Save thousands of dollars while watching the TV shows you love
I'd like to help you save thousands of dollars by showing you how to set up free and cheap alternatives to cable and satellite TV. And it's completely legal!
The average cable customer spends $75 a month on cable. That's $900 per year for the rest of your life, or about $45,000 in your lifetime! Why pay when you can watch many of the same shows for much less or free? People are dropping cable in record numbers (an estimated 114,000 people abandoned cable in Q1 2013). Why not figure out how to watch TV without paying for cable starting right now?
The solution to the ridiculous cost of cable TV is to switch to FREE broadcast TV using an antenna for the network shows (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, etc.). If you want to rent videos as well, you can connect your TV to a device like Google Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV. It's all explained on disableMycable.
Did you know that many people can receive the major network channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW), plus PBS and local stations in Hi-Def for free? It's called broadcast digital TV. (I was able to get thirty channels total). It takes a little leg work to set it up, but I'll guide you through it.
To see which channels YOU can get using an antenna, click the big Station Finder button below and enter your zip code. You will see a map of your area. Wait a few seconds for the colored list of stations to appear on the left. You should be able to pick up the green and yellow channels with a good antenna like the Mohu Leaf. The ones in orange will require lots of tweaking or an outdoor antenna. The list is not exact, but will give you a ballpark idea of the number of channels you should be able to get.
If the stations you want are available, then keep going! If not, skip down to other options.
A quick test (if you have a flat-screen TV)
If you have a modern flat-screen TV (the kind that you can hang on a wall), all you need is an antenna to get these channels, and you'll be getting most of them in high-definition, often in better quality than you got with cable!
If you don't have an antenna right now, here is a quick-and-dirty way to test your TV to see if it will work:
For detailed instructions on how to hook up your antenna and configure your TV, go to the broadcast TV page on this site!
If you have an old analog tube TV
If you have an old analog tube TV, you'll need to get a converter box in order to use an antenna.
Want a sleek indoor antenna that's almost as thin as a sheet of paper? I tried this amazing technology out and found it to be better than a bulky metal antenna, for less money! Check out my full Mohu Leaf review!
The white sheet on the right is the Mohu Leaf Antenna, not much bigger than a piece of paper. It brings in more channels than the bulky metal antenna on the left! You can hang it on a wall behind a picture frame!
Other alternatives to cable and satellite TV
My other main source of free TV programming comes from the Internet. Most of the major networks have websites with FREE full recent episodes. Check out my Internet Remote Control for links to all of these free TV sites. The main catch is that you can only watch them on a desktop or laptop computer. Most of these sites don't work on a tablet or on any set-top boxes.
If you are willing to pay a little, there are a plethora of set-top boxes and services that offer on-demand programming from the Internet. Examples include the Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. These devices connect to the Internet through your Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable and stream movies and shows to your TV. It's like having a movie rental store in your home. If you have a gaming console (Wii, XBOX, PS3), you already have what you need. More info on set-top boxes here.
Once you have one of these boxes, you can stream programs from pay-per-show sites like Amazon, iTunes, and others. Or, you can subscribe to a service like Netflix and Hulu Plus and stream unlimited shows for a fixed monthly fee. Here's an overview of media services.
Personally, I am a cheapskate. I don't want to pay anything to watch TV. If you want to watch all of the free video from the Internet on your TV, you can connect your computer directly to your TV, bypassing the need for a set-top box. Most modern flat-screen TV's have a computer input. If you have an old computer lying around, why not try it? If your TV doesn't have a computer input, you can still do this if you get a video output card or usb interface for your computer. Go to my computer+TV page for more info.
Don't forget about borrowng DVDs from friends and family, and from your local library!
I just got a hold of the Google Chromecast and I'm liking it more than either Roku or Apple TV! It offers true unfettered Internet access on your TV screen, as long as you have a laptop or computer, along with WiFi.! Read my full review of Chromecast on my blog or buy it here!
How to save money if you want to keep cable
What if you want to keep cable? If you love to watch sports in real time played by teams that are not in your local area, cable/satellite are probably the only viable options for you. If you live in a remote area, far from digital TV transmitters, you might not be able to get good broadcast reception. If you don't want to deal with antennas, websites, set-top boxes, and the like, or if you simply enjoy surfing through lots of channels without putting much thought into what you want to watch, cable is for you.
Here are some ways to save money if you keep cable:
Negotiate with your cable company. Call them up and tell them you want to cancel cable because it's too expensive. When I did this, they immediately offered me a $15 discount off of my $57/month cable bill if I agreed to a one year contract. This is an unpublished rate. That still wasn't worth it for me, so I passed on it, but it's there if you want it.
Cut the extras. Take a look at your bill and see if you're really using all of the services you're paying for. If you cut a movie channel package, for example, would the money saved by cancelling it pay for a Netflix account that would give you greater satisfaction? Cutting down to basic cable has another nice advantage outlined next.
Ditch the cable TV box and remote. If you just want basic cable, you might not need to use the cable TV box - you can try hooking the cable right into your TV (if it is a modern flat-screen LCD/Plasma/LED). The cable TV companies let you believe that you need a cable box to get high-definition. You often don't. In fact, you'll probably get better picture quality by hooking your cable directly to your TV instead of going through the cable box. The difference can be tremendous. Ditch the cable box and remote control "rental fees". (Plus, you'll save $10 to $30 per year in electricity costs - those set-top boxes really use a lot of power!)
If you want to save on your Internet bill as well, check out some ways to cut your Internet bill in half .. If you want to save up to 50% on your cell phone bill, read this article on how to cut your phone bill in half.
I was a loyal cable TV customer for all of my adult life, paying about $34/month for basic cable. Then I moved to a different city where the cost was $52/month for basic cable. I paid it and figured, "well, that's just the cost of getting TV". More and more, however, I realized that I wasn't getting good TV. I was just surfing through the channels over and over looking for good TV. Then, my 6-month "introductory cable rate" ended and my cable bill went up to $57/month. Sure, it was only a few dollars more, but that was the last straw. After a few months of putting up with the higher cost and lack of good shows, I decided to disableMycable and try broadcast digital TV. The first thing I tried was an old rabbit-ear antenna that I had from the pre-digital TV days... Read the rest of the story here.
People have asked me for an easy way to watch their favorite TV shows on the Internet. Here it is: your Internet TV Remote Control! I've assembled the best sources of free TV on the Internet and put them on one easy-to-use page . To get it for free, click the image and bookmark it!
Note, these channels mostly work on desktop and laptop computers, not tablets. :-(
Like disableMycable on Facebook for the latest tips, reviews, and comments from me and other users looking for sources of free and cheap TV! Go to the disableMycable Facebook page here! Or, sign up for my email newsletter for tips and tricks every so often in your inbox (no ads, I promise!)
For more articles on free and cheap sources of TV, check out the disableMycable Blog which features more updated information and articles!
Read this site like a book!
If you want to read this entire site sequentially like a book, click the "Next Article" links at the bottom of each page. They will take you through every page of this site except for the questionnaires!
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