When I was a kid, having cable was a big deal. By the time I was an adult, it felt like a burden. I loved TV, but I hated the bill. I eventually decided to cut the cord, but I didn’t want to go without my favorite shows and channels.
Luckily, the streaming world is getting bigger, and I’m now finding there’s nothing I’m missing out on by not having cable. Odds are, you won’t find anything missing either. Here’s a look at the most popular television networks and how you can watch them after you cut the cord.
1. CBS is the giant
Despite a dip in overall audience in 2016, CBS still tops the other networks with a strong viewership. It’s no surprise that CBS is popular thanks to offering huge hits like Big Bang Theory, Survivor, and Criminal Minds. You can stream CBS in the following ways:
CBS All Access: The network’s own streaming service has quite a few perks. With CBS All Access, you receive a local affiliate live stream (in 80% of markets) and on-demand access to all CBS shows. In addition, you also gain access to exclusive shows like The Good Fight and the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. If you’re not able to watch live shows, the on-demand library will have what you’re looking for within a few hours after the show airs. CBS All Access starts at $5.99 a month, and a free trial is available. It works on Roku, Xbox, mobile devices, and other devices.
PlayStation Vue: PS Vue is another live streaming cable replacement, and costs $30/month. Over the last year or so, the service has quietly been adding CBS local affiliates to its service, and now covers over half of the US. If you’re looking for a full cable TV alternative that offers CBS, this is likely your best choice.
2. NBC comes in second thanks to NFL and Olympics coverage
The obvious thing that sets NBC apart is the sports coverage. NBC has Thursday and Sunday Night Football, along with some postseason NFL games, and they also have Olympics coverage. Later this spring, the network will offer coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup series, as well. It’s hard to top that, although they do have some good non-sports content like the Chicago, the Law and Order series, and Saturday Night Live.
Sling TV: The Sling TV Blue package is available for $25/month, which includes live streaming and on-demand NBC nationwide. This package includes over 40 channels total, and if you want something you might not have, you can add on channels and bundles for a small fee, or opt for the Blue/Orange combo package at $40/month. Sling TV works on most devices, and comes with a free one-week trial.
PlayStation Vue: Vue offers NBC live in select markets and on demand in others. As mentioned above, the service starts at $30 per month. Don’t forget that a seven-day trial is available, too.
DirecTV Now: DirecTV Now packages start at $35/month. This includes 60 channels plus local options. ABC, NBC, and FOX are included in select cities. You can watch on various streaming services, but Roku service is not currently available. A seven-day trial is available.
fuboTV: fuboTV is available for $35/month, and it’s a great option for sports fans. They offer tons of sports content you can’t find on other streaming services. They also offer NBC and FOX in select cities. A variety of devices are available to stream fuboTV and a free one-week trial is also available.
It’s also worth noting that the NBC Sports app is available. This is definitely handy when it’s time for the Olympics. You’ll be able to watch through various streaming devices, and much of the content you can watch for free.
3. FOX News is the most popular news outlet
FOX News had quite the year in 2016, with viewership up 36% from 2015. Meanwhile, CNN, MSNBC, and other news channels tend to split the audience that doesn’t prefer FOX News. Of course, while FOX News has soared in viewership, it’s only fair to point out that CNN and MSNBC also saw large growth, with CNN ranking second in cable news followed closely by MSNBC at third.
In terms of streaming, you can watch FOX News on DirecTV Now, fuboTV, and PlayStation Vue. Sling TV does not currently carry the network.
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