I meet so many people that, after a few minutes of the typical meet and greet stuff, start talking about something that was on cable the previous night and then ask if I had seen it. I typically answer with, “No, I don’t really have TV” and their jaw drops as if I COULD NOT POSSIBLY LIVE WITHOUT CABLE! I feel utterly sorry for these people that sit inside their homes on sunny days and click through the hundreds of channels of crap, experience nothing worthwhile, and pay $100 a month to do it. They should not be dropping their jaw at me – I should be dropping my jaw at them!
How to Cope Without Cable
According to Time Magazine, I am not the only one that has cut my cable. Millenials all over the place are choosing to ditch cable and make due with other mediums that are available. If you have been wondering how you could cope without cable, take a look at the many options outlined below. Once you realize how much is available out there, I trust that you too will ditch your cable.
1) The Digital Antenna
For most of us, buying a simple $40 (or less) digital antenna will get us all the main channels that our parents had when we were kids: CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and if you’re lucky, PBS ;). Unfortunately for me, I live in a bit of a valley and can only pick up FOX on a regular basis, but this is good enough if I ever want to sit down and watch the local news (which I never do). Occasionally, FOX will broadcast a basketball game or baseball game that I’ll tune into, so it’s nice to have for that.
2) Weather and News App
If, like me, you fail to pick up some of the major channels with your digital antenna, you can always get the local stories and weather via that station’s app. Just go through the Play Store (for Android) or the App Store (for Apple devices) and search for your local station. This won’t necessarily help me watch TV, but it does help when there is dangerous weather on the way or if something else happened close to home that I want to know about.
3) Crackle and Hulu
Crackle is a completely free service online that plays many shows that have either gone off the air, or are exclusive to Crackle. They have quite a few movies available as well. While I don’t need to watch TV as often as the average viewer (which is 5 hours per day by the way – *choke* *cough*!!), I do still like to see certain shows time and again. One of my favorites is Seinfeld. I realize that it is pretty ancient for many, but I still love it. And each month, Crackle posts 10 new free episodes of Seinfeld that I can view.
Hulu offers more recent shows that are also free. Shows like the Simpsons, Family Guy, and many more. I don’t use this as often because I don’t really like the new TV series that are out right now, but it is an excellent source if that’s what you’re looking for.
Chromecast isn’t an online bank of shows and movies like Crackle or Hulu, but it will allow you to cast almost anything from your phone, tablet, or laptop onto your TV. For a one-time fee of $35 (or less if you can find a deal), you can buy the Chromecast stick. Simply plug it into your TV and sync it with your wireless router, and you’ll be able to cast anything from your device onto your TV screen. It is a beautiful thing!
For sites like Crackle or Hulu, using Chromecast is as simple as turning on your TV to the appropriate HDMI channel (whatever one you have the stick plugged into) and finding the Chromecast icon on the upper-right of your laptop screen. Pretty simple. But, there is another way you can use your Chromecast so that you can cast ANYTHING from your laptop onto your TV. All you have to do is download the Cast Extension onto your computer. Once downloaded, a new icon will appear at the top-right of your computer screen, which will allow you to cast whatever it is that you’re looking at:
This has been incredibly handy for watching March Madness lately! Note: Go Michigan State! 🙂
5) Netflix or Amazon Prime
Neither Netflix or Amazon Prime are free, but compared to cable they are still super cheap. Netflix is $7.99 per month at the moment, and Amazon Prime is $99 for a full year, so roughly the same cost. Although with Prime, you also get perks like free and speedy shipping on Amazon purchases.
I currently have Netflix and I absolutely love it. I pop it up on my phone, my tablet, or my laptop, and then cast it onto my TV to watch shows like American Pickers, Futurama, or a documentary on North Korea! In addition to shows, there is a large selection of movies as well. Plenty to keep you entertained for months, if not years.
6) Live Broadcasts Online
Since the web is accessible by almost anyone, many big events are taking their broadcasts online these days. As you could see above, I have been watching college basketball online (and casting it to my TV of course) and it has been wonderful! And, next week I will be watching the Masters Tournament online as well! There are so many big events that are offering an online broadcast that cable just seems illogical to me! Are you ready to cope without cable yet?
7) Free Movies on YouTube
I’m not certain these free movies are supposed to be on YouTube, but they’re there, so why not watch them? Just yesterday I searched, “movie” and then set the filter to “greater than 20 minutes” and the movie, “Big” with Tom Hanks was featured at the top (see how to do this below). I absolutely love this movie, and it was free for anyone to watch! If you’re up for a decent movie, try out this tactic and see what you can find.
If you don’t stumble across any freebies that you like, there are always movies to rent on YouTube. They only cost $2.99 and you can watch them immediately after the online payment. It’s super simple and definitely worth the cost.
8) Free Stuff Through the Library
Since I got my tablet, I now realize how many free things I can tap into at the library without actually driving there! Check your local library’s site to see if they offer books, shows, and movies through various apps. My library’s assortment is fantastic and it’s all free!
9) The Good ol’ Radio
I know the radio seems completely outdated these days, but it is still a pleasure for me once in a while. On late weekday evenings in the summer time, Liz and I often build a fire outside and tune into the local Detroit Tigers baseball game. We watch the fire and talk about various life events or our goals for the future, and if there’s not much to talk about then we’ll just lose ourselves in the flicker of the campfire while listening to the play-by-play on the radio. It’s a little old school, but we love it!
10) Watch Shows Online the Day After
The top networks don’t yet broadcast their shows on the same time they’re televised, but they do put them up on their site the day after! If, for instance, your favorite show is Law and Order and you know that it airs every Wednesday night on NBC, then just pop open your computer on Thursday and find it on their website. You can even cast it onto your television and get the full TV experience. It’s completely free and you can still watch all of your favorite shows! C’mon, you have to be ready to cope without cable now, right? There is hardly any reason to keep it!
10.5) Get Away From Your TV and Experience Life
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the best substitute for cable is actually getting away from the TV altogether. Go running, hiking, biking, swimming, play catch, travel, plant a garden, grill some food, just flat out experience life! When you’re 80+ years old and lying on your deathbed, I guarantee that you won’t think to yourself, “Man, I wish I would have watched some more TV…”. Forget about the television for a while and have some fun. There are so many other worthwhile things to do!
Are you ready to cope without cable? Tell me about it in the comments below!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.