Cord cutting is an incredibly popular trend, and with more streaming content available, your decision to cut the cord has never been easier.
Streaming from free or paid programming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu is a walk in the park. Worried about giving up live TV and sports? We’ve got you covered with SlingTV and FuboTV. Even after ditching cable, you’ll still be able to watch all your favorite content like sports, news, music, kids programming, and much, much more.
On TCL Roku TVs, the options are almost limitless. Not only does our Smart TV platform offer thousands of streaming channels, and more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes to enjoy, but you can also add your favorite devices like cable boxes, game consoles, and blu-ray players with ease. So long as you have a built-in tuner, you can access free over the air content by pairing your TCL TV to an antenna.
With so much content available, it can be tough to decide where to begin, so we’ve set up a short list of popular apps to get you started.
TV and Movies
Netflix is the big one. As the world’s leading subscription service for watching TV and movies, Netflix puts thousands of titles at your fingertips. They’ve also got some of the most popular award-winning, original content like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black which are only available to Netflix subscribers. Subscription starts at $7.99 /mo.
Amazon provides another source for thousands of movies, TV episodes, exclusive content, and original series’. The big difference is that Amazon Video also lets you buy or rent titles that may not be available elsewhere. Maybe the coolest part—Amazon Prime includes free shipping on select items from Amazon.com, so not only are you getting great content to watch, but their service helps your online shopping needs as well. Prime Membership starts at $99 /year, averaging out to about 8 bucks a month.
Hulu is where you’ll go to watch all your favorites that currently air on cable. You can stream hit TV shows from networks like FOX, NBC, ABC, AMC, E!, Comedy Central, and more. Their service also offers their own exclusive content, and some movies, too. While their base plan does have commercials, ad-free plans are always available. Plans start at $7 /mo.
Premium content used to be reserved for traditional cable or satellite subscribers, but the introduction of HBO NOW changed all that. With HBO NOW, you can get HBO’s movies and exclusive series such as VEEP, Game of Thrones, and old favorites like Entourage. Talk shows, documentaries, and special events are all included, too – and you don’t need cable to access it. HBO NOW is priced at $14.99 /mo.
The SHOWTIME app for Roku is your source for unlimited access to award-winning SHOWTIME Original Series like Homeland, Shameless and Ray Donovan, as well as select hit movies, compelling documentaries, hilarious comedy specials, and action-packed sports – all commercial-free. SHOWTIME is priced at $10.99 /mo.
PlayStation Vue is a live streaming TV service—that means you’ll be able to watch live TV just like if it were cable. There’s no long-term commitment, and multiple plans to choose from, like the base plan, which includes 45+ popular broadcast, cable, movie and sports channels in HD, such as FOX, Disney Channel, and ESPN, to name a few. Premium channels like HBO and Showtime are also available to add on. Plans start at $39.99 /mo.
Sling TV prides itself on offering a la carte TV. It’s the only live service that lets you personalize your channel lineup. This means no more useless channels, and no long-term commitments, making it a popular choice among cord cutters. The base Sling Orange service offers 30 channels including ESPN, Disney Channel, AMC, TNT, TBS, and CNN, and you can always add more channels you want. Plans start at $20 /mo.
Direct TV Now
Direct TV Now service is the satellite TV provider’s answer to the growing on-demand streaming trend. More than 120 live TV channels are available through Direct TV, all without the extra equipment or long-term contracts associated with DirectTV’s traditional service. Subscribers can also add premium channels like HBO and Cinemax at any time. Plans start at $35 /mo.
WatchESPN gives sports fans access to 24/7 live sports and content from various ESPN networks, including favorites like Sunday Night Baseball and Sports Center. The only drawback is that you need to receive ESPN as part of your TV package, but if you do have a subscription (or know someone who does) it’s a great way to access sports content. WatchESPN is free to download.
Fox Sports Go
With Fox Sports Go, you can watch live sports and great shows from Fox’s sports networks, including Fox Sports, FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes, and more. Like WatchESPN, Fox Sports Go requires an active subscription with a TV Provider, whether it’s your subscription or someone’s you know. Fox Sports Go is free to download.
We’ve already discussed Sling TV as one of the best ways to enjoy live TV without a cable subscription, but the service is also popular with sports lovers, too. Sling TV’s basic plan includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, TNT, and more, but if that isn’t enough, there’s also the Sports Extra package which adds even more sports content from ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC network, NHL network, Outside TV, beIN Sports, Univision Deportes, and NBA TV. Sports Extra can be added for just $5 /mo.
FuboTV is a great option if you’re focused on getting sports content. It’s particularly useful for soccer-centric sports fans, but features channels such as Fox Deportes, NBA TV, Universo, Fox Soccer Plus, and the Big Ten Network, too. You can also get SyFy, E!, and History Channel as a part of this package. Prices start at $34.99 per month (promotional offer).
MLB, NBA, and NHL TV
Most major sports leagues offer subscription-based apps that will let you watch games from around the league. You can also select a single team package and watch your favorite team play without having to pay for full access. Some blackout restrictions apply, but these are great apps for sports fans who don’t live in the same area as their favorite team. Single-team packages start at $84.99/ season.
Children & Family
A go-to channel for kids of all ages. With the Disney Channel app, kids (and adults) can enjoy all their favorite shows, such as K.C. Undercover, Liv & Maddie, and many others. The app also provides a wide range of content that includes clips, trailers, and even music videos. Sadly, you can’t use the app to watch live TV or access some episodes without a cable or satellite subscription, but otherwise, the Disney Channel app is free to download.
The Nick app provides access to the family-friendly content Nickelodeon has to offer. Shows include Spongebob, The Loud House, Henry Danger, and the rest of your favorites. Access to some shows is limited to people with an active cable subscription, but the app also provides exclusive clips, games, and coverage of events such as the Kids' Choice Awards. The Nick app is free to download.
PBS KIDS is a great app brimming with content that kids and families love. The app features entertaining shows, including Curious George, Wild Kratts, Sesame Street, as well as a host of other series and curriculum-based content. All the content available through PBS KIDS is designed to stimulate critical thinking, imagination, and curiosity, and none of it requires a cable subscription. Clips, songs and music videos featuring characters from popular PBS shows are also available. The PBS Kids app is absolutely free to download.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and should be a good start for anyone who’s completely new to streaming or the TCL Roku TV smart TV platform. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are some go-to’s for TV, and HBO and Showtime often have recent movies and original content you already know. Sling, DirecTV, and FuboTV will help you catch up with the live content you may be missing, and don’t forget that kids have great viewing options as well. With a little thought, cutting the cord can be easy, simple, and cost-effective, too. Just be warned—after you start binge watching, you may never return to cable again.