We are in the golden age of television. There are so many great shows all around the world. However, cable TV is still not affordable for everybody. Pricey packages and complex installation makes it harder to get hooked up.
Fortunately, it’s not the end of the road. There are plenty of discount options that will let you watch your favorite TV programs. They require minimal set-up and, depending on which option you choose, you can enjoy shows from at home or abroad. Whether you like local dramas and international hits, there’s a way to get your favorite entertainment for low prices.
Here are five easy and cheap options.
1. Streaming Platforms
Platforms like Netflix are the new standard
when it comes to TV. There’s a huge catalog of entertainment available. While
most shows are released straight away, they’re usually on Netflix shortly after
they air on cable. Netflix has also recently released a mobile-only
version in India. The video quality is limited to 480p, but it’s available for a fraction of the
cost – just Rs 199 ($2.80) per month.
Netflix isn’t the only streaming platform available. If you don’t like the selection available, then you can sign-up to an alternative service. Try these sites instead:
- Amazon Prime
- Sony LIV
If you don’t want to pay for a streaming service then there are free options available online. Simply Google the show you want and get out the listings. However, it’s worth noting that the quality is usually lower, issues with buffering arise and there’s a high chance of contracting an internet virus. If you’re doing to use these sites then proceed with caution.
2. Digital Antennas
If you want to watch local live TV, then Netflix probably isn’t your best option. You need to be able to connect directly with stations in your area, rather than over the internet. One, often overlooked, way to do this is using a digital antenna. The only expense is purchasing the device itself. They cost around $20-30, but this is one off payment rather than a monthly subscription. You receive up to 50 channels for free, and enjoy high-definition for most programs.
The only difficultly with digital antennas is deciding which one to buy, as they offer different functions. Here are a few points to consider before making your decision:
- Indoor Vs. Outdoor
Indoor antennas are notably more convenient as you can place them indoor next to your TV. However, the signal is weaker. Outdoor antennas can guarantee a better viewing experience, as they can be placed high up where there’s nothing to block them. However, you need to ensure they’re placed well, out of the way of any obstacles.
- Directional Vs. Multidirectional
If you live far away from the broadcasting station then directional antennas may be the best bet. You can point them towards the signal, which gives them the ability to pick up shows from much further away. Multidirectional can receive data from more channels and stations, but only when they’re in the immediate area. Antennas usually include information about the range of their signal.
- VHF and UHF
Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) determines which broadcast channels you receive. VHF covers 2-13 and UHF covers 14-51. However, the numbers than channels market themselves as are not necessarily the channel they broadcast on. Most stations now use UHF, so unless you are specifically looking for a VHF channel, it’s advisable you opt for the ultra option.
Just like Netflix, many other companies have seen the market niche that is mobile streaming. So many of us watch TV on our phones now, so there isn’t any point in paying for multi-device streaming platforms. Numerous apps now exist that let you watch Live and Catch Up TV, whenever and wherever you want.
Some examples include:
- Airtel TV
Airtel offers live TV for a monthly subscription fee. It’s available for both iOS and Android users. As well as live shows, you also get access to a catalogue of movies and programs from the company’s affiliates – such as YouTube and Sony.
The JioTV app lets you watch live TV, along side any shows that have aired in the past seven days. You can enjoy 500+ channels in 15 languages, which is the most extensive of all streaming apps. You can download JioTV for free. Unfortunately, it’s only available for those who use a Jio SIM.
- Tata Sky Mobile
Like JioTV, Tata Sky mobile is an app for Tats Sky subscribers. It lets you manage your account remotely, while also granting access to live TV. Currently, the app covers 400 channels, but you can only access those in your TV plan. You can use it to pause, and even record, live shows.
- Yupp TV
YuppTV was one of the first live TV apps in India. It’s particularly suited to people who want to watch South-Indian language TV. There are numerous live channels available. You can watch South-Indian movies and spiritual channels, alongside Hindi and English music and news channels.
4. Catch-Up TV
Catch-up TV lets you go online to find shows that you’ve missed out. It usually only offers shows for a limited period – e.g. 7 days or 30 days. Many Indian networks offer this service, including:
However, you can also access international content using catch-up services and a virtual private network (VPN.) VPNs allow you to falsify your location, so websites thing you are viewing them from their native country. This process let’s you get around the geo-blocking that restricts content due to licensing. Channels that offer catch up TV in this capacity include:
- Channel 4
Torrenting is a controversial topic, but it remains one of the most surefire ways to access TV. While you can’t watch live, it is possible to download shows after they have aired and watch them for free on your device. To torrent a TV show, do the following:
- Download a torrent client, such as Vuze or uTorrent.
- Access a torrent site, such as Pirate Bay, and search for the show that one want.
- Try to opt for a file with a large amount of seeders. Made sure to read reviews to ensure there’s no virus. Once confirmed, click ‘Get Torrent.’
- The torrent client will download the TV show. When it’s finished you can open it on your device and watch at your leisure.
Before you choose these options, it’s important to understand the laws surrounding them. In India, torrenting is completely legal. However, there are laws regarding sharing copyrighted media. As you’re not the one who did the sharing, you’re probably safe. However, it’s worth noting that it’s a legal grey area – so proceed with caution!
Image credit: TV Shows via BrAt82/Shutterstock