Online Money Tips: Ditch Your Cable and Stream TV for Much Less

Lesson 9: Ditch Your Cable and Stream TV for Much Less


Ditch your cable and stream TV for much less

One of the best ways you can save money is by getting rid of your cable television and switching to a set-top box. Set-top boxes allow you to stream TV shows and other content via the Internet. They offer a much more personalized experience of watching TV and are much cheaper than cable. Let's explain the basics of how they work.

First, you'll need to buy a set-top box for your television. Two of the most popular models are Roku and Apple TV. They are small devices you attach to your TV and then connect with your Internet service.

  • Roku ($59-99) has the advantage of offering the most streaming channels in addition to the ability to play games and any local TV or movie files you own.
Image of Roku
  • Apple TV ($99) has an easy user interface and offers the ability to stream content you have purchased via iTunes. If you own an iPad or iPhone, you can mirror it to your TV via AirPlay.
image of Apple TV

Other streaming devices include Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, and game consoles like the Xbox One and the PS4. Many new television sets also now have their own streaming hardware built-in, so if you are in the market for a new TV you might consider this alternative.

Next, you'll need to sign up for and subscribe to a streaming service. Set-top boxes come with channels—with apps like YouTube, Pandora, or the NBA—that allow you to stream and watch content for free. However, Netflix and Hulu Plus are the two most popular channels for streaming television. Both require a monthly subscription, but at $7.99 per month, they cost considerably less than cable.

  • Netflix allows you to stream previous seasons of television shows commercial-free, along with a solid selection of movies and other videos.
  • Hulu Plus gives you the advantage of streaming current television shows along with past seasons, movies, clips, and more. However, streaming comes with a minimal amount of commercial advertising.