The Cheapest Ways To Watch TV In The US Today
It’s hard to conceive of a world without television. A wide variety of shows are available at all hours. Variety shows, docuseries, comedies, dramas, etc. You find yourself staring at it for what seems like an eternity. This article details the most cost-effective and popular methods of consuming television in the United States right now.
The average American watches TV for three hours and forty-six minutes a day, or more than fifty-two days a year, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co.
The average American will have been glued to a tube for almost nine years by the time they are 65.
Every week, parents and kids have meaningful conversations for 38.5 minutes.
According to the same BLS survey, people watch TV more frequently on average in the fall and winter (from October to March). Though we’re just guessing, it might have something to do with the perfect weather for “Netflix and chill” during those months. You know, with just enough chilly air to make you want to cuddle up under the covers with someone.
But there’s a reason why shows compete for that primetime TV slot on any given day. The most popular time to watch TV is between 8 and 9 p.m., when slightly under 60% of people watch on weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Roughly 50% of people watch TV between 7 and 8 p.m., and 55% continue to do so between 9 and 10 p.m.
Cost: One time payment of $25 to $100
If you own a TV, you can watch the major networks without a subscription, though you might need to buy an HDTV antenna.
You can get more local channels with a TV antenna. They function particularly well if you intend to cut the cord or have already done so. These live over-the-air channels may be PBS, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, or NBC affiliates, or they may be independent stations.
Financial advisor and football fanatic Clark Howard says he loves his digital antenna because it gives him a crisp picture on his TV. Watch the video above to learn more about TV antennas from Clark.
It used to be possible for televisions with integrated over-the-air antennas to receive the basic channels without a subscription. Since most contemporary TVs are no longer equipped with antennas, you will need to buy an additional indoor HDTV antenna to complete the set. They can cost anywhere between $25 and $100, and you can find them at big-box stores like Best Buy and Target. Furthermore, installing them is not too difficult. If you want even better reception, you can also spend an additional $50 to $150 on an outdoor antenna, but the installation is more challenging.
An indoor digital antenna is attached to a single TV in order to receive over-the-air programming.
Despite being the simplest to install, not everyone will have success using this antenna. This type typically functions best in cities with adjacent broadcast towers.
Placing a single digital TV antenna near a window or higher up on a wall may improve its signal.
One of Team Clark’s members has a Mohu Leaf, a popular indoor digital antenna that he connects to the back of his TV to receive local channels. He attaches it to the back of his TV with a Velcro strip so it’s out of sight.
AntennaWeb is the best place to look for the best digital TV antenna for your house. You can review antenna recommendations from participating Consumer Technology Association (CTA) vendors there and input your address or ZIP code.
For every search, AntennaWeb provides options from multiple companies; compare those choices to find the best value for your money.
Asking your neighbors might be another way to learn if installing an antenna would be beneficial for you. Although this method may seem archaic, an antenna’s ability to pick up signals varies greatly depending on its location. It’s possible that your neighbors have already experimented a bit before settling on a TV antenna they adore.
Cost: Monthly charges of $50 to $150, more for premium channels.
Get a cable or satellite service if you want to be able to browse through fifty or hundreds of channels. You are agreeing to pay a monthly amount that will most likely turn out to be significantly more than you anticipated and may increase after a predetermined amount of time. The price of cable could range from $50 to $150.
Though the more cost-effective options offer fewer channels, the best cable TV replacement services include the majority of the broadcast, entertainment, news, and sports channels you want to watch. If you have the appropriate service, you can even watch live streams of the Premier League. Indeed, the service that TG’s Henry T. Casey and Kelly Woo ultimately decided to cut the cord on is also the top choice on this list. Here’s what our Global Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer did when he cancelled his cable service recently.
The number of subscribers has declined slightly in recent years. Yet roughly 65% of U.S. households still pay for TV services.
Netflix has become a heavy hitter in the TV-watching world. It has roughly 214 million global paid memberships. Users stream nearly 6 billion hours of TV shows and movies each month.
Its popularity pales in comparison to Netflix. Hulu is still making a name for itself in the streaming TV services realm. It has 43.8 million subscribers as of 2021.
Amazon has been cagey about releasing hard numbers on subscribers. It has an estimated 200 million subscribers.
Cost: Monthly charges from $0 with ads to $20 each
It seems that more Americans watch internet streaming TV these days than cable TV.
As of July, most households watched content online instead of cable or broadcast TV, according to new Nielsen data, which further highlights how online streaming is taking over TV viewing habits.
A whopping 34.8% of TV viewing last month was done online. Comparatively speaking, cable TV accounted for 34.4% of the total. Even though it might not seem important, Nielsen believes this to be the first time it has occurred.
Getting cable or satellite makes more sense if you can live with just one streaming service. However, you will require numerous subscriptions and the cost will mount up quickly if you want to watch different services’ shows, such as “Bluey” on Disney Plus, “House of the Dragon” on HBO Max, or “Never Have I Ever” on Netflix.
Netflix was the best streaming service overall, but HBO Max has been leading the way as a fantastic movie substitute for the past year. Furthermore, big red isn’t helping itself by raising prices; at the start of 2022, Netflix lost more subscribers than it acquired.
The streaming team at Tom’s Guide watches a lot of content on both platforms, both for our own enjoyment and to keep track of which service gets more love than the other. We kept returning to the same startling conclusion over the course of the previous year. Even though the HBO Max app can be a pain at times, HBO’s content and the way it is organized make it better than average. The one new problem is that HBO Max appears to be releasing content at an odd rate.
The extensive list of the greatest Netflix series is enough to keep some of us hooked, even though some of us have cancelled our accounts only to return later. Netflix’s biggest recent hit, Stranger Things 4, consistently ranks in the top 5 daily. The majority of the standard features that competitors took years to realize mattered were also available on Netflix. and there are enough reasons to sign up because of the content.
Owing to its affordability and high level of customization, Sling TV stands out among the top streaming services for live TV. Even with the January price increase to $35 (from $30), it is still only $30 less expensive than services like YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV. But not everyone is a fan of the new app design.
Your local library has the answer if saving money or viewing more obscure films and television series are your top priorities. To access their website and see what services—like Kanopy and Hoopla—they provide for streaming or downloading TV series and movies, use your library account. For a throwback movie night, you can also check out DVDs from your neighborhood library.
You can download free streaming apps for your phone or a device like a Roku that are sponsored by advertisements. Search for Pluto TV, IMDBtv, Crackle, Vudu, Fox’s Tubi TV, and Roku’s own channel. You can stream free movies from YouTube using the app or website.
Additionally, there are numerous ways to obtain the large subscriptions through trial periods that are free of charge. For instance, a new Apple device includes three months of Apple TV Plus free of charge. For new customers on its most expensive 5G plan, Verizon provides free access to Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus.
Limited trials are also available for some of its less expensive plans. When making any hardware purchases, inquire about trials and check with your mobile provider about any available offers. Examine any other memberships you may hold, such as Target Circle, which provides free Apple services for four months or more, including Arcade, Fitness Plus, and iCloud.
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