How to Get Rid of Cable TV

If you've had enough of rising cable or satellite bills, it's easier than ever to cut that cord and get your favorite TV shows, movies and sports from other sources. Over-the-air broadcasts are free to access, and there are a host of monthly Internet services to choose from, but you have to do your homework. Compare how much you're spending on your current service with the cost to get your favorite programs elsewhere.

HD television in living room (with screen clipping path)
A digital antenna gives you HDTV without a monthly bill.
credit: StudioQ1/iStock/Getty Images

Add an Antenna

A digital antenna is the most cost efficient way to get local TV. An indoor digital antenna costs about $50 and works with televisions manufactured since 2009 without the need of a converter. Unlike the rabbit ears of a generation ago, digital antennas give you picture-perfect HDTV. The picture is even better than cable because your cable box compresses signals to share space with hundreds of channels, and sometimes telephone and Internet, while over-the-air signals roam free. Some indoor models have a range of about 30 miles -- 50 miles for certain indoor/outdoor models -- and aren't hindered by obstacles as much as old-style antennae, but keep your surrounding terrain in mind when deciding on whether to supplement the indoor antenna with an outdoor extension.

Upgrade Your Internet

Examine your Internet service plan and compare it to other available plans. A basic Internet package, for example, may limit you to 5GB per month with an extra charge for every 1GB you go over. A single HDTV show can be over 1GB. Look for the highest speeds available and unlimited monthly data. Don't forget to ask about bundles that include free access to online TV shows and sports subscriptions. If you don't already have a smart TV, a streaming video set-top box can connect your TV to the Internet. Boxes like Apple TV, Google Nexus Player, Amazon Fire TV and Roku are all competitively priced.

Subscribe to a Streaming Service

For a few dollars every month, you can access thousands of TV shows and movies with streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. As more people make the move away from cable, expect the range of choices to expand. In October 2014, both HBO and CBS announced new streaming services that let you access programs online for a monthly fee.

Strategize Your Viewing

Keep track of your spending. Breaking free of cable or satellite means depending on multiple sources. The cost of a few online subscriptions, a weekly movie rental and a few TV shows each week can quickly outstrip your old cable bill, not to mention the cost of upgraded Internet service. Check out free options on your antenna or directly from the broadcasters apps before buying TV episodes. If you subscribe to a streaming video service, check their upcoming releases before renting or buying a movie. Hundreds of blogs devote content to keeping you informed of release dates months ahead of time.