Cable Alternative

Updated on January 03, 2011
R.C. asks from Torrance, CA
15 answers

As I'm gasping at my outrageous cable bill... I'd like to consider other available options for watching TV.
I've heard of hulu / roku / netflix but really clueless as to how this even works and would really like other mom's opinions.
I need to have a vast selection as I have a 3 kids with different tastes and my own parents who obviously have a different preference as well.


3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I (heart) netflix! We have it streaming through the wii. There is a LOT of content for kids. The best part is NO COMMERCIALS!!!!! We ditched cable a couple months ago and could not be happier. I can watch streaming movies (and some tv shows) on my computer or through the wii. We also opted for the 1 dvd at a time because there is so much streaming that we have other stuff to watch while we wait for the next movie. Not to mention that the mailing time is very short. Usually I mail something and by the next morning I get the "we received" email and that day they mail the next one to you. Fast, easy and about $10 a month. Plus, you get a free month trial period.

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

We haven't had cable (even basic) for YEARS.

Hulu is free and Netflix is free for a month, so I'd strongly recommend that you try them.

For us, we usually just stream to the computers (we're a techie family).. but there is also a cord you can plug into your TV if it's newer (past 5 years or so) that takes the info directly to your TV from your computer... OR if you have xBox/playstation or a TV that's only a few years old you can stream directly to your TV through those devices. Some DVD players, as well, will do the streaming option.

We ALSO stream directly from the station sites themselves. Like Hulu, station sites have commercials. Typically 4-5 30 second commercials. And like both Hulu and Netflix you can pause, FF/RW any show at any time. Sometimes they're live (like for sporting events), but mostly they have a 24hour delay.

Of course, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Zune, & Station Sites are all legal.

For Hulu you just click on the show/episode. For Netflix you go to "Watch Instantly" and either add it to your Queue, or click play.

There are tens of thousands of shows on Netflix that are streamable, and hundreds on Hulu. From Kipper the Dog to Lost to Dexter to CSI to Battlestar Galactica. I have something like 40 subscriptions to shows on Hulu, and our Instant Queue has several hundred shows on them. Each familiy member has their own log in, so kids shows are on kiddo's page, school shows are on our school page, and dad & mine are on our page. Makes it handy to keep things seperate. No extra charge on Netflix for splitting the account that way, either. One address, one bill... but we have it split into 4 "accounts". Hulu, since it's free, is also split into our individual accounts.

Not all shows are streamable, which is why we have the DVD option from Netflix in addition to straight streaming.

But seriously... type in, create a profile, and start trying it on your computer. Netflix needs a credit card number even for the free trial, but at only $9-$20 a month and the first month free... hop on and start poking around.

We've never looked back. I can't even *contemplate* returning to expensive cable.

((Note: For premium channel shows... you can download each episode from either amazon or iTunes or just wait for the season to come out. I *cannot* wait for HBO to choose to let us "buy" a show to stream. I'd pay $10 a month just for TrueBlood. Of course, the upside to not watching it weekly, is that I can veg out and marathon the entire series via iTunes on the day that the season finale airs)).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

We've enjoyed Netflix streaming for a couple of years now and have never looked back. Not only do we no longer pay out the nose for cable, we don't even mess with the networks anymore since we're so spoiled about not having commercials anymore. We do the single disc option with Netflix for nine bucks a month with unlimited streaming. We're also going to start trying Hulu as well, I think, as it sounds like it will seriously add to our viewing options.

As Riley said, you can always watch Netflix or Hulu on your computer, but there is also a way to view it on your regular television as well (which is what we do). We use our Playstation3 to access Netflix on our TV, but the other major gaming systems are an option as well. If you don't have any of those (and don't want them), you can always purchase a Roku....which is basically something that you hook up to your TV that allows you to stream on it. I think they start at like sixty bucks and there's no monthly subscription or fees or anything like that so it's literally a one-time expense.

Really, the control you have over not only your money, but also the kind of content that is viewed in your's priceless. And I can't even TELL you what a joy it is to say goodbye to those obnoxious commercials.

Netflix has a wide variety of shows with something to please every age group. Sign up for a free trial and browse their "instant" selection to see what's out there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We also do netflix. We have a Wii and that is what we use to stream the netflix on our tv. We have the option to have 2 discs for like $15 per month and have unlimited streaming. The only thing I do miss about cable is flipping channels. You have to choose something to watch and then when it is done turn it off or make another choice. It is awesome for my son during the day bc there is a ton of selection for kids and no commercials to fill his brain with all the stuff he might want. So if you have a gaming system like the Wii or PS2 or 3 you should be good to go if you want to try it. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

My husband works in the media internet field. Most of the TV shows can be found on the internet these days. Go to (TV guide for the internet) to find what show you are interested in. They also have a TIVO/DVR like component to track everything you want to watch! There is also something you can buy to hook your computer right up to the TV to watch it on your enlarged TV screen. Like someone else wrote there is also google TV - it hasn't really taken off yet. This will be the next big jump in technology but it's not quite happening yet.



answers from Los Angeles on

I can't afford cable or satellite, but have been happy without them. Besides what's on broadcast TV (and there's a lot more available since the digital changeover), I have a netflix subscription, and regularly watch TV online either on Hulu or other websites. My son watches a lot of kids videos on Youtube, or I'll pull up something on Netflix for him. You can find almost any show online if you know where to look. I have had very few problems watching online, and since we have a Wii, we are able to watch quite a bit on the TV in the living room. If you have a Wii connected to your TV, you can connect to Netflix as a Wii channel, and stream movies and TV shows directly. Otherwise you would need a Roku player, which I assume acts something like a cable box. I watch most of my shows on my laptop, and depending on what kind of setup you have, you may be able to connect that to your tv as well. Hulu allows you to watch TV shows on their website. I haven't tried it through the Wii's internet connection, but have been pretty happy watching it on my laptop anyway. Both Hulu and Netflix have a vast selection of material for all age ranges. The biggest difference is that Hulu can be accessed for free on a computer, whereas you have to purchase a Netflix subscription. It has been worth it to me though.



answers from Honolulu on

Google TV
Its new
You can do everything from your TV including watching shows.



answers from Los Angeles on

Netflix is great! You can stream certain movies straight to your tv (if high def). You can also choose to get between 1-9 movies at a time. Unlimited as long as you return tthem. I get 3 at a time and pay abou $20 er month.


answers from San Diego on

We just cancelled our cable (DirecTV) and went with Roku (similar to Apple TV). So far, so good. Will cost about $10/month compared to the $85/month we were paying. Through Roku you can get netflix, amazon on demand, pandora, YouTube, etc. My husband set all of it up, so I'm sorry that I can't give a ton of information. You buy the Roku box (one time fee) and then have access to things like netflix, amazon, etc. He researched all the shows I watch now to find out how best to get them. Even if I were to have to buy every season of every show I watch on Amazon on Demand, it would still be cheaper than our yearly cable bill. I believe we also have Hulu through windows media that he set up on our tv. He is the super techie guy, so I let him go with it, but Roku has thus far been very good and inexpensive. Our neighbors, who also have a 2 year old, have Apple TV and they love it.

If you want something easy to start, start with streaming Netflix on Demand through your computer, or even better (if you have one) through your Wii, Xbox, etc.



answers from Wichita on

i love hulu. just go to and it will let you watch the last 5 episodes of most shows. I also have netflix, where you can get the dvds of any past season, and some you can watch online. I've been rewatching Highlander and Hercules and Xena via hulu and netflix.

Some channels will allow you to watch shows on their website. Psych, for example, you can watch on usa's website.



answers from Washington DC on

We didn't have cable for 14 years. We only have it now because the kids are older and there are actually some really good programs on Discovery and The History Channel.
As it is I would like to cancel it all. We don't even watch enough to warrant the cost. My hubby really likes his late night shows though.



answers from Los Angeles on

I have 9 kids from babies to adults. We use netflix all the time through our bluray dvd player. You select movies online to put on your instant que and when you turn it on it shows up on your tv. We've been really happy with it. Some shows you can watch online for free on your computer if your having withdrawls. Hope that helps!




answers from Phoenix on

We used rabbit ears for years and just watched our shows on That way we could watch our shows whenever we wanted instead of DVR. Now we have Direct TV Satelite and it's very cheap. We have everything, cable channels, DVR, HD TV for under $60 a month. We had to sign a contract for 2-3 years, I can't remember which it was, and our last year of our contract we will have to pay $85 a month, but that's still cheaper than our $165 monthly cable bill.


answers from Norfolk on

It might seem drastic at first, but maybe you could try quitting cold turkey.
Cancel cable and don't replace it.
After the initial with-drawl period, you'll be reading more, watching a few things on DVD, playing board games, playing outside more etc.
Some people who quit tv really enjoy being without it after awhile.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I hope you get good answers, I would love to have some alternatives to the same few episode rover and over of Suite Life on Deck, Hannah Montana, Good Luck Charlie, etc...I don't mind them just would love to be able to offer some other form on TV entertainment.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions