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10.5 Ways to Cope Without Cable

cope without cableI 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.

4) Chromecast

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:

cope without cable chromecast

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.

cope without cable youtube

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!

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AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


  1. I have been trying to cut cable out of my life for years- but the issue in our household is the NFL. My husband can not live without football. Live football. I would love to hear if anyone has any idea how to remedy this – besides sending my husband off to a bar on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays… because cable would be cheaper than that bar tab!

    • Well first of all, I don’t think your hubby needs to watch football four nights a week! Anyway, now that I got that out of my system, couldn’t he just watch his local sports team with regular antenna TV? I get the Lions on Fox almost every week. If he just likes football, but doesn’t care if it’s live, then he could sign up with game rewind. If you live outside of the U.S., then you could actually sign up with live streaming NFL games online, but I suspect this doesn’t help you out.

      Another option could be Sling TV. For $20 a month, you could get these channels online: ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel, ABC Family, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, TNT, CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim.

  2. Hubby can’t go without baseball. Would the chromecast stick work for that?

  3. I have chromecast and it was a great investment for me! I play everything on my tv. I have access to netflix and hbo go through family so I really spend very little on that now!

    • I’m actually using it again right now! I kind of fell asleep during the Michigan State game list night, so I’m watching the recorded game online and casting it with Chromecast! 🙂

  4. We just stream from our computer. It works just as well as cable did.

    • Sure does! I absolutely love it. Thanks for the comment, Michelle!

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