How We Watch TV Without Cable Service

A number of you have written asking about our TV-watching setup, and I’m finally getting around to writing about it today.

You probably know that here at Chez Frugal Girl, we don’t like to spend a lot of time glued to the TV screen (Honestly, the computer screen is much more tempting to me!)

However, we do like to watch TV sometimes and as you might guess, we’re not big fans of paying a cable TV bill.

So, we use a few alternative services. Mr. FG is solely responsible for researching, purchasing, and installing all of this stuff*, and I’m having him fact-check this post so I get it all right for you!

*I don’t do techie stuff around here except for blog-related things. I’m blissfully content to let him handle it all. ;)


Ok. So, one of the main tools we use to get content to our TV is our Roku Box.

Roku is a leetle box that allows you to stream content straight to your TV. If you’ve been streaming content to your small-screened laptop, this will open up whole new vistas for you!

You can buy a Roku Box, for between $49.99 and $99.99 and there’s no subscription fees or any other ongoing expenses.¬† This is obviously a huge advantage over cable TV, which sucks money from your bank account every month.

The Roku interface has a bunch of channels that are completely free, so if you’re not subscribed to a service like Netflix, you can still access a lot of streaming content like news channels, Pandora, Chow, Flixster,, and local stations. Mr. FG recommends thenowhereman channel and there’s a great list on Wikipedia.


We do have a Netflix streaming account though, and I’d highly recommend it. For $7.99 a month, you get unlimited Netflix streaming movies, TV shows, children’s show, documentaries, and more.

Now, the Netflix streaming library isn’t nearly as extensive as their DVD rental library…if you want a newly-released movie, you’re probably going to be out of luck if you want to stream it. But if you don’t mind watching things that have been out for a while, there’s lots to choose from.

Our kids use this service way more than Mr. FG and I do, actually…they love to watch Fat Albert, Cake Boss, MythBusters, and Shaun the Sheep (Shaun is awesome, you have to admit!)

Mr. FG and I have really enjoyed the documentaries offered on Netflix streaming. We’ve watched documentaries on nature, adventurous living (like the one about people who bike from Banff, CA, to Mexico), the educational system, and the food system. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s available.

If you’re worried about the selection on Netflix streaming, never fear! You can sign up for a free one month trial and you’ll have plenty of time to browse around and see if there’s enough to keep you happy.

If you want more content than what’s offered on Netflix’s streaming services, for an additional $7.99/month, you can get access to their DVD library, and once you’ve got that, the sky is the limit…pretty much anything you could want is available, including things that have been recently released.

Even if you pay for both services each month, your bill will only be $15.98 a month, a sight lower than any great cable package. And that $15.98/month will allow you to watch just about everything you could watch on cable TV.

Amazon Streaming/Prime

Another option is to stream content from Amazon. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get some streaming content free, or you can pay a few dollars to download shows and movies. If you don’t watch a lot of TV, this could be a better option for you than Netflix, but if you watch more than a few shows a week, Netflix is definitely going to save you money.

You can try a free Amazon Prime 30-Day Trial to see if this would be worth it for you.¬† We LOVE our prime membership…the convenience of free shipping, plus the streaming are fabulous and well worth the $99/year.

Broadcast TV

We do still get regular broadcast TV as well…this is free in the U.S. All you need is an antenna, and possibly a digital converter box, depending on the sort of TV you have. I’m not very technically inclined, so I’ll just refer you to this post that explains the process very well. Once again, though, it’s the sort of thing where you buy a little equipment and then you’re set for the foreseeable future. So much better than a monthly bill.

One thing I really like about having Roku and Netflix instead of cable is that you have to be a little more intentional about your TV watching than you’d be otherwise. With a 180-channel cable lineup, it’s really easy to sit down and mindlessly channel surf, and that’s a big time suck.

With the streaming service, though, you have to browse and select what you want to watch, so it’s not nearly as tempting to bounce around between a bunch of shows. This helps make sure you don’t waste your leisure time.

I also appreciate that there are no commercials…when you watch an episode of, say, Myth Busters, it’s 100% Myth Busters. This saves time and reduces our exposure to advertising, both of which are great things in my book.

So! We use:

  • Netflix streaming and DVD services
  • an antenna and digital converter for broadcast TV

I know this setup wouldn’t work for everyone, but it definitely meets our needs.

I hope I explained everything in an understandable manner here. If I didn’t, ask away in the comments, and I’ll get Mr. FG to answer your questions! ;)

And if any of you have additional frugal TV-watching tips, do share by leaving a comment.


This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure for more details.


  1. says

    The only tv we currently own is hooked up to a GameCube downstairs. :) Any tv shows we’re interested in watching (about 3-4 a week) are available for streaming through the networks’ websites (,, etc.). We like snuggling up on the couch after our daughter has gone to bed and watching a show on the laptop!

    Friends of ours just got one of those boxes that uses your internet connection and broadcasts it on your tv (so your tv becomes a big computer screen). Maybe someday we’ll invest in one, if we ever decide to get a bigger tv… But we don’t watch much anyway!

    Any movies we want to see we just rent from Redbox or Blockbuster — $1 a day!

    Thanks for a great post, I found you from Blogelina’s feature :)

    • says

      Don’t forget that your public library probably has lots of DVDs to borrow for free! And you’ll likely get to keep them longer than one day. That’s even cheaper than $1 a day!

    • Susan Delgado says

      Hi Carrie,
      What is the box that uses the internet connection and broadcasts it on your tv (so your tv becomes a big computer screen) which your friends recently got called? Do you know what they cost? Thanks

  2. says

    you forgot to mention that you have to pay for your internet access to access all of the streaming services! We have a PC connected to our TV which allows us to stream from any service. We use Hulu for some shows as well. Yay for free TV!

    • Kristen says

      I’m operating under the assumption that people have internet, which is probably fair if they’re reading my blog. Of course, some readers may be reading via phone or at a public computer.

      We’d have internet even if we watched no TV, especially because I kinda need it for my blog. ;)

      • romney says

        We have internet access, but its not unlimited. Something like this would push it way over the limit.

        In the UK you pretty much have to pay the license fee to the BBC (£145:50 a year) for which you get BBC advert-free channels and the standard commercial channels.

        Then you can pay cable or satellite an extra subscription for more channels or get FREE freeview (digital analogue signal)/freesat (satellite) which has a load more channels. (Freeview is currently rolling out across the country, so YMMV at the moment).

      • Justin says

        I was wondering with Hulu Plus, do you get new episodes of TV shows like The Walking Dead for free or do you have to pay $1.99 per episode?

        • Kayla says

          Justin, I have Hulu Plus, and you do not have to pay for new episodes. All you have to pay is the $7.99 per month and the rest is unlimited. : )

          • Sheila says

            I agree, Hulu is the best choice for the latest TV shows, but I only pay for one thing, Netflix and i watch my Hulu shows on my computer.

    • clarita says

      yeah and THAT IS the problem for all living outside of cities in rural areas–the satellite internet is a massive ripoff !

    • kat says

      Our internet provide has a monopoly on good internet services. They also charge a lot for basic internet which would not be enough for streaming video. The next step up would be turbo and is almost $60 by itself and then if you add Netflix and Hulu you’re up to over $75 with no network so then add an antenna and/or playon and it goes on and on. I live where you can’t get around it unless you just stop watching TV which is what I have been doing as of yet I see no other way to save. My cable come to just about $30 more then that with all channels and networks instantly and the ability to record, pause and fast forward too.That is less then a coffee a day. It is all way is too much for me either way.
      Personally I find Hulu very hard to navigate and most of the things on playon are clips which to me are nothing more then ads for particular movies or shows.
      Keep up the good work! I am still trying but wish we never let the cable companys get so big in the first place. What should be happening is we hook up our antenna and watch FREE TV all we want. Also a few less ads would be nice. NO antenna works in my area unless you own your own home and put one on your roof and then it is only about 4 channels.

  3. Jen says is also a great option! They do have a paid service but there are also lots of things you can watch for free. And don’t forget that many websites stream their shows for free as well. For example, I love! I can watch some of my favorites quickly and commercial free! I know this is also available for abc, nbc, cbs. You may have to wait a few days but it’s FREE, and that’s always a good thing! :-)

    The men is my family are Miami Dolphins fans and during football season, they somehow watch Miami football games in real time on the internet. I think it’s via a Miami television station! It’s not ideal and the picture isn’t the greatest but it works fine for them!

  4. says

    I could live with that kind of set up. My husband needs his sports fix, though, so…

    I’ve heard that hulu offers TV shows – do you know anything about their services?

    • Amanda says

      Susan we use Hulu regularly. The standard service is free but has limitations. If there are things that you want to watch that aren’t included in the free service then you can join Hulu Plus for $8 or $9 per month. So far we haven’t joined plus but have considered it. Most things that we would watch on it that aren’t free can be found elsewhere, like the network website. There are commercials when watching Hulu but it’s generally only about a minute.

      • says

        I’ve used the free Hulu, too. We live way out in the woods, and rabbit ears don’t begin to pick up the channels with sports. Can you get the games on Hulu Plus?

        Thanks for answering.

        • Kirsten says

          I don’t believe Hulu Plus offers any sports. We have the same problem. We could live with this set up other than for sports. There are a lot of games that stream online, BUT they often have subscription fees or some get “blacked out” depending on the TV station regulations and then they are only shown on that TV. Its a major bummer, but we figure we’d spend more money going to the bar to catch all the games than if we just pay for cable.

        • katy says

          playon gives you sports and cost $9 a year. you need to down load it and have it running on your pc.It is a web browser like IE It only has what the net work has put on their web site so it isn’t live. It does have tons more stuff too.

  5. Jenentonic says

    Talk about a timely post! We literally did this yesterday, but with an Apple TV box. Glad to see that it can be done! The “deliberate” viewing is nearly as important as the $ savings, I think.

    • says

      I like the deliberate viewing aspect — and I think it probably has a $$ benefit too. First, watching too much TV is draining. It can keep you up late and interfere with sleep, which will make you less productive at work (thus hurting the money-earning part of the family equation). It also exposes you to a lot of advertising that exists to sell you things you don’t need.

    • Rob says

      While Apple TV is great most of the apps (except Hulu netflix and PBS) now require a cable subscription. NG and Discovery as well, so far History and HGTV don’t, so far

  6. says

    This post was exactly what I needed to read. One question though, we have our cable bundled with telephone and internet. How do you pay for those?

    • Kristen says

      We have internet through Verizon, and phone service through Vonage. You’d have to just do some calculations and see what’s cheaper for you…for us, the bundled services haven’t been worth it.

    • Shannon says

      I recently ended a two year run of having no cable TV simply because with bundled services, it’s cheaper for me to have internet and a land line (two necessities for me) and cable than it is to have all of that without the cable.

      I was paying two different companies approx 120/month for my two necessities (internet and land line) when I read an article on yahoo news about how one contributor calls up his/her cable company and says that s/he will have to cancel services if s/he can’t keep her teaser rate of 100 dollars a month for basic cable, internet and telephone.

      I selected my provider a head of time (my options were limited, as only one company provides internet service to my neiborghood) and glanced over their web site. At first, I was discouraged, because it seemed that their cheapest option would have been 140/ month for basic cable, internet and land line (and this was a “promotion”).

      I momentarily shelved that idea, when, the very next day, a sales rep from my selected provider knocked on my door. He started to go into his spiel when I smiled and said, “Let me tell you exactly what I want.”

      He nodded.

      “I want basic cable, land line telephone with unlimited local and long distance and internet service. And I want to pay 100 dollars a month. And I do not want a contract. What can you do for me?”

      The guy thinks about it and asks for a minuet to go down to his van and look up a few things. I said sure. He comes back a few minuets later, and, lo and behold, I got exactly what I wanted.

      So, the moral of that story, I guess, is to a) research the company you want to do business with b) talk to a real person (even if you don’t get lucky like I did into having a sales person come to your door, most phone companies have a physical location or a 1-800 number) c) know exactly what you want and d) name a fair and reasonable price.

        • katy says

          Where I am bundles are the cheapest way to go. I actually pay more to have a regular phone. We lose the power often enough durring a a long NE winter and I am the spokes person for my nieghborhood when the power goes out since they lose their phones.
          I now want to get rid of cable but it would not pay more then a few dollars to drop to just the high speed cable needed to run most of the devices that we talk about on this web site, I am too far out of range to use an antenna so no net work tv for me. Many of the hulu and playon sites get irritating to use since there may often be only a short clip once you get to what you want to watch.I am still working on this and looking at this web site weekly.

  7. Amanda says

    We are very similar to your family. We didn’t like the cost of cable and when we bought our house in 2008 we never purchased cable. At first I thought I would really miss it but we had Netflix with the DVD option. Since then we have gone to the stream only version and purchased an HD antenna to get local channels. We also use Hulu to watch television shows. We haven’t purchased Hulu plus so there are limitations to what we can watch but with so many options on Netflix we don’t miss it. I am constantly hearing people complain about how terrible their cable service is yet they keep paying for it. That makes no sense to me.

  8. Karen D. says

    We have not had cable for the past 11 years. I have three children, ages 7, 5, and 4. I used to watch television before I had kids, but I so enjoy not being tied to a television series. So much of what is on television is garbage anyways. My children have rarely ever seen a commercial. We watch PBS through broadcast tv and rent dvds from our local library, which has an extensive collection. We often watch discovery channel or history channel documentaries on youtube or from the library. I would never go back. Although there are a few semi entertaining shows on cable, I find most of it is immoral, crude and not what I want my children exposed to. Once you make the break not to have shows you watch regularly, you will find you don’t miss it at all.

  9. says

    We also have Roku and Netflix. We actually have 2 Roku boxes. We have never converted our tv so we do not have the local channels. We dropped our satellite around 2 1/2 years ago.

    We did have Netflix and Hulu Plus for a while, however Hulu’s selection is very small compared to Netflix. Yes they did have some brand new shows, like you could watch them just a few days after they aired. So I liked to watch House and Bones. However when the season ended I had nothing I wanted to watch on Hulu at all so I dropped it.

    Right now we do have Netflix streaming and dvd but we have been considering dropping the dvd service at least for now. At this point and time in our lives we don’t have very much time to sit down for tv watching and the last couple movies we have gotten we have kept way longer than I want to. We just aren’t getting our monies worth with the dvds at this time. :)

  10. Rachel says

    My husband works for Direct TV and is able to get the service for free but we decided against it. We knew if we did set it up the family would be spending way too much time vegging out in front of the tv! I would much rather spend my time reading, playing outside, going to the Y, making crafts & playing board games.

    We bought an antenna so we can get local channels, I like to watch the news on occasion and the kids watch PBS cartoons maybe once a month. We also have Netflix (no dvds), lately the boys (i have 3) have been really into 1980’s shows like A team & Mcgyver . My husband and I will have a “date night” a special dinner for him and I once the kids are in bed, watch a Netflix movie.

    We also frequent the library at least once a week. Our library system has 4 counties they we can choose to go to. If we can’t find a certain book or movie we can place a hold from a different library and it comes in within a week.

    There can be several days in a row that the TV doesn’t even get turned on. We don’t feel deprived, the boys have never complained, when their friends come over they might say “You dont have cable!” and my kids say nope and they go running off to play.

    • Neli Medvedevu says

      Hi Rachel, I just turn of my cable service today, after 2 years stuck in an agreement. Feel so free now. But I have a question for you, I keep my Internet service and my land line ( we do not have cell phones), but Im still think is too much money for the service $99.99 a month no contract. What internet service do you use? And what do you think about this rate they offer me?
      Thank you!

  11. says

    We have a box from Sony that is similar to the Roku. My dad bought it for me for roughly $99. We also have a Netflix only streaming account. We, sadly, got hooked on Jersey Shore, so we watch those episodes on we can’t watch the episode when it comes on on cable, but its available online after! And we watch plain ol antenna as well. :) (p.s. mad men is on netflix streaming!)

  12. Heather Stein says

    I would love to get away from cable but we get our high speed internet through our cable. I guess I need to see what other options we have. We live in a small town and sometimes out options are limited.

    • Jen says

      Us, too. We don’t have cable (not available where we live) and our internet service providers have no “room” to upgrade us to faster internet which would allow streaming to work well. So we do the Netflix DVD plan for now. Options are definitely more limited when you live in a small town off the beaten track.

    • Karen D. says

      We have high speed internet through cable, but do not have cable television. At least in our area, you can get them separately.

  13. says

    We gave up cable nine years ago. Our church was going through a program where we chose something to give up for 40 days. We chose television. At the end of that fast, we realized that we didn’t need cable. Away it went… never to be seen or heard from again. :)

    On a side note, I always giggle when someone asks, “Tabitha, how can I cut my expenses… but don’t touch my cable!”

      • says

        I think the moral of Tabitha’s story is more along the lines of people asking to save money, but refusing to make changes. It’d be the same if you said, “I want to cut my grocery bill! But I refuse to buy anything non-name-brand and I hate coupons!” I’d think if people were seriously interested in saving money, they might be a tad more open minded about things.

        But change is hard. And perhaps the chiding of other people makes them feel guilty for having TV. But, then again, it’s hard to hear people shoot it down when they refuse to give it a try :)

  14. NikkiLynn says

    We have had a set up very similar to this for about a year. I only miss cable on occasion and usually it’s the Food Network I want to watch. :) My daughter watches PBS over the air, cartoons on Netflix, and old Disney VHS’s from my childhood. She loves Shaun the Sheep and Wallace and Grommit on Netflix.

    We still get our internet and phone through the cable company. They have a bundle that cut our bill in half when we canceled cable.

  15. Emily says

    We have also completely avoided ever getting cable because the temptation to watch TV all.the.time would be too great. We have had Netflix for years and switched to streaming-only a year or two ago. The selection for kids is especially great! I just learned about a website yesterday – – that tells you which shows’ licenses will be expiring (when they’ll be taken off of streaming content) and new things coming up. I’m pretty happy about that!

    We also use Redbox for the $1 new releases, only once or twice a month, though. You can’t beat that combo!

  16. april mcgahagan says

    so i have heard that net flix has some “adult”shows on it. Are there protection locks that you can put on so your children could not accidentally access these?

    • says

      Netflix doesn’t show pornographic material but it does show R rated movies, if you’re worried about that. Netflix actually just launched a Just for Kids section. I’m not sure how to make that standard, though.

      • Amanda says

        When we log into Netflix through our Wii it pops up with a Netflix option or a Just for Kids option. The just for kids are all kid friendly of course but I’m unsure if there’s a way to put locks on it. I’ve never seen anything regarding parental controls.

        • Whitney says

          Yes, there is adult stuff on netflix as we found out by accident once. Some of it isn’t rated (or is foreign), so the R rating doesn’t always apply. I think if you looked for it, it’d be there.

          • april mcgahagan says

            yes someone had told us they found it on accident too, so that what i was wondering

    • Janice Nelson says

      Just like the others commented, there is a screen that you can choose the normal view or the “Just for Kids” option. There is also a Parental Control Setting that you can adjust. You can choose what rating level is available for viewing. Of course, that affects ALL viewing, so the parents would also be restricted, unless they change it every time they want to watch a movie with a higher rating.

  17. Lucy says

    Well, as an aging rural couple we do watch tv especially on cold winter nights. We watch good old broadcast tv with a big antenna atop a very tall pole, and we get way more staions than anyone around us. There are more broadcast stations all the time, and we get 4 public television channels. Yea!

  18. says

    If you get a Roku box, be sure and run some ethernet. Unless I got a dud with a clipped antenna, I have to be VERY lucky to actually stream anything to my Roku. Once we move I’ll run ethernet to it and it will be useful again.

  19. Cate says

    We also don’t have cable. We have the roku with Netflix and also have our hard drive hooked to our tv. We get most sports through ESPN3 and some on their network websites (live sports was the biggest “issue” for my husband when getting rid of cable). I watch a couple tv series through their websites, but other than that it’s mainly roku. Instant Netflix is great for kids – the options are really endless (minus Mickey mouse clubhouse….and we love Shaun the sheep too). I let my little one pick one thing to watch every morning after breakfast. We haven’t been able to get an antenna to work for local channels though – don’t know if it’s our house/tv location or what, but that’s all we need to figure out.

  20. Beth says

    We have Roku as well. You can also watch streaming videos from Amazon through the Roku. If you have a prime membership to Amazon, they have tons of free streaming TV shows and movies–much like Netflix streaming. They also offer new releases for rent (usually from $1.99 to $3.99), which we take advantage of on special occasions. We have phone service and Internet service with Verizon Fios, and they constantly call us to ask if we want cable, too, so we can bundle all three. But we get WAY more use out of our Roku with Netflix and Amazon than we would with cable. Money well spent, if you ask me!

  21. minders says

    So glad to hear we aren’t the only ones who don’t have cable or satellite!! People always look at us like we have two heads when we tell them we don’t have cable. We just have an antenna that picks up 3 channels, we did have to get one of those converter boxes, but we picked it up at a yard sale for $10. If we have a desire to watch tv, we usually hit up redbox, or sometimes I pick up seasons of a show we like on dvd at yard sales, ebay, etc… Really TV is such a waste of time. I’d much rather be outside enjoying God’s beautiful creation, or spending quality time with my family!

  22. Jenny says

    I do have the basic cable–you can request just broadcast channels. When I started doing this 15 years ago, it was only about $14–it’s up to $25 now but I still think I get my money’s worth. I live in hurricane country and want to be able to get up to date weather info and I enjoy the occasional live TV event like the Super Bowl or the Oscars. Plus I watch a fair amount of network TV. I have an older TiVo which was a gift and I use that for, as FG says, intentional viewing–it keeps me from surfing and watching commercials. I also try to be picky about what I watch–if I’m not really enjoying a show, even if I’ve watched for years, I drop it. I supplement with a Roku box and Netflix (streaming + DVD). I actually just upgraded the Roku box because the newer ones support closed captions, which I need due to hearing impairment. There are a few cable shows I particularly adore (hello, Mad Men) and I stream those through Amazon–I figured out that for those few shows I didn’t want to wait for the DVDs on, it was cheaper to buy them individually than to have a cable subscription. And Redbox is great for when someone comes over to watch a particular movie. I could definitely go cheaper if necessary–one of the things I like about this set up is that I could cut out various components if I needed to cut costs–but right now this is a set-up that balances intentional viewing and affordability with something I enjoy doing.

  23. Kayla says

    So does streaming Netflix show new shows? For example if I show I like is coming on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., can I watch it on Netflix? Or do I have to wait a while to watch it?

    • says

      No Kayla Netflix does not show the brand new shows and not all shows are on streaming. For instance I am watching last seasons CSI and NCIS on DVD through them.

      However there are alot of shows you can watch like a week behind on Hulu.

    • says

      Hi Rachel,
      A friend just told me about This also has a facebook page named Stream-Tv. It’s free, and I just started watching a new show on TV, 4 weeks ago and my new show is up to date on!
      I watch it on my computer. I just learnrd about the Roku Box today.

  24. Jennifer Y. says

    What a timely post – We just got a Roku box last week! But since we still have cable, we don’t have any streaming/extra charge features. We were just discussing dropping our cable TV and subscribing to Netflix. So glad you blogged about this.

  25. Tammy says

    Unfortunately for those of us literally in the sticks, rural northwest PA picking up free channels via an antenna is not an option!!!!!:( so it is either pay or nothing. I could do without cable -we have in the past a couple of times but my husband is a huge sports fan so I’m kinda stuck!!!

  26. Wendi S says

    We received a Roku for Christmas…best gift ever! Since then we’ve cancelled cable and signed up for Netflix streaming. Between streaming and free dvds from the library we do not miss cable at all :).

  27. says

    We would love to do something like this except for one problem – live sports. If you have a sports fan in the family (my husband), it is nearly impossible to get live HD quality sports any way but from cable or satellite TV. If it weren’t for this one problem we would dump the box.

    • says

      We have been able to watch live Sports from the ESPN website. If you have a digital TV, you just hook up the cable, and you have a live feed through a bigger screen.

      We are not HUGE sports fans (even though we are both former college athletes), but we like to watch it this way now and then. We also find it fun to just go to people’s houses that have cable when we REALLY want to watch something.

  28. Amanda says

    My husband and I are even more extreme. I didn’t have a television when we got married. We put my husband’s television in a closet for 7 months to see how often we’d watch it if we actually had to pull it out whenever we wanted to watch a movie. The verdict? We didn’t miss it. I listed it online, and we sold it a couple weekends ago.

    We are perfectly happy to watch an occasional DVD on our laptop. More than that, we just don’t have time to watch TV and accomplish the remainder of our goals. I know this is more than most families are willing to do, but I’m tossing it out as an idea.

  29. Susie says

    We got ride of cable last Feb. when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and we needed to save money (we already share one car & moved to a smaller place). We have a digital antenna that gets several channels all local including a Spanish channel, my husband is billingual and I’m learning. We also have a Playstation we bought in 2009 and we stream Netflix with that and Hulu. A friend from my husband’s work won an ITV from an office party and it does streaming too. Normally it’s about $100 but we bought it for $20, Craig’s list probably has stuff too. The only time we realy miss cable is during football season but we get most games & use our laptop to stream to our tv. We also have a gym at our apartment complex with cable so that’s an added bonus :-)
    Since I work at the public Library I also love to encourage people to rent movies for free at the library. Many libraries now also have the newest movies for a small fee. Our new DVDs are $1 for 3days and since we are closed on Sundays and Mondays if you rent on Friday you keep it until Tuesday! Which is a great deal :-)

    • lindsey says

      My husband also had a very bad bout with cancer, 5 surgeries, a year of chemo, radiation…and then I got a catastrophic illness. I have to say that when each of us was on morphine, with little energy or interest and without the attention span to read (which I NEVER thought would happen to me, as I am an avid reader), it was TV that provided some comfort. I could zone in and out and still not feel as isolated or frightened; ditto for my husband. Which is to say, if your husband is in for a long haul, that you may find TV more essential than it is at other times in life. We were pretty strapped, too, especially when I got equally ill and we had not yet finished paying off his enormous medical bills (which were huge even with good medical insurance), so we asked family to pay for cable instead of giving us other birthday or Christmas gifts. We no longer have TV, due to cost, but I would reconsider if one of us became ill again. I am not writing this to criticize your decision, please understand that, and if I am somehow coming across that way please forgive me. I am just offering our experience in case you start wondering if TV might be worth it again.

      • Susie says

        Thanks Lindsey :) not offended at all. I’m sorry to hear you also had an illness and I hope you are doing well today. You make a great point and my mom has offered several times to pay for our cable :) but we are ok and been watching a lot of movies since he’s been home from the hospital and he has an iPad he uses. Thanks again and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband :-)

  30. says

    We have actually been TV free for over 7 months, you can see our most recent post in our website. It’s amazing how much free time you have once you rid yourself of it. We have a 4 1/2 yr old and 2 yr old, they occassionally do the netflix stream of Saun the Sheep or an occassional movie but limited to no more than twice a week. In the meantime, books and games occupy our time and since they are young enough, there’s not been a huge fight over missing out yet. We’ll see how things change once they start to feel peer pressure and the fear of missing out!

    • says

      My kids don’t watch any TV, and my husband does a bit but not much. I was the TV watcher, but I don’t do that much either. I decided to not watch on Memorial Day, and I am reading at night. It has been great. I will not be watching until after Labor Day. Then, I will be very careful in what I chose to watch from shows (mostly news) that are posted the next day on the internet. I am going to be really selective!

  31. Jennifer says

    We decided to go cable free in January 2011. Times were tough for us at the time so cable was on the second round of cuts for us. We currently subscribe to Netflix and HuluPlus. I’ve considered getting Amazon Prime, but the 2 services give us enough flexibility. We also use our library extensively. I haven’t missed having cable once. I’m very happy with our Roku (first gen- still works).

  32. Cyn says

    Does anyone know if this Roku box works in Canada? I have cable AND netflix AND I watch shows on my laptop too. I watch netflix on my TV with my xbox. It’s pretty expensive to have all of these services. I watch way too much tv though.

    • Kat C says

      I don’t know about the Roku box.

      You can get a digital antenna in Canada for the basics (we get Global, CTV, CBC & a couple more). We stream from the iPad to our tv for netflix, bought an iTunes “seasons pass” for our favourite shows, and can also stream some shows using the network apps off the iPad.

      As well, we keep cancelling our cable & our provider offers us great promo rates to sign up again. We prefer our digital antenna because it is HD.

  33. fiwa says

    Thank you! That was really, really helpful. I’ve been wanting to cancel our cable for awhile – this might push us in that direction. I appreciate the time you both took to write all of this down for those of us who are technically challenged!

  34. Susanna says

    will the roku stream the netflix stuff? does all this need wifi set up? I use a modem and haven’t done the wifi setup thing yet…I HATE dealing with computers- have to buy a new printer today and am already dreading having to set it up. :-( enough that if I didn’t need it I wouldn’t mess with it at all.

  35. Candace says

    Thank you for explaining this! I don’t have a TV at the moment and I couldn’t figure out what the difference was between all the different boxes available, and what in the world they did that would require me to have to pay a monthly fee. I’m still a little unclear on that, but at least now I know that if I do end up getting a TV, I’ll be able to watch shows without having to pay for a service of some kind.

    Also, when I saw Banff, CA, I thought you meant California. I thought to myself “Banff isn’t in California” before I realized you were referring to Canada. Apparently I need more sleep.

  36. Rachel says

    Okay, I’m not tech-savvy. We just got a new flat screen TV (quite the upgrade from our giant old box which kicked the bucket). We tried an antenna so we could get the main networks, but it didn’t work. People have told us it may not work because we live in town and our houses are too close together (?) Anyway, we’re not big TV folks, but I do like to watch programs on ABC/NBC sometimes. My husband doesn’t care, but he’d love to watch football games during football season and the Super Bowl. Would it be a good idea to get one of those Roku boxes – or am I not getting the purpose of those things? I’m wondering what would be the best option. For movies, we usually get them from Redbox or the library. Thanks for your help!

    • ann says

      We have an antenna, too, and we have to put it in just the right spot to get a good number of channels. :-) Our tv has a channel scan option, so if my husband moves the antenna, and I want to move it again, I can rescan to get all the channels available in that spot :-) He hasn’t moved it lately–maybe he realizes I’ve found the best spot :-)

  37. Tammy says

    My question is this …. are you able to watch what is currently on tv in real time? I turn on food network on Saturday morning and I watch several shows in a row… that is my time while I clean the house, fold laundry, etc… Am I able to still do this or I have to know what show I want to watch and go hunting through different websites to go and watch it? What about sports – can we watch a game live?
    Thanks so much?

    • says

      With Netflix streaming you can’t watch what is on t.v. right now. Most shows are a season behind and there are tons of complete series of old shows. The t.v. and movies are divided up into categories and you can either search through your Roku box on your t.v. screen or online at their website and when you find shows or movies you want to watch you add them to your “instant queue”. When you turn on your Roku box and log into Netflix your “instant queue” is on top and you can just scan through the shows you have already chosen.

      Right now my family has 100 t.v. shows and movies in our queue. So when we have time to watch their is never a shortage of options.

  38. says

    We too have Roku & Netflix. I’m sort of impartial towards Roku. We choose to keep our TV & Roku on a power strip and turn it off while not in use. That means every time we turn it back on, we have to go through the process of getting the Roku to recognize our wireless network. It is SO annoying. Other than that, it works well. As for being more intentional w/ Netflix, I have to disagree. It’s very easy to waste a day when you can watch episode after episode after episode. What happens next?! Just play the next episode, no waiting until next week ;) The other downside to Netflix is that they lost Starz content, so a lot of great movies and shows are now off. I hope they can get some good, new content up soon because I’m not finding much that I want to watch or haven’t watched. Or I could just choose to, you know, not watch TV ;)

  39. Amara says

    We dumped cable several years ago and purchased a HD antenna. It was slightly more expensive on purchase (around $48?), but picked up 58– yes, you read that right, local and HD channels. :) My husband felt like he just won the lottery. :)

  40. Christina says

    Great suggestions. I see some people mentioned Hulu. I’d also recommend Veetle which streams movies and TV shows of all kinds. We connect our TV to a computer (old tower computers work great) and watch tv that way. This essentially allows access to whatever is available on the internet which also includes shows directly from tv networks like HGTV, ABC, etc. There are few to no commercials and if you download the ad blocker extension from Google Chrome, you don’t even have to watch the ads.

  41. ann says

    My favorite tv tip is to talk back to commercials. I heard that in a sermon when I was younger–the pastor said that he and his wife would respond to claims in commercials, when they were watching tv with their kids. I do it when I am watching tv by myself, now–question what they’re feeding me, so I don’t just let it absorb into my brain. :-)

    My second favorite tip is to plan what you will watch each night. I learned that one in a mass communications class in college. Instead of surfing mindlessly, you can look through the paper, or tv guide, or even just think through what you plan to watch, so you don’t lose control. :-)

    We have a roku box and an antenna, and I watch a few shows on hulu. (The ones I watch are usually available the day after they air.) The great thing about the roku, for us, is that we can subscribe to a few Indian channels–my husband is from India, and he loves that we can pay $4 and watch shows and movies in his native language. (I love watching those shows, too, b/c it helps me learn the language and to understand more of the culture. Also, b/c it helps me feel closer to my in-laws who we rarely get to see.)

    Good post, Kristin!

  42. says

    For £145.50 ($231.17) a year we have access to the BBC. That and a couple of commercial channels are more than enough for me. I occasionally flick through the other free channels but rarely find anything of any interest. I try to be selective in my viewing habits but I have to admit that there are times when I’d be much better off reading a book, getting on with my knitting … or going to bed!

  43. says

    One of the biggest reasons I wanted to cancel our cable (I think it’s been a year now and I don’t miss it!) is because of commercials! I was so sick of wasting 10 minutes or more a show just watching commercials. Plus, Netflix and other TV on DVDs has made me really spoiled.
    I think we can stream through our Playstation (a graduation present to my husband from his mom 4 years ago) but we mostly use it for Netflix.

  44. says

    Growing up I always had cable, so it was a big change when we decided to cancel it after I was laid off. But almost 3 years later, I couldn’t be more satisfied with our decision. Now that I’m working again, we could afford the $70+/month but I honestly don’t miss it. And that money can go to more valuable activities instead of my *slight* obsession with train wreck tv.

    We do still watch some broadcast as well as stream Netflix through our Wii (mostly for the kid). And we have been toying with the idea of Hulu Plus so that we could watch old episodes of our favorite sitcoms on demand. That’s the only thing I miss about cable- the DVR.

  45. EngineerMom says

    We had cable (briefly) early on in our marriage. I talked DH into getting rid of it because I really struggle with self-control when it comes to watching TV. It is way too easy for me to plop down and waste an entire afternoon/evening or even an entire day on the weekends watching TV. Best. Decision. Ever.

    We don’t even own a TV anymore. We set up our shared desktop (with a large screen DH got as a “yay for finishing grad school” gift from his parents) as a “TV” in our living room. I am, in fact, sitting on the couch about 7ft away from the screen, typing on a wireless keyboard with a tiny trackball mouse included.

    We use:
    1., the free version, for watching relatively current shows like Castle, Body of Proof, Bones, The Finder, etc. Since we only watch maybe 3-4 shows per week, we really don’t mind waiting, and I personally love the vastly reduced number of commercials, plus the perk of being able to “vote” on the commercials we do get, thus eliminating the ones I find incredibly irritating or stupid.
    2., with the 1-DVD at a time plus streaming. We use this for kids’ shows like Dinosaur Train and Blues Clues, older shows like the Star Trek series, past seasons of the new Dr. Who, and movies. We rarely get time to watch an entire movie all at once, so we’ve debated giving up the DVD part of the service, but then we come across things like the last half of a season of Dr. Who being only available on DVD, and decide it’s worth it.
    3. A TV card in the computer. This allows us to get “through the air” TV, including things like the SuperBowl and PBS. To be honest, we pretty much only use it for the SuperBowl and watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, but we have occasionally set the computer up to record a favorite show. In theory, we could set the computer to record anything broadcast through the air, including most of the shows we view through Hulu, but I still find skipping through the commercials annoying, so we just opt for a few commercials through hulu.

    If you are looking to totally ditch TVs in general, I do recommend getting a TV card for a computer. It really helped us get past not having a “traditional” TV, since it allows us to host Super Bowl parties, watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, etc., things you that are much harder to arrange through the computer (we tried watching the streaming Super Bowl this year – it just didn’t cut it, and many of the commercials were missing, and aren’t those the point?! :-) )

    • EngineerMom says

      Oh, and we don’t have cable. We have a landline plus DSL through the phone company, and we’ve never had trouble streaming anything. I wanted a landline for emergency purposes, since we live in an old (1952) brick house that is solidly built… and practically impervious to cell phone signals.

  46. Jenessa says

    I would be perfectly happy to get rid of the satelite service, but the other half isn’t. So in order to make him happy we keep it. I really like watching movies and a few select tv shows, but I try to be intentional about my tv watching. If I’m not interested in a show that my boyfriend is watching, I go do something else.

  47. Jenn H says

    I’m really glad you posted this today. I have been meaning to look at my cable bill &give them a call for a few weeks now & this was a good push in that direction. We have cable but we have the “TV Starter Package” which is a tier of cable they don’t even tell you about, you have to specifically ask for. It has all the local channels, the Food Network, TBS, E, and a few others. It costs $18 a month and is bundled w/ our internet service (which is $50). Pretty much every cable company offers this kind of package you just have to know what to ask for. Look on the channel line up page & find the lowest tier & ask for it specifically. When I looked at my bill today I realized it had a note on it saying the prices are going up 4/2 so I called to cancel the cable. The rep ended up taking 25% off the bill for keeping both & locked in the rate for a year! I guess I just have to mark it on my calendar to cancel next year!

  48. says

    We have basic cable tv. We used to have Netflix streaming and DVD…then we cancelled the streaming portion and are just keeping the DVDs. As soon as I get through watching Road to Avonlea on Netflix DVD, then I’m going to cancel the service all together. I’ll still keep the basic cable, for a little while at least :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  49. says

    We’ve never paid for TV and just stick to the free channels. However Netflix is catching on in the UK, and I like the idea of buying just what we want to watch. Seems very ‘tidy’ to me. We’ll get with it at some point!

  50. Carmen says

    How much is the most basic cable service monthly?

    When attempting to lead a frugal life, I’m not sure I really distinguish between Netflix and cable TV (both are luxuries), although I appreciate frugality is about value for money (and life about personal choices.)

    Entry level Sky in the UK is £20/month, so judging by the normal rules of UK v USA pricing, $20/month would seem comparative. Could be much higher or much lower though, hence my question. I think I read $43 somewhere, which seems a bit high.

    • romney says

      Yeah. Gotta take into account the license fee in the UK though. If you subscribe to Sky, you’ve still got to pay the license fee anyway.

    • says

      This will be different I am sure from state to state as well as in other countries. I live in So. Illinois and before we switched to Netflix we were paying $45 for bare bones satellite (it was cheaper than the lowest cable package we could find). We did not get very many channels for that price and a lot of the channels we did get we weren’t interested in.

      For Netflix we pay $15.98 a month and get unlimited streaming and dvds in the mail, however we are getting ready to drop the dvds because we just don’t have the time these days. With streaming only we will pay $7.99 a month.

  51. Alyson says

    We’ve been without TV for 8 years. I don’t think I would know how to switch one on now. We watch BBC iplayer and a couple of other channels for free and I freely admit that if we had to start paying for them, I won’t be watching. The children are selective in what they watch and actually sit and watch the programme rather than just having it as background noise.

  52. Keesha says

    In addition to Netflix and Hulu, we also use Play On ( to have access to ESPN. I’m not sure exactly how it works (hubby set it up, I’m a total ludite) but it streams through our Wii. The picture isn’t always great, but it’s only $5/month so I can live with it. :)

  53. says

    We have the same set up here – except we don’t have a Roku box – we’ve just used an HDMI cable run from one of our laptops. The $8/month for the Netflix is worth it – and the $15 little outdoor antenna we bought gives us 9 channels (4 of which were my favourites when we had cable) so we’re not missing a thing – except the $60 cable bill…. Thanks for the great post, I’m off to go check out one of those box-thingies…. Then maybe I can watch Hoarders while writing my next blog post…..

  54. Hunter says

    Thanks for all of the great information. Personally we like our satellite service from DISH. It was the cost of Netflix that increased. I made the decision for our family to find an alternative. After some research I found that the Blockbuster @Home service from DISH was our best bet. I get streaming to my TV, iPad and PC as well as DVDs, video games and blu-rays by mail. DISH even includes extra movie channels! It’s only $10 per month and everyone in my family is happy. I have a coworker at DISH who was going through the same Netflix price increase that I went through, I suggested the Blockbuster service and they switched that day.

  55. says

    Thanks for the information on the Roku. I’d never heard of it before. I’m about to undergo complex shoulder surgery surgery, with months of physical therapy ahead of me. We have no access to our Netflix account in the room where I do my exercises, but thanks to your post it is now possible. We did a little extra research on our own, and are heading out today to get a Roku of our own. Watching shows and movies while I exercise is going to make an unpleasant experience so much more bearable.

  56. says

    This is almost exactly what we do – Roku, Netflix (mostly kids stuff and my obsession, Downton Abbey), Hulu, Amazon for the few tv shows we can’t get free. We also use PlayOn because a lot of our shows are on CBS and they aren’t available on Hulu. And the library for a lot of new release movies. Yay for ditching our $75/ mo. cable bill!

  57. says

    I love the idea of the Roku box. We are constantly on Fox, CBS, and ABC, but we always have to watch it on our computer. And we have the Netflix streaming too. As for movies, we use Redbox. Thanks for the ideas.

    Cable free for two years!

  58. Kristen says

    We’ve been considering this, but we really enjoy watching sports. We watch college football and basketball and occasionally baseball (if our team is in the College World Series). We’ve tried streaming the games from the internet but it has been really terrible in the past. Is there a solution to this? It’s honestly the one thing stopping us from getting rid of our DirecTV service.

    • says

      Sports was the deal breaker for us for years, too. Our solution is ESPN3 via PlayOn. I don’t watch sports – my husband does, and he has no complaints about the quality of the image – although PlayOn does stream from your computer to your TV – don’t know if maybe our internet connection is just really good?

      • Kristen says

        We’ve actually talked about ESPN3 because they air some baseball games we’re interested in. We thought it was only available if you had a certain cable company in our area, however after reading this I’ve looked into it further and since we have our internet with the cable company (just not our tv) we should be able to access it on our computer (but not our tv). Thank you for encouraging me to look in to it!

        • Anna says

          How do you stream from your computer to your tv for ESPN? We hardly watch anything but sports on our ridiculously expensive DirecTv. I would LOVE to do away with that bill each month.

          • says

            Connect a cord from your computer to your digital TV. They are not that expensive to buy. Just ask the people at the store, and they will help you.

            I used to teach literature classes in my home and would connect up the cords from my computer to our TV for bigger PowerPoints. So, we already had them. :)

  59. Carol Ann Weaver says

    So what is the advantage of ROKU over just watching a show on the internet the day after it is on the network. I watch mostly news and a few shows on the networks, and PBS (Newshour and Masterpiece Theatre). I can watch all the next day online. News is the same I would prefer to watch in “real time.” I have the most basic cable, and I get $10 off my internet when I bundle it with cable and phone. So, the basic is only $5 a month. (Not interested in Netflix or HuluPlus or Amazon because I have an AWESOME library that has numerous DVD’s that I may have to wait for but are all FREE).

    Now we are considering dropping our landline and just having cells. So, the extra $10 for internet would be OK.

    Tell me why ROKU is so nifty. I guess I just don’t get it.

    • says

      Well, if your cable is only $5 – that certainly makes ROKU less nifty! We were paying about $70 for ours. It was basic – about 40 channels, no premium or movie channels. For me, I want to watch TV on a TV, and ROKU lets me do that for free, basically. I want to plop on a couch and watch on a large screen. Basically, ROKU is watching TV on the internet, only it connects the internet to your giant telly instead of your 17 inch monitor or laptop.

  60. Y.H. says

    If it was up to me I would get rid of cable but my husband is not willing to do so. I am not sure why maybe his sports something. I notice with all the channels cable has we only watch certain shows and channels consistantly (What a waste of money if you ask me). I just turned my netflix off only 8 bucks to save money yeah right, because … well long story. Any ideas on how to convience him. I have been working hard on trying to get specific things paid off and it’s not working because he does not want to sacrafice anything. OH! and our cell phones are turned off we have the service through the cable company. OH well guess that’s my life.

  61. Shawna says

    We have watched some of the shows we like on our computer and sometimes they “freeze up”. Do u ever have this problem with the Roku box? This woud b a wonderful option for us. We don’t have any service at all. The only thing we watch on our tv is movies that we choose to watch. I think the Roku box would work great for us.

    • Kaetra says

      We have medium speed broadband and the shows never freeze up on our Roku (or PS3) for us, and that’s with me watching Netflix in the bedroom, husband playing online games in the den and my kid in the other room watching Netflix on the PS3 all at the same time. The picture quality is also extremely good, even our our 55″ TV. The computer screen just doesn’t cut it for me, though some shows are now streaming better than they used to on the computer. Other shows still look really awful, like watching Survivor the day after on the computer at the CBS website is usually pretty awful quality.

  62. Nadene says

    This sounds good. My husband likes to watch FOX NEWS and FOX BUSINESS NETWORK. I could live without it, but can we get these without cable?

  63. Kaetra says

    We ditched satellite for Netflix and an antenna over two years ago and it’s been wonderful. I LOVE not having to watch commercials on Netflix. I don’t mind watching them on the antenna because it’s free but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use any TV service again that both charges me money AND makes me watch commercials. We’ve saved about $900 a year by saying goodbye to satellite/cable. I remember all the times we had to go outside and scrape snow off the satellite to get reception, or how it would go out when it rained. No more! We have 2 TV’s and in the living room we use a PS3 for Netflix, in the bedroom we have our little Roku champ which does lots of things, not just Netflix. Our Netflix subscription also lets us watch when we’re on vacation with our smart phones, laptop or iPad anywhere we have Internet access which is darn near everywhere these days. I’m never going back to the satellite/cable trap – EVER! Yay!

  64. Lena says

    Well, I have only questions. I live on the coast and presently subscribe to direct TV. I don’t watch a lot of TV and would dearly love to unsubscribe from it. It’s expensive. I do have a Roku and subscribe to Steaming NetFlix.
    I would still like to watch PBS. Would this be possible without Direct TV or some other such program?
    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    • Kristen says

      I asked my husband, and he said that you can get PBS for free with an antenna! They make nice ones these days…not those huge ugly rabbit ear things from the past. ;)

      Also, check and see if your local cable company offers a VERY bare bones package. In the past we’ve had it and it’s about $13 a month or so. This will give you lovely, clear reception on all of your local channels. Cable companies don’t like to advertise this, of course, but I think most of them have it, so be insistent when you talk to them.

  65. Irene says

    How do I buy and fix up an antenna that will allow me to watch cable without purchasing cable from a cable co? Maybe then I can just purchase internet and phone from them in a bundle. I have three tv’s in my house, as I rent out two rooms and each tenant has their own tv, so whatever I need to do to just get basic tv (which is fine by me) I need to also be able to get hooked up to the other two televisions. I’m considering taking back the cable boxes, so not sure how this works when they are gone. I only need local channels as I have two Roku boxes (and could get another for the 3rd tv). Many thanks. Irene

    • Kristen says

      An antenna won’t let you see cable channels, unfortunately. You have to pay for cable to get those channels.

  66. Lorrie says

    What are my options without an Internet connection? I just moved and have limited funds. I do have Internet at work. If I must have it for home, what are my cheapest options?

  67. Tim says

    Thanks so much for the info! This is exactly what I am looking for. I am sick of paying for so many services that separate you from your money on a never ending basis.

    Case in point: Norton virus protection…I was just about ready to purchase a year’s protection. Then just before I submitted my choice and CC, I read the fine print. Auto renewal at the “then” current price. FOREVER!

    So, as for TV, I don’t have to have 487,000 channels to select from. It sucks the life out of you. I think it is better to “get a life” rather than depend on that kind of babysitter for a pseudo life
    Thanks again.

  68. E.M says

    Good stuff!

    I know an old lady with not a lot of money, so I am looking for her, into the most economical ways of watching a bit of TV. including what it used to be FREE tv at one time. The point is, you gave me all the information I needed.

    Thank you!


  69. Neli Medvedevu says

    Very good post, exactly what I need. Thank you.
    One question? What internet service do you use? Im looking aroud for a chipper one after being stuck in a 2 years agreement w/ Verizon.
    Thank you.

  70. Margaret Clark says

    THANK YOU!!! I’ve been asking this question for what seems like forever, and nobody could give me a satisfactory answer. Either they were clueless or had an antenna that worked, but their husbands or boyfriends set it up for them!!!

    • Mbt says

      Hi all, I am totally confused. We would love to stop paying so much for internet/cable/phone.

      Recently we took a Comcast offer for no contract ‘new customers’ and got all 3 bundled for $100 monthly. Still seems high, but need internet access for the PC. (North of Boston, MA)

      HOW can we get TV or internet access if we stop the Comcast account? They provide access to the internet?


  71. rochelle says

    thinking about getting a roku box,and giving up my cable,con is my daughter loves,mtv,bet,and the oxygen channel,is this availabe

  72. Ron Stanko says

    Thanks so much Mrs. FG. The information was very clear and useful. Just what I was looking for.
    Past and Future Frugal

  73. kat says

    Please don’t forget to be successful make sure your internet speed is good enough to do the things you want to do. I am having some difficulty with determining what I want and need. I have had a yes answer on the 3megs but the internet company says “UP TO 3megs” So I am assuming they don’t actually give you 3 megs. The next step up is 10 megs but again that is “UP TO”. I would love to be able to use my lap top while watching TV. What would I need to do that keeping in mind they say “UP TO” when referring to the amount of megs they give for a said price. Also they charge way more if you are getting internet only verses internet and cable TV. Nothing to be done about that but can they complain if they find you are using this a lot for streaming vidios and such? I had a friend that did games and got a complaint from his internet provider.

    • kat says

      new ! Well so far no good news. Roku is pretty much just an ad machine. Most everything you might like has a cost and beware just because they say they have a channel or network doesn’t mean there is anything on that link or that, that link will not be WEB only as in the case of hulu. Your best off to check the channel and then check to see what vidios are there, I still haven’t found out how you figure out what is WEB only on hulu. I am waiting for an answer.

      • Kristen says

        There are actually a lot of truly free things on Roku, like the Crackle, NBC News, CNBC, ifood TV, TED tv, and Nowhere TV (Nowhere TV alone has a crazy amount of stuff). If you’re looking for news, check out Roku Newscaster…there’s almost every news station you could want (even Al-Jazeera!)

        And as I mentioned in my post, the main thing we use Roku for is watching Netflix on our TV. If you’ve got Amazon prime, you can also watch over 15,000 videos using the Roku. Netflix and Amazon prime aren’t free, but the monthly fees for those are far less than the price of cable TV.

        Of course, cable TV is the simplest option, but you just have to be willing to pay for it.

  74. says

    Had a quick question about streaming method. I assume you are using some sort of internet connection. What type of connection do you use, and how much does it cost?

    We use cable for our internet service, and pay more to have greater download bandwidth and increased download amounts each month. I work a lot from home, so that’s why we pay for the extra usage and speed. However, I’m wondering what a normal person might be expected to pay, and if there are increased fees for overage uses based on any type of contract.

    Reason I ask is that in your column, the cost of internet service is not addressed. I understand that such costs will vary widely with geographic area, type of internet access used, and individual contracts, but if you could include what you are paying for internet access and what that cost gets you in terms of download speed and usage amounts, that would be helpful.

    From your article, some people could wrongly conclude that they can get everything they ever wanted on TV at just the $15.98/month cost, and may not consider the costs for internet usage and any overage fees (if applicable).

    Anyway, I personally would like to know more about what type of internet connection you have, what speed you have, if there are any monthly download limitations (and if you’ve exceeded them), and what your typical monthly download amount looks like. As you mentioned in your article, being able to be more selective in viewing enables your usage to be much lower than it would if TV was always on. Still, it would allow me to be more informed.

    Right now, because of my day job, I get the perk of getting DIRECTV for free, however, I’m also considering a job move and would lose this perk, and the idea of paying over $100 a month just to keep what we have now with DIRECTV is ridiculous. As I started looking for options, I did some online searching and came across Roku and your blog about it which I found very helpful except for the questions about internet.

    Thanks for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon!

    • Kristen says

      Yep, internet is indeed a cost to be considered, but I’m operating under the assumption that most people who are reading my blog have internet access. :)

      We have fiber-optic internet, but I honestly don’t know the detailed specs of the type of internet speed we have (that’s my husband’s arena). It’s a flat monthly rate, though, and we’ve never had a problem with speed. And I don’t know how much we download every month, but I do know it’s never been a problem.

      The internet is a bill we’d pay for regardless of whether we used internet TV or not, so for us, it’s not an extra expenditure.

      But yes, readers will need to take the cost of the internet into consideration when they’re deciding if this is right for them or not.

    • kat says

      This was an issue I went around a while back. The lowest speed I was told I could get that would allow the roku and many of the others like playon was at least 3mg. Most low end internet providers will say “up to 3mgs” which means it won’t work and you could never use your pc at the same time. Band width is the issue you need to address. My provider charges me a higher fee for internet if it doesn’t include TV, although it still cost less then the two together by about half but they don’t provide a low end of either cable tv or internet separatly only in packages. I would pay 60 for just the lowest bandwidth that would work for me.
      Some providers will allow you to try them for 30 days so you can see how it works for you.
      To just do email and Ims you could get away with a lot less band width if you don’t mind the speed but you do need more and will pay more for a higher band width do use the internet to watch tv. I do not know of any provider that still limits usage but have been told that certain companys will narrow you down some if they know you are using it a lot but I think this is more for those who do gaming. It hasn’t happened to me so far.

    • Kristen says

      Not with the Roku, no, but you should be able to pick up local news stations with an antenna…cable’s not necessary for that. Hope that helps!

      • kat says

        Check out what an antenna will get you before you buy it. There are web sites that will give you this information and even the type you would need. If you do not live very close or in a city you probably will not get a single channel with an antenna unless you can put one on your roof. Been there done that.

  75. says

    I just let my cable go because I returned to school and cannot afford even basic cable. I really need my laptop and internet services, so, I tether my cell phone for internet service. I have been trying to get live TV on my Windows Media Center. They say in their instructions that if you have an internet service such a UBS that you can set up live TV. Well, every time I try, They say no tuner found. but from what they are telling me, I should need a tuner. Do you know how I can set this up, or let me know where to purchase the bob you mentioned

    Eddi…Girl version of the boy name

    • kat says

      Was there an answer to this quesiton? I do not see it.
      My biggest gripe is that surfing these options that these devices will give you is very different from one to another and mind boggling and annoying. We should have stopped the cable companys from taking over a long time ago. I used to get several stations on my tv with a roter anntena but as the use of cable increased my stations dropped like flys. The story is the signal interfered. But since no one else complained and everyone just went with cable I had no case. Now the networks are suppose to put out and stronge enough signal but get off the hook if the exspense is too high. Now we are pretty much stuck. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK with other ways to watch tv but the internet you have to pay for will eventually get you because they are the same guys.
      Can anyone tell me more about google tv?

  76. Mary says

    Thank you for the information about the Roku box I am considering purchasing one. Another frugal idea for programming is the HULU plus you get all the updated shows and all the old ones plus some news casts for 7.99 per month.

  77. says

    My husband and I are going through this same process right now – we’re just about ready to cut the cable cord, but we want some alternatives. I do have Amazon Prime, and I like the sound of a Roku. I hear some Blu-ray players also do this, but I haven’t researched my options much yet.

    I’m writing a post on this subject right now and will definitely link up to yours!

    • kat says

      Roku is only one option but be aware that each may have limitations. The wii does some things but has only nefix it won’t get hulu so find out first unless you like doing returns at walmart. I find it hard to get the information about what each device will get you and some are just fancy with a key board and twice the money. Playon is nice and cheap antennas don’t work well unless you are in the city and things that say the have, for instance, golden girls only have to have one show to mention that have it. Others mention they have a show but it ends up being only a short clip and they still mention it. WOW keep chating and telling us more and thanks again for this great forum.

  78. Ratan says

    Can you use 1 Roku box for several TVs or do you need 1 for each TV.

    Does netflix provide live TV shows, specially CNBC.

  79. Koko says

    Yes, but do you get FoxTv News? I pretty much only watch O’Reilly, and Greta Van Sustern “live”. SOMETIMES Anderson Cooper. Does the above process get me those?

  80. Nicole says

    Thank you for the informational post. We have been doing soem research on getting rid of cable. The only hangup we seem to have is live sports. On the nowhereman site it mentioned ESPN….can you elaborate on what that consists of? Will purchasing an antenna allow us to see local sporting events? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


    • Kristen says

      Well, mainly you’re going to need a high speed internet connection that’s powerful enough to handle streaming video. Dial-up definitely won’t do the trick!

  81. Carmen says

    Hi there,
    thanks so much for this article. I have been browsing around in order to get rid off Comcast TV services and as I am not very tech oriented, has been really hard to understand the options I have. But your article was easy and exactly what I needed to learn.
    Thank you!

    • jack says

      Hi carmen, I have comcast internet and i have a splitter on the coaxial cable that comes into the house. one cord goes to the internet and the other now goes to my tv. The only signal is the internet signal. I now have about 50 channels. I have ion channel, amc, tnt, discovery channel, bounce, and few others all the local channels (Abc, NBC, CBS, Fox, ) and a few canadian channels. I get all the channels in HD. Hope this helps if you have internet you dont need cable you can use the internet signal as antenna. good luck. it is very easy to do if you need more info let me know i can give you a step by step.

  82. says

    Would I be able to accomplish the same thing with my XBox 360 console as you’ve got with the Roku? They both seem to be able to stream shows online using Wi-Fi, and if I can get away with using the XBox, I’d rather not pay for the Roku, too.

    • Kristen says

      I think you’ll be a little limited with the xbox, and the Roku really isn’t that expensive. Plus, once you’ve paid for it, there are no further costs at all. You can certainly use the xbox to start with, and if you find it limiting, you can give the Roku a try.

    • Bridget says

      You are not limited to using these services on your Xbox 360. We did our research, xbox vs roku, and xbox is the same. I talked to a lot of people in the tech field and they are all the same products. Roku is a substitute for folks who arent gamers that still want the ability to stream to their tv. The xbox is for us people who like to play our games and stream too. I have netflix and hulu plus and love them both! We use an xbox in the living room, wii in the bedroom, and my son has an xbox in his room. 1 account for each provider and all 3 rooms have service, through our gaming systems.

  83. Lee says

    Do you also have wireless for your computer? If so, which do you use or does it matter. We need a land line with unlimited long distance for my mother, any suggestions.

    Thank you for this post…very helpful!

  84. says

    We tried Netflix for the free trial period. Here’s what we run in to way out here in the country:
    Although we have DSL, it is much, MUCH slower than those who are close to the source of their DSL server. Therefore, I don’t believe we got through one single movie on Netflix due to interruptions in streaming. We were VERY excited when we thought we could get it, but :( our connection isn’t speedy enough to stream it.
    My advice:
    USE the free trial to make sure this type of viewing will even work for your location!

    This was a great article! Thanks :)

  85. Perry says

    Hey there, Kristen.

    I was doing some research on how to watch more TV for free, and I came across your blog.

    I read your post that you have Vonage.

    How do you like them? I have seen a lot of bad reviews on them. Plus they tried to pressure me into buying, in addition to waiving the price of the box and set up costs.

    That set up a flare. I immediately got suspicious.

    I now spend around $75 a month with AT&T, including long distance, and although I can save over $50 a month through Vonage, it still may not be worth it if they suck.

    Anyone else here have any bad or good experiences with them?

    Thanks Kristen! :-)


  86. Anna says

    Dear Mrs FG,
    I am looking for ways to cut costs. Two of our biggest offenders are the cell phone, house phone, cable and internet connection. How have you managed to save on these costs? Any tips or advice?

    Thank you,

  87. says


  88. Vivian says

    I am from Canada, is there anyone on this blog from Canada that does this? If so is it possible to get local news?

  89. Marty says

    I have an IPAD which goes most everywhere with me.
    I can do everything on that.
    Therefore I prefer my Nokia flipfone.
    The flipfones they sell now are crapola. It’s all about Smartphones.
    So I’ve bought 5 USED Nokias (the one I’ve been using for years) on EBAY.

    It has a camera and voice recorder, alarm clock and other features that I like.
    A telephone is a telephone. I’m happy with what I have and I like what I like.

  90. kely says

    The only TV we watch in our home is PBS, KCET…public access with Sesame Street, Martha Speaks, Clifford, Berenstain Bears, Word Girl, Super Why, etc, etc, etc., and for this we pay Time Warner $19.99 per month for “Broadcast” in addition to “Lite Internet” for $30.99 per month. Not very “lite” is it?

    Are you suggesting that great public educational programming can be made available to us without supporting Time Warner’s monopoly? I came online tonight looking for an alternative and wondering if antennae have improved enough in recent years to warrant a purchase.

    We live in a valley in Southern California’s mountainous region and signal reception was questionably poor years ago before we opted for cable for our TV viewing. Time Warner took advantage of our geography by providing this service. If there is a chance we can forego their service now and get public access for…FREE, we’d love to do it.

    Unfortunately, we are still tied to Time Warner for Internet, unless we find an alternative to that, too!

  91. Kyrie says

    I am very much interested in getting a Roku, but trying to obtain information from the website isn’t as easy as I was hoping. Do you know if there is a list anywhere that shows what is included in the basic Roku, where you don’t pay an additional amount? I also have Netflix, but am wondering if the weather channel, abc, or fox are anything is a free service for this device or if you have to purchase it in addition to the box.

  92. says

    We are considering cutting cable, and the only thing I’m wondering is if we can still watch football? If we get the converter box to get local channels, do those local channels include the major networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC?

    • kely says

      Hi, Carmen. I wanted to chime in and suggest an alternative, though I suppose it depends on your geographical location.

      I get Broadcast FREE, including all the channels you listed. I am in SoCal and Time Warner is the provider in my area. I called TW, signed up for their Broadcast service and convinced the sales rep to waive the Installation Fee. A contractor came to my home to install the coaxial cable and hook it up to my TV.

      TW has a 30-Day Trial Period and I canceled within that time frame. Therefore, they reimbursed the fees for that first month trial period. Of course, they never sent anyone to physically remove the coaxial cable. They just digitally stop service. The coaxial cable which remained plugged into my TV acts as an antenna and creates clear reception of all Broadcast channels.

    • kathy says

      I have had NO luck with antennas and I tired a lot of them. The problem is the way the tv stations send thier broadcast signal.

  93. Barbara says

    I can only Access the web with my phone. I use the phone as a hot spot with my kindle fire hd. I don’t have a computer. I do have an hd tv. Could i do streaming? Or might my internet service be too slow for this kind of tv set up?

  94. Nancy says

    Just wondering we watch a lot of television shows like blue blood, all the csi crime shows and some reality shows. Would we still get them and also can you still record shows for later viewing with your system

  95. Dennis Wengel says

    What does a Roku box hook up to? Do I have to have wifi for it to work? Or some type of internet connection threw the phone company?

  96. Jay Stoneman says

    Does this unit provide for the Hallmark. FOX News and Day Star channels? what are the channels that are provided? Where to purchase the Ru box?

  97. BARB says

    on ROKU-How does watchlist work? I put episodes in a watchlist and then it made me register with our tv provider. We have only basic cable with our cable provider. Also, sometimes it says user not authorized and won’t let us watch certain episodes say like on history. On the history channel, counting cars episodes, it says retrieving and never does bring the show up.
    Have any suggestions? Appreciate it, Barb.

    • Kristen says

      I checked with Mr. FG (my husband) and he said you need to check your tv to see what inputs it has-RCA (red, yellow, white) or component (red, blue, green, I believe), or hdmi, which is probably not there if you have an older tv. If you just have the RCA option, avoid the high-end Roku, which requires HDMI.

      The Roku site says you can use the red, yellow, and white (the RCA) to connect, so if you have that, it will work, although HDMI capability is better.

  98. Yolanda says

    Thank you for the advice. I am tired of the continually rising cable costs and no relief in sight. Prices going up and salaries stay the same. Keep up the good work on guiding us to make ends meet.

  99. Echo says

    for those using ruku? how does that work for multiple tvs in the house? say one in the living room and 2 more in bedrooms??

  100. Yasmin says

    You made it so simple, thanks for great explanation.
    I got a question , can we watch specific indian Channel via ROku and netflix. I mean zee tv, aapka color and sony.. Hope to hear soon

    • Kristen says

      I have noo idea what Roku offers as far as Indian channels go. I’d do some googling to see if you can find any information!

  101. M. Brown says

    Hey! I liked this blog. It is definitely informative and to the point. You really gave me some insight to cutting my cable bill. So, here’s another option…
    I used to used Hulu a few years back and stopped because I got caught up into the internet world. However, I just renewed my subscription to Hulu Plus because it offers access to broadcast tv shows and some cable shows as well as movies; old, new, and yet to be premiered. At this point I currently have a triple play package. I am waiting for my magic jack plus in the mail. I’m going to try that out to cut costs on my phone bill. The magic jack plus costed $49.99 pls S&H $8.95. The service cost approximately $30.00 for the year, that’s $3.00 a month for phone service. However, you must have internet service to my knowledge. So, I hope this helps you or others in their search for less costing or free tv and/or phone service.

  102. Dawn says

    We use a smart tv. We get about 25 channels. FREE. Upgrade your tv and you’ll upgrade shows that come in.

  103. says

    Great review Kristen. I decided to get rid of cable 4+ years ago and I have never regretted it for a minute. I still watch everything I always watched… in fact I probably watch more now… and I save hundreds of dollars a month just using Netflix/Hulu/WWE Network etc… it is a phenomenon that continues to grow.

    • says

      I’ve been living w/o cable for a year and 3 months now. After the original cable box crapped out after a month, I bought a second one (different brand) at Radio Shack, and I’ve been happily watching broadcast TV ever since. I even bought a second converter for the upstairs TV! Watch the unboxing and setup here:

  104. Leslie says

    How do you connect the Roku-converter-TV? Does your converter box have pass-through connection for the Roku? Thank you.

  105. June says

    Hi Thanks for the advise. I do have a few questions. Do I need internet to use Roku box? I don’t have it. Do you have suggestions on a cheap way to access internet? I could use it in my laptop. I’m totally confused about what I need to watch my DVD’s on my new HD TV. I use only an high quality antenna to watch it but my DVD’s look terrible on it. Help

    • Kristen says

      Yes, you need high speed internet to use a Roku. I’m not sure what provider to recommend to you, though, because they vary so much depending on your location.

  106. James Burnett says

    I have a NETGEAR WiFi Box. It has Netflix, YouTube and other movie services. How does it rate compared to ROKU? Should I picth it for a ROKU?

  107. Pat says

    I am seriously thinking about getting rid of cable. I have a cell phone that allows me to drop my land phone service. The only thing I am unsure of is I have a iPad and need to have internet service. I have wifi……can I use wifi with cable?

    • Kristen says

      Hmm, I’m a little confused about what you’re asking.

      You can indeed drop your landline and your cable TV line, but you’ll still need to obtain high speed internet service somehow. You should be able to get that without adding cable TV as well, though.

  108. deb says

    I live in a rural area without internet or satellite tv. I bought an antenna and converterbox but still only get 3 channels. Create, pbs, and cartoon. I can’t afford internet or dish. How can I get network channels and more choices.

  109. Teresa says

    Good morning I have been reading your post this morning on the Roku box. We love ours. we just got it about a month ago. I wanted to ask about the channel thenowherechannel. Do you have to pay a monthly fee ? I am assuming you don’t have to and what sorts of shows do you get with it? Our home burned in Feb. and we just got it rebuilt and moved back in and I am trying so hard to save every dime I can.. any more suggestions I would appreciate …

    • Kristen says

      The Nowhere Man is free! They do ask for donations to help support the project, but you don’t have to donate.

  110. says

    Thanks for the tips! We are very similar! We have an antenna outside that just plugs into out tv so we get a whopping FIVE local channels, which really is plenty for us. We did splurge and get Netflix to enjoy a movie from time to time or fun cartoons for the girls.

    I do have a question though. We are big college football fans- especially when it comes to the Huskers!- and we are trying to find a way to watch the games on Saturdays because ABC doesn’t always cover them. Is there a way we can stream through Netflix, or even on a different app/channel on our Wii? If you or your husband could help us out we would appreciate it very much!

    Thank you!!!! :)

    • Kristen says

      We’re not college football fans here, so I don’t have any personal experience with this. But I’m positive someone else on the internet has been in your shoes, so I’d do some googling to see what you can find out.

  111. Terry Kiernan says

    I have roku 2 and vudu, plus netflix and hula plus but what I need to find before my direct tv contract ends in March is how to watch college games like the SEC Network. Because between my vudu account, hula plus and Netflix I have movies and tv shows pretty much covered. I need my college football from end of August till January. Once college football ends that it until the next season.

  112. says

    I would like to know if I can get internet with this service? Or would I have to purchase it separate. And if I would need someone to come out and set it up. Also what all channels can I get, and is there a place that I can look up the channels. Thank you so much and I appreciate your help. Thanks Deborah!

  113. says

    I need to buy new tv – have old box – sound finally going.

    what is difference between smart tv and just hd tv? I dont have or want cable. I just want air stations and to be able to watch movies (have hulu on laptop) on tv. I have very limited income. I was told by someone that if I got a smart tv, I would only need an antenna to get air stations. I tried new rabbit antenna on my old (2000 year) tv and nothing worked – no pics and no sound. Help? Any advice? confused. can’t afford cable and rip off. Not sure if roof antenna on building I live in. Not allowed to get satelite/dish here. Any help appreciated. thanks.

    • Kristen says

      Perhaps you’d need a digital converter box to make the rabbit ears work on your old TV?

      I’m not super knowledgeable about it, but I do know a smart TV is able to connect to the internet without something like a Roku box, and you can install apps on it, kind of like you can on a smartphone.

  114. annie says

    My comment is a question how do you watch shows on your computer if you dont subscribe
    because it always takes you to something especially if your trying to watch a current season is there something i am not doing right however i am able to see old eposoides.

  115. says

    We have been using our Roku for awhile now but cut the satellite ‘cord’ just last month. We have tons of stuff on the PC and we stream from the computer to the tv using PLEX. It’s a great Roku streaming channel, requires a little bit of play to get it all set up right but it is great. We were using MyMedia (also a pc streaming channel) with our old computer but I’m liking the functionality of PLEX better. My 4 year old knows how to use the Roku himself and watches the PBS channel. You can get cheap subscriptions to watch current (and old) tv shows with Netflix or HuluPlus. So far we are just watching all the stuff we had on the computer and haven’t signed up for anything. It’s awesome to get an entire season of a show and get to watch it all the way through without waiting a week

  116. jason says

    Tried it, didn’t like it… Yeah, it’s free, but much like Cable TV you have no choice in the stations available to you and quite frankly, I didn’t find anything worth watching (“Atheist TV”?…, really?) Real freedom is when you choose the choice of channels you can have available to you, free or not, not when someone forces down your throat a list of channels they think you “should” watch. Sorry… no cigar

  117. Dan says

    We just cancelled our cable subscription last week. I admit, I have been the obstacle to this not happening sooner. Sigh. Everytime we cancelled, I couldn’t stand the lack of options on free TV, it was terrible. So I went most of this weekend without cable and was in some serious pain. Luckily, I signed up for netflix last night, it streams via our blu ray player, and I love it.

    I have watched 3 of 10 episodes of “WW2 in HD” and just can’t get enough. I really like the lack of commercials. I see many more documentaries in my future. No more boob tube, just interesting stuff from now on. Yeah netflix, it’s SO cheap compared to the $733 last year I spent on cable, which includes tons of extra taxes too.

  118. Bonnie Locklear says

    Just wanted to say I really would love to use Netflix and Roku but Hughesnet charges after you you use 10 GB a month with 10 GB extra from 2Am to 8AM when we sure wouldn’t be watching Tv so it really doesn’t come out cheap for us. We dropped directv as mmy husband and I am only getting SS so need things much cheaper, Only if I could pay for Netflix and Hughesnet not charge me foe using more GB!!!!

  119. sherry says

    We have an older tv, not HDTV.. We have ROKU and like it very much.
    The only thing we would like to be able to get is some LIVE news broadcasts .
    Seems nothing on ROKU is live.
    We tried an antenna to pick up stations over the air, but without HDTV, we cant pick up any news stations.
    Would a converter box work, or are we destined to purchase an HDTV?

    Sherry/Prescott AZ
    elevation 6000ft.

  120. says

    So if I was to get all this equipment my internet service would I need to do all the movies or do I just need the box’s antanas plus what I am on disability and movie to oregon oct 9 2015 .my daughter and her husband bought a 2bdrm cottage for me and my son both of us are physical disabled we would want this to be legal please help us cut our bill in half I love the news will I be able to get it . thank you from snowfox.

    • says

      You’ll need high speed internet to make this work, for sure. And you’ll need the Roku box.

      Cable-type news is difficult to get without cable, but you should be able to get regular broadcast news without a problem.

      We get movies through Amazon, Redbox, and Roku.

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