Ditch the Cable and Stream Favorite Political Shows for Less

I cut the cord a long time ago, though I was reluctant to do so.  I was—shamefully!—paying $182 a month for cable television (with a DVR and all the other fixin’s) until I began my journey in extreme budget in 2016 (which, thanks to private music lessons and your subscriptions, I don’t have to be quite so extreme about these days).

Back then, it was much simpler—there were only a handful of streaming services, and they tended to offer a pretty broad selection of television series and films.  There were quite a few shows on Fox that I enjoyed watching regularly, so I went with Hulu, as they would stream episodes of shows that had aired the previous night.  Otherwise, the options were pretty much Netflix and YouTube and… I’m not even sure what else.  It was a brave new world for home entertainment—the wild west.

Now there’s a streaming service for every subgenre, and nearly for every intellectual property.  In order to get everything (or nearly everything), you’d end up paying more than my shameful pre-2016 cable bill.

Of course, when we had everything on cable, we didn’t watch but a small fraction of it.  So streaming still offers a far better alternative, as consumers can largely choose the basket of programming they prefer from one or two streaming services, rather than paying a hefty premium for thousands of channels and shows they’ll never watch.

With that here is “Ditch the Cable and Stream Favorite Political Shows for Less”:

Whether you’re a news hound or want to watch a politically-themed drama, it can get expensive when you’re subscribed to a cable TV service. Fortunately, other options are available when you want to catch the latest news stories or be entertained by watching a miniseries. Streaming services such as DIRECTV STREAM, FuboTV, Netflix or Amazon Prime, allow you to watch popular news networks and a number of Hollywood flicks.

Cutting the cord and ditching cable TV for streaming alternatives can be scary if you’ve been a faithful cable TV subscriber for several years. Becoming informed about what’s offered is the best way to get started before you cancel your cable TV service. It allows you to investigate the alternatives and know what you’re getting into before you make a move.

Determine the Right Video Streaming Service and Plan

Unlike a cable TV subscription, a streaming service allows you to watch your favorite news channels and movies via your internet connection. This action can be done using a smart TV or external device connected to your TV. Researching the options is the best way to choose a streaming service that’s right for you.

Two live streaming service providers with news channels include FuboTV and DIRECTV STREAM. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are excellent choices when you want to relax and be entertained. Some have free trials, offering a great way to see if it’s right for you. Exploring each one before you get rid of cable can help ensure you receive the shows matching your interests when you subscribe.

FuboTV: This live streaming service provides MSNBC, Fox News, Newsmax and the three major news networks, ABC, CBS and NBC. Knowing you can watch the latest segment from Jesse Waters or Greg Kelly should give you peace of mind if you choose this service. With a starting package of just under $70 per month, it’s considerably less than a cable TV subscription, and you can watch over 100 other channels as well.

DIRECTV STREAM: CNN, Fox News and MSNBC can be found on DIRECTV’s streaming service. Closer in price to FuboTV, you can watch 75+ live channels for less than $70 monthly. It also provides unlimited cloud DVR recordings, which can be handy if you miss the live stream of Erin Burnett OutFront, which streams on CNN.

Netflix: Several political shows are available on Netflix. The West Wing, which was awarded 26 Emmys, chronicles the fictitious presidency of Josiah Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen. It originally aired on ABC for seven seasons. Netflix also carries Political Animals, starring Sigourney Weaver in the role of Elaine Barrish, a United States Secretary of State. House of Cards, another excellent political drama stars Kevin Spacey as Congressman Francis Underwood, a politician who is a master of abusing his powers. Netflix has a Standard plan for $15.49 per month, providing unlimited streaming. You can watch it on your TV, computer, tablet or mobile phone.

Amazon Prime Video: Another entertaining political show honing in on the hijinks of a corrupt politician is Boardwalk Empire. It’s as much a crime drama as a political drama. It stars Steve Buscemi as a corrupt politician during the 1920s Prohibition era. If you’d like to take a look at real-world political events, Amazon Prime also carries The Clinton Affair, showing archival footage and exclusive interviews of Bill Clinton’s political scandal. Amazon Prime has a 30-day free trial. It’s $14.99 a month after the trial has ended.

Buy a Video Streaming Device

After you’ve checked out these or other streaming services and decide to cancel your cable subscription, you’ll need to ensure you can stream your chosen service. If you already have a smart TV from Samsung, Sony, LG or another vendor, you may not need an external device. However, if your current TV doesn’t have the option to provide live streaming, you can get a small set-top box (dongle) that allows you to use your favorite streaming service.

There are several options to choose from when looking for a video streaming device. Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV can be obtained inexpensively, ranging in price from $30-$70. Adding more space for storage will cost you more. Once you purchase one of these small devices and connect it to your TV, you are set to catch the latest political news.

Get an Antenna for Free Local TV Channels

Knowing you have access to free local TV channels that air popular news networks and entertaining political shows may give you peace of mind. These can work in conjunction with a streaming service or act as a backup. You can get several free local channels using a TV antenna. Going with this option is another alternative to your cable subscription.

Using an HDTV antenna is the latest choice if you’re shopping in this market. This technology makes it easier to pick up HDTV signals at longer distances. Depending on your preferences, you can find HD antennas between $20 and $50. Going this route will require you to decide if you want to use an outdoor or indoor option.

While installing a mounting pole and placing your antenna outside might take extra work, you’ll likely receive the best signal with the outdoor antenna option. Indoor antennas work best when you put them by a window. If your TV is far from one, these antennas usually include a long coaxial cable, allowing you to get the best reception.

Once you’ve hooked up your antenna, you’ll need to see what channels you can get. These will likely include ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and FOX. While you might need to try a few different spots before you find a suitable signal, it can be well worth the trouble. Using an antenna is free, saving you hundreds of dollars each month if you eliminate your cable TV subscription.

Tuning in to ABC, CBS or NBC will allow you to see what’s happening in today’s world of politics or be entertained by the latest political drama.


Now that you know more about cutting your cable TV subscription, it should be more straightforward to examine the options and make a move. Whether you want to start with an antenna, try a streaming service or switch to a service immediately, you’ll save money each month.


17 thoughts on “Ditch the Cable and Stream Favorite Political Shows for Less

  1. Good piece. 🙂

    I’d just like to add a correction. Once the Amazon 30 day trial has ended, your fee per month will be $9.85. I just checked this against what Tina pays monthly.

    Things work differently in the UK. There is a mandated TV license, linked to the heavily biased BBC, which means that if you watch live broadcasts, you have to have one of these licenses with costs £159 per year. This might not seem much but when you work out that the majority of live TV is abject rubbish, it’s £159 better spent on other things.

    Tina and I gave up our license nearly 3 years ago. We were fed up with the shocking bias of major news broadcasters and the fact that none of them spoke for us. If we want to watch anything now, it’s streamed via catch up services, ie, not live. Or box sets. We have a vast array of entertainment at our disposal, we don’t need to watch them live.

    Liked by 1 person

      • They’re not responding. The BBC puts out dodgy polls to give the impression that more people are consuming its content not less though as I vaguely remember, last year around 400,000 people gave up the license and from what I hear, the number is rising. Neither BBC nor government believe any response to the people is worth it.

        What gets my goat is the other channels- those not linked with the license fee – don’t complain about it. When someone gives up the fee, they not only give up the BBC but Channels 4 and 5, ITV, Sky and the like. They should be on board with people like us but they’re silent. Hey ho. If they’re as happy as the BBC to lose their audience, that’s their prerogative.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Those non-BBC channels must be getting into streaming, or they’re wetting their beaks some other way. At least the BBC’s response is mild obfuscation; I’d figured they’d find some reason to crack down on streaming services to preserve their monopoly.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the older a person is, the harder it becomes to make such a decision. Because I am so blessed, my son-in-law (sil) has provided me with Netflix, Hulu, and Plex from his accounts (evidently there are family options available). Netflix is very easy to use; Hulu has some issues that create a bit of a hiccough when you’re trying to follow a couple of different series alternately. Plex makes me crazy.

    Secondly, I am the computer ‘guru’ in this house – my husband doesn’t even know how to turn the computer on. I have a monitor that also receives tv transmissions (given to me by a good friend) so I can watch what my cable company offers as well as the streaming services. But in the living room, where the tv is, my husband has only recently gotten to the point that I don’t have to go in there to fix his fumble fingers that produce blank screens. He could no more handle the streaming services than fly out of a tree.

    Thirdly – there are things that happen immediately and our cable subscription allows us to see in real time ‘breaking news’ in our area and around the world. I don’t mind showing my ignorance but I don’t know if that is possible with the streaming services. I want my hurricane alerts and warnings and such as soon as they happen, not see yesterday’s video of it on YT.

    It’s a big decision to drop cable and I suggest anyone who is interested in doing that to get the trial memberships and see if you’re able to make the programming do what you want and need it to do. Also keep in mind – if there’s a problem, I can call my sil and if need be, he can stop by the house to help. How many folks would have that help available to them with a ‘membership’? Proceed with caution.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good advice, Audre. Having the technology available is one thing. Being able to use it or have someone help you use it is another. There’s never going to be a rush in this country to help the elderly learn to stream because the government wants them to be fed their propaganda but I imagine many people who have cut off the incessant live indoctrination will have helped their elderly family members or neighbours with streaming technology.

      We do it from the Playstation so it’s as easy as anything.

      As for you being computer savvy, downloading Steam should be easy and then you can get Little Nightmares 1 and 2. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • You’re correct on all points. My younger brother has had to help my parents transition, but they love it once they got the hang of it.

      I know that Hulu offers a subscription with live television, though it’s quite pricey (but still cheaper than cable!).

      For less tech-savvy users, cutting the cord will be a more difficult prospect, but it’s not impossible to figure out by any means. For the vast majority of users, it’s relatively easy to make the switch. I do think cable companies are fortunate in that it’s a nuisance to cancel a subscription, so they can coast on people’s inertia for awhile. That happened with me when I was paying $182 a month—I saved TONS of money annually when I finally went through the process, but it involved about four hours in total on the phone with my cable company to “decouple” and downgrade just to Internet.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. By the way, Audre, I posted (on the readers forum, TCW) the video of what one Youtuber did in the early stages of The Last of Us 2. If you flick onto 2:53 and watch from there, you’ll get an impression of where we were at the end of the game. We lasted longer than this guy but the disappointment, I get.

    Liked by 2 people

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