By Gail Marsh
Who doesn’t like a cable or satellite television bill? Me! How about you? It’s aggravating to pay for 200+ channels and still find absolutely nothing you want to watch. I remember the good ol’ days when my dad would go outside to our TV antenna. Did you have one? The TV antenna was a long pole that reached from the ground to above our roofline. Sitting at the top of the pole was a huge antenna featuring a spidery mass of metal that magically allowed my family to watch TV. Dad would run outside (even in the freezing Iowa winter weather) to give the pole a quick twist. The next several minutes would go something like this as we communicated (shouted) through the permanently stuck-shut storm window:
Dad: How’s that?
Me: Still “snowy.”
Dad (after another quick twist): How about now?
Me: Better, but now it’s flipping.
Dad (twisting again): Any better?
Me: Turn it back just a little. That’s it! Right there!
Dad (re-entering the house): Oh, good! Perry Mason!
Ah … the good ol’ days. Right? I loved that we could literally take matters into our own hands and usually get at least one of the four available channels to “come in.” Now it’s a completely different story. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve called our television service provider with a question about billing, an interruption in service, or non-working provider equipment.
You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that it is possible to take matters into my own hands again, just like those old days. Did you know that it’s possible to get free or almost-free TV? What’s more, you can actually find shows you want to watch. Check out some of the following options to see what might work best for you. And then, call your TV provider one last time – to cancel!
Free (and legal) TV services
Tubi: This free television service allows you to watch TV series, movies, and TV channels. You just download an app and follow the prompts.
Pluto TV: With this free provider you can enjoy TV Land’s sitcoms like Moesha. Want a movie instead? Agent 007’s “A View to a Kill” is available (along with too many other movies to count). Interested in the news? Pluto TV will let you watch that too!
YouTube: Yes, YouTube offers paid subscription TV packages, but you can also get a lot of free content here. What’s more, by searching YouTube you can watch content that supports your interests (e.g., beekeeping, sports bloopers, travel). Just enter your interest into the search bar. There is something for everyone – for free!
Crackle: This is another free TV service owned by Sony Pictures. You’ll get a lot of Sony movies along with TV shows and original Sony productions that change on a monthly basis.
Popcornflix: It contains advertisements, but offers a variety of television series along with movies.
Low-cost streaming services
Netflix: On Netflix you can enjoy a great variety of television for as low as $8.99 per month.
Hulu: A subscription at Hulu will get you popular movies, TV series, and Hulu originals. Starting at just $5.99 per month, it’s a bargain.
Acorn TV: At just under $6 per month you can watch all the great shows from Britain, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. Some of the detective shows are my favorites!
Curiosity Stream: This TV service is available for only $2.99 a month and is ad-free. With Curiosity Stream you’ll get documentaries and TV shows about history, nature, psychology, and more.
discovery+: Watch your favorite shows for just $4.99 a month with discovery+. The platform hosts HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery, A&E, History, Travel Channel, Lifetime, Magnolia and more!
Watch TV your way
These are just a few television options. Note that some services will contain advertisements. Personally, I don’t mind the ads. The providers have to make money, right? Besides, those three or four minutes allow me to pop some popcorn, grab a soda, and coax my hubby to watch TV with me!
How do you watch TV?