Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Three Worthy Streaming Apps for the Cord-Cutter

So you did away with your cable television service. If you did so because you just don't watch TV, congratulations -- you're saving yourself some money and probably some annoyance. Congratulations!

If you cut the cord to save money but still want to watch TV, chances are you've picked one or more paid replacements for cable: Netflix, Hulu (referral link!) or Amazon Video for movies and archived TV shows, Sling for live TV, and so on.

On the "free" side of things, most broadcast/cable networks and channels have their own streaming apps over which you can watch at least some live and/or archived content. But that's a hodge-podge and a mess to keep track of.

Three free stand-alone apps ( bring a lot of content under their individual umbrellas. They might even meet your needs as replacements for some of those paid services.

Pluto is a "live TV" service that I actually prefer to Sling in many ways. It's free (ad-laden, but so is Sling). Its "guide" format is more intuitive and cable-like than Sling's. It features more than 75 channels, including 10 news channels, six comedy channels and six tech/geek channels. If you're wanting more prominent cable action like AMC and Syfy, Pluto isn't a complete solution, but like I said it's free and full of good stuff.

Tubi is the poor man's Netflix -- free and featuring more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes, with studio partnerships and weekly content updates. You're generally not going to find the latest new releases on Tubi the week after they leave theaters, but there's plenty of good stuff. I discovered Tubi when I was looking for a particular movie (Suspect Zero) that wasn't available for free on any of the big three streaming services at the time. Yes, you have to put up with ads. That's why you don't have to fork over cash.

Crackle is a Sony project, but I won't hold that against them. No charge, ad-supported, a rotating mix of movies and television. Personally when I visit Crackle it's usually to watch their Seinfeld archive or catch up with Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. But they have other stuff too.

All three of these apps are available for Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as other platforms. I recommend installing them and then tracking your usage. You may find out that in addition to cutting the cable cord, these apps will let you cut one or more paid streaming services out of your monthly cost of living.

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