It’s the most wonderful time of the year: fall TV season is here, and rarely have so many shows been so hotly anticipated. But with so many great shows on so many different networks, figuring out a cable-cutting strategy can get…complicated.
The average cable bill hit a staggering $103.10 per month this year, according to Leichtman Research Group. Fortunately, thanks to streaming services, it’s more than possible to cut out cable and still catch your favorite shows at a much more reasonable price. Here’s how.
The main players for our purposes are Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and SlingTV. The first three offer original content that reviewers say is “can’t-miss,” while the latter allows you to stream many network shows when they’re broadcast.
Now for the costs. Amazon Prime will run you $99 per year (order here), but of course that also gets you free two-day delivery and tons of other perks. If you chose to pay monthly it’s $10.99, but we’ll use the $99 figure and divide by 12, getting us to $8.25 for access to shows like Fleabag, Transparent, and Good Girls Revolt.
Hulu costs $7.99 per month, with a commercial-free option for $11.99, and gets you access shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox the day after they air. Plus, Hulu is cranking out worthwhile originals like Casual and The Mindy Project. We’ll use the with-commercials price (though if you’re like me, you will find Hulu’s ads and the requirement to select which “ad experience you prefer” incredibly annoying. I would prefer no ad experience, Hulu).
Netflix raised prices this year, to $9.99 per month. That caused a lot of outrage, but for original shows like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, and tons of original movies, it’s still well worth the price.
Finally, we have SlingTV, a $20-per-month service that gets you access to ESPN, A&E, Comedy Central, Viceland, and more. Shell out an extra $5 per month, and you can watch shows on Fox, USA, NBC, and FX in select markets at the same time they’re broadcast. It’s a pretty good deal. We’ll go with the $25 option.
So, if you sign up for each of those services, you’re paying $46.23, less than half the average cable plan (granted, you do have to pay for Wifi). If you add on Hulu’s Showtime extension for $8.99 per month, plus HBO Now for $14.99, you still come out ahead.
Below you’ll find out how to watch some of the most popular shows of the fall season.