your finances. Regardless of bundling discounts, you can slash your budget by removing cable and landline services. Replace the landline phone line with free apps like Textnow or Textme.

Instead of cable, you can get paid streaming services for a fraction of cable costs. Even if you upgrade to ad-free paid streaming, you still get better value and a better experience than ad-filled cable.

If you are willing to watch a few ads, free streaming platforms also help cord-cutting.  Using your antenna allows you to watch digital channels once the signal is strong enough. Yet another option you have is to check if your favorite channels offer free or cheap content on their app.

By exploring these choices, you will see that it is not so hard to cut the cord and get free tv.

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