Alternative to Cable ---Netflix + Internet Shows???

Updated on January 04, 2012
J.F. asks from Bloomington, IN
11 answers

Our cable bill will go up in another month and I'm trying to figure out the best way to get the programming we have for far less. We currently pay $106 a month for high speed internet and digit cable (DVR + modem rental). We really only have two tv's hooked up and the one in our bedroom is so rarely used. If we just pay for the internet and modem rental, I think it will be around $45 a month before taxes.

So, we've been thinking of doing Netflix for $7.99 a month for all the kids' programming and movies and then use the internet to watch our weekly shows. Currently we DVR all our regular shows anyway and normally do not watch them the same night, so I don't think watching them a day later will matter.

Has anyone on here done this? What do you miss the most? We don't have an antenna and the closest local stations are almost 60 miles away (and we have lots of rolling hills between Indy and here).

I'm open to ideas and options. Just trying to save some money each month. I'm sure I can renegotiate a cheaper bill with Comcast next month, but if I can save serious money from what I'm paying now, I'm willing to do that too.


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So What Happened?

We are currently using the free Netflix trial - they have Nick shows (Dora, Blues Clues, etc.). I just don't like the fact we can't stream more current movies from them. For instance we haven't seen A LOT of movies that came out in the past 4 years and couldn't stream Sherlock Holmes the other night. It is only available on DVD ....for another $7.99 a month. Argh.

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answers from Seattle on

We use a combination of Netflix and Hulu Plus. And we don't miss a thing! You'll also be able to find a lot of movies on TubePlus (which is free), so you might think about that.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

We have been doing this for over ten years. Occasionally we have trouble finding some of the newer episodes, but a good google hunt and patience and we usually find it.

Hulu keeps you up to date on the network shows, we don't pay for Hulu plus, we just use the free stuff.

And Netflix "Watch it Now" is awesome. Their library gets better and better.

If you upgrade to Amazon prime you also have access to their shows, but their library is NOT great and not easy to navigate. Do not upgrade to get the tv benefits, but enjoy them if you already have the prime.

Most of the tv channels have full episodes available too. Network channels post them a bit later and still have commercials, but you can watch there too. Nickelodeon and Disney often post full episodes of their shows too.

Don't discount the library. We get many new release movies from the local library for free. Many libraries have share lending with other larger libraries, so check into that if your branch is smaller and not as up to date.

My hubby is not a sports fanatic, so we don't mind not having access to all the sports stuff. But he does like to watch certain games and is sometimes disappointed that they aren't airing on network stations. But he gets over it and it hasn't motivated him to shell out money on cable.

The initial "shock" of no cable is hardest. After a bit you won't really miss it. When you are somewhere with cable you'll be in awe of the channels and a little jealous. Then you start flipping and realize that there is nothing on tv. There will be that overlap like you have now where you have seen "everything" but after a bit of time, the "older new" stuff on Netflix will be all new to you. If you are really wanting the newer stuff upgrading to one movie at a time is also an option that will still be significantly cheaper than cable. We did that for a long time, but cancelled all DVDs about three months ago. We just weren't really watching them and it seemed like money wasted. We haven't really missed it. On rare weekend nights we may splurge and rent a movie, but it's less than once a month. We really don't miss cable at all. It's been a great choice for us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

We do what babysmama does. We pay a little more for a higher download speed and get hulu plus and Netflix through our computer in one room and the PS3 in another room. I made a choice many many years ago that I would not rely on the tv to be our main source of entertainment. We've NEVER had cable.
So, our [email protected] landline=$50/mo. Hulu is $8 and Netflix is $10 (streaming only). That is more tv than we even know what to do with.

Our indoor antenna is useless b/c we have aluminum siding on our house, so we rarely watch local tv unless I'm willing to mess with the antenna.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Honestly, I don't miss anything from cable. We've been doing Netflix instant streaming for years, and honestly, we use it like TV.

The shows for children are never ending, and it's not just a bunch of garbage like cable...there are some really good shows, plus old things that I love (like Popeye, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Fraggle Rock, etc.)

There are TONS of good movies, but honestly, with all the TV shows I hardly even get time to watch movies. There are sooo many good shows. I can't believe cable can even compete anymore.

Oh...I miss Fox. I can't seem to get it to come in for the last four or five months (we do have antennas) and I know American Idol is coming up, and I'm a little bummed because no matter how I tweak it, it just won't come in!!

Also...we only have 1.5 internet and that's plenty fast to stream all our movies and shows. We've never had a problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

You got it completely right. We live far from town too, so antenna won't work. We have our computer set up so that the TV is our second monitor, basically. I dont know the technicallities of it all with HDMI cables and wireless receivers and all. But it is a new TV and I know it wouldn't work with our old boob tube.

So yes - make sure your internet is fast (ours is 8.6 Mbps). You can test your speed free here:

We get on netflix (7.99). Mostly used for kid shows or old tv shows. Not a ton of great new movies on there IMO.

Hulu is free for the most part. If you don't stay on top of shows, or want to watch last season's, you would have to pay $8 or $9 for them also. We just watch whatever is free. Maybe one day we'll want huluplus (for the added fee) but for now, we are completely satisfied with what they offer for free.

If you want a new movie release, there's likely a Redbox at the nearest gas station near you - to rent a movie for $1 a night.

So every month, we pay for our internet and Netflix. The way I see it, I save about $80 a month since we don't do cable. We'd have the internet no matter what, so I don't include that in my savings.

What do I miss? I miss not being able to use an actual remote to press pause (gotta use the mouse). I miss not being able to just flip thru the channels looking for something to just have on while I cooked or folded laundry. But that second one is a pro I think. I listen to the radio more and don't have on the tv unless we're watching it. So I likely save on electricity too.

I say go for it. Worse case? You hate it and miss some shows. You can get tv back and watch reruns of what you missed in the summertime. However, depending on your regular shows, it's hard to "miss" any shows thanks to hulu. Oh, but I do miss the news. I have NO idea what's going on in the world unless I hear it when I'm in the car driving.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I don't miss anything... but this is what we've been doing for YEARS now. I'm trying toremember the last time we had cable and can't. Maybe 5 or 6 years ago? Longer? Ditto, no antenna (we'd get maybe 6 crappy stations that I'm happy not to have).

We use Netflix & Hulu+ & xBoxLive (which has ESPN live coverage of games, ZUNE for downloading rentals, but so does iTunes)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

We are getting the 99$ Roku box and dropping cable at the end of football season. We have netflix already.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We made this switch over a year ago. Our kids find plenty to watch on Netflix (or PBS shows), and I find most of the shows I want using hulu plus (I think this is $8 too). You might want to make a list of shows that are important to you or the kids and see if you can find them on line. Browse the netflix listings and internet listings. At first, we missed Nickelodeon shows, but over the long run that hasn't been an issue. Overall, I'm happy with the switch!

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answers from Madison on

We were on DISH satellite and just dropped our satellite TV for Netflix. We were paying only $20/month for Dish satellite but there was never enough on TV that we were interested in watching. Netflix closts us $8/month. So we're saving a little. Then we went out and bought a small indoor antennae for our HDTV receiver-ready TV, so we're able to watch any of the "free" HDTV channels in our area.

So far we've never been at a loss for something to watch on Netflix. Right now we're working our way through all of the shows on Law and Order and Law and Order: Criminal Intent, plus there are tons and tons of TV shows that we've never watched. I'd say there should be quite a few shows for us to watch and be entertained with for quite a while. I'm also happy to see all of the documentaries, which I personally really like.

Our Internet/e-mail is hooked in with our short/long distance phone service, our WIFI, and my cell phone, so that doesn't even come into play (not happy on how much landlines charge for phones...will be looking further into that).

Oh! When our daughter had a sleepover over New Year's weekend and monopolized the downstairs rec room (we only have one TV, and it's down there), my husband checked her computer in her room and found that we were able to "tap into" Netflix. So while she had her friend over and they were able to be by themselves, hubby and I were able to sit in her room and watch a movie and a TV show. I'm not sure if it would have worked if they were also watching a show off Netflix in the basement (they were watching a DVD movie at the time), but it was nice for us!

That's the only downside to Netflix; you don't get the most recently released movies. But that's okay. There are more than enough movies to pick from, including some very interesting international movies.



answers from Cleveland on

We have "lifeline" cable which is $9.99/mo just for reception for the standard TV channels. Due to tree coverage, this works best for us. We had to keep asking, "anything less?" Cable companies don't advertise it. We also use Netflix and request movies that I pick up Friday nights from the library. For those of you using Hulu, does that work through your xbox and/or TV as Netflix does? How does Roku work? Is this like Tivo where you also pay a monthly fee?



answers from Cleveland on

What we do is we bought a roku that has internet tv basically. So we subscribe to Hulu plus, and Netflix (streaming only) and play on. Worth it for us.

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