Survey data shows most people plan to abandon cable within 10 years — but why wait?
The cord-cutting movement is here, and thanks to all the available services out there, it’s easy to replace cable with one or a variety of streaming options.
First we’ll look at the best online apps and services to watch movies and TV shows, and then we’ll show you the best hardware you can buy to put all that multimedia on your big screen.
These solutions are the next best thing to live TV — and you’ll be saving much more money in the long run.
Hulu Plus is still one of the best ways to watch TV shows from the major networks, including NBC, ABC, BBC, and FOX.
Price: $US8 per month, $US96 per year
Amazon lets you buy or rent more than 150,000 movies or TV shows from its massive library -- but if you have Amazon Prime, you get unlimited access to more than 40,000 titles, which includes HBO's backlog of TV shows and miniseries, as well as Amazon's original series like 'Transparent.'
Price: Rentals cost up to $US6, purchases cost up to $US20; Amazon Prime costs $US99 a year
If you're looking for music, movies, or TV shows, Apple's iTunes Store -- one of the first digital stores -- offers almost everything you could think of. It has all the movies the same day they're released on DVD, and it has nearly every TV show, too -- you can buy episodes individually, or purchase the Season Pass to save a little bit of money and ensure that each new episode downloads immediately. And, if you have an Apple TV, you can stream anything in your iTunes library to your big screen using AirPlay.
Price: TV shows cost up to $US2.99 per episode; films cost up to $US19.99; Season Pass costs vary based on location and number of episodes
Like the iTunes Store, you can find almost any movie, TV show, song or album on Google Play. The massive library has over 22 million songs, and thousands of movies and TV shows to rent or purchase.
Price: TV shows cost up to $US1.99 per episode; films cost up to $US19.99; Season Pass costs vary based on location and number of episodes
From satellite TV company Dish, Sling TV gives you a small package of 10 channels that you can stream on your phone, tablet, computer or TV. The 10 channels you can currently watch include TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, the Disney Channel, ESPN, and ESPN2.
Price: $US20 per month
Like YouTube, Vimeo has a ton of high-quality video content. In particular, Vimeo is a hotbed for indie films and music videos, and it's all HD and ad-free.
Want music videos? You won't miss MTV or VH1 when you've got access to Vevo's massive music video catalogue from more than 21,000 different artists. It's free and all available in HD.
Do you own a ton of media -- movies, TV shows, etc. -- but you don't know how to get it up on your TV? Try Plex, which works with every desktop, mobile and gaming platform you can think of. It lets you store your media collection in the cloud so you can access it on any of your devices, anywhere. It also knows what you're watching across all devices, so you can easily pick up where you left off on another device. It also gives you access to a ton of online content and apps like Vimeo and TED Talks.
Price: $US4.99 a month, $US39.99 a year, or $US149.99 for a lifetime subscription
Sony-backed Crackle offers a surprisingly robust library of movies and TV shows, particularly if you're a fan of classic comedies. Best of all, you can watch it on almost any device you could think of -- and it's all free.
If you're a big fan of CBS programming but don't want to pay for a big cable package, CBS now offers subscriptions to view shows on a monthly basis. The company launched the service in October 2014.
Price: $US6 per month, $US76 per year
Need your news fix? Bloomberg TV live streams its on-air programming around the clock both online via its website and various apps.
If you'd like even more news with a focus on foreign politics and business, Sky News similarly streams its content online and through its various apps at all hours.
You might not find that favourite movie or TV show of yours on one of the major services, but there are always new sites and apps cropping up every day. So, if you're looking for a certain movie, TV show, or anything else you might see on TV, try searching for the title on Google, or your other favourite search engine.
Chromecast is one of the cheapest ways to stream media from the internet or your computer onto your TV. Google's cheap streaming dongle plugs into your HDMI port on your TV, and all you have to do is pick up a phone, tablet or computer to cast those programs. It also supports a host of apps from networks like ESPN and ABC, as well as internet favourites like Hulu Plus, HBO GO, and the game streaming network Twitch.
Apple's TV set-top box has a ton of built-in apps for streaming video and music, and it's constantly adding more channels all the time. If you have iTunes, or any Apple device, you can access any of your movies, music, and TV shows right from Apple TV.
It doesn't have the ability to 'cast' content from other devices to your TV, but Roku has just about everything you want in a set-top box with an easy-to-use interface and plenty of free and paid channels. And as a bonus, you can plug in your headphones into the Roku's remote so you can watch or listen to your content in private, as not to disturb others around you.
If you're an Amazon Prime member, Amazon's streaming box is a great way to stream all the content from Amazon Instant Video, but it's also got powerful processors to handle voice search functionality, and even games. If you're already heavy into the Amazon ecosystem, this is the right streaming hardware for you.