If you have an Internet connection, you can probably ditch your pricey cable television subscription without noticing even a hiccup in your viewing habits. You’ll still be able to watch all the shows you love, and will even find some new favourites.
By combining a number of streaming services, you can enjoy almost all the same programming you get out of a cable subscription while saving money in the process.
Netflix — $US7.99 per month
Netflix is a gilded repository of filmed entertainment. It’s probably the most ubiquitous streaming service out there, best known as a source for movies while also offering full seasons of television and its own original content (“House of Cards,” anyone?).
We love Netflix for its two distinct type of “new releases” — the stuff that’s fresh from the movie theatres, and the older-but-still-great stuff that Netflix acquires the rights to and makes available to its customers.
Hulu+ — $US7.99 per month
Use Hulu+ for watching your TV shows a day or two after they’ve aired. It covers plenty of cable and broadcast channels’ content, from “The Good Wife” to “The Daily Show” to “Saturday Night Live” (all the way back to season one!).
There are minimal ads, but we consider that a reasonable trade for such quick turnaround time in streaming new shows.
Aereo — $US8 per month
Use Aereo to keep up with live sporting events or other special television happenings.
Aereo takes your area’s over-the-air television signals and puts it online. Your monthly fee pays to rent a physical antenna in a data center, where it picks up signals and sends them straight to your computer or device. Because it’s online, Aereo has some handy DVR-like features built into its service, letting you pause live TV and record shows for later.
Aereo is the only streaming service able to effectively offer live sporting events since it’s capturing a signal that’s already going out over the airwaves in realtime.
The downside here is geographic — Aereo is limited to some major cities. Check out the company’s site to make sure you’re included.
Amazon Instant Video — free with Amazon Prime membership
You might consider this Amazon’s response to Netflix. I’ve always thought of Amazon’s Instant Video streaming service something of a nice-to-have, rather than an essential, outlet for streaming media junkies. You can generally find its offerings elsewhere, but don’t be fooled — there are still some great gems tucked away.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, the best part is that you already pay for the service, so start taking advantage of it. Download the free iOS app here.
HBO GO — must be an HBO subscriber
This one’s straightforward — if you should happen to subscribe to HBO, you can take advantage of HBO GO, the streaming service that makes all HBO content available on-demand. This includes its original series, documentaries, as well as whatever movies it’s playing at that time.
Apple TV — $US99
Want to take advantage of streaming media, but want it on your TV? The Apple TV pulls together Netflix, Hulu+, HBO GO, and more to turn your television into a proper media center. If you have an Apple computer at home, that only makes it more capable. You can stream your music and movies to the TV, or even mirror the desktop over Wi-Fi.
Roku 3 — $US99
If you want Apple TV-like functionality without the Apple brand name attached, Roku is your best bet. Stream TV, watch movies, and even play games. We love the fact that the remote control even has a headphone jack so you can listen to shows without disturbing anyone.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.