alternatives to cable

My husband and I don’t have cable. When we go on vacation and stay somewhere with DirecTV or Dish Network, we get a little excited. More times than not, however, we end up flipping through roughly 100 channels and saying, “There’s nothing to watch.” It reinforces what we already know- we’re so glad we don’t have cable.

Nowadays, there are alternatives to cable that are much less expensive and work just as well. Consider subscribing to one of the three streaming services below. Here’s a quick comparison between Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime so you can determine which services fit best into your watching style.

1. Netflix streams the largest library of movies and TV shows right to your TV with just a few clicks. Netflix has original programming and this past year, 3 of its shows received Emmy nominations – Arrested Development, Hemlock Grove, and House of Cards. All of this for only $8/month (depending on your local taxes)! Another perk of Netflix is that you can watch your shows and movies without commercials or advertisements. The downside of Netflix is their delay in obtaining current shows; it takes anywhere from 3 months to 1 year for newer shows to become available, which may not be ideal for you.

2. More current shows become available more quickly on Hulu Plus, which is your 2nd streaming option. The cost is similar to Netflix at only $8/month and you can watch entire seasons or the most recent episodes of your favorite shows. Unlike Netflix, Hulu Plus has commercials and you’re generally not able to fast forward through them.

3. The third option for streaming is Amazon Prime, which most people think of as Amazon’s version of a service where you pay a small annual fee but in turn receive free 2-day shipping or other discounted shipping rates. But in the U.S. Amazon Prime also includes Amazon Instant Video- the instant streaming of selected movies and TV shows at no additional cost.  All this for approximately $7 per month and don’t forget to throw in one free e-book per month as well. Unlike Hulu Plus, however, you may have to pay extra for some of the latest shows.

This list gives you some of the benefits and challenges you may experience when switching to Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime. Try giving up cable for 3 months to start and see how you do! You may be able to watch all the same shows or movies you watch now but while saving a little bit of money!