Products + Test-drives

4 alternatives to cable — and reviews for each one

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | July 31, 2015 - 2:29PM

With cable companies charging upwards of $100 a month, many New Yorkers are opting to cut the cord entirely in favor of cheaper streaming services and devices. But which are the best ones out there?


How it works: For a one-time purchase, Roku allows you to connect accounts like your Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Go to your TV so you can search in one place.

Cost: Models range from the $49.99 streaming stick to larger Roku players (costing between $50 and $100) to Roku TVs that can go for as much as $500.

Ease of use: Simple and user-friendly, although the search feature could be improved.

Verdict: If you want all your accounts in one place, Roku is the thing for you.


How it works: Simply plug the device into the HDMI port on your TV to stream content wirelessly from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Cost: $35.

Ease of use: A cinch. After plugging in and following some prompts, you’ll be watching your fave Netflix shows in no time.

Verdict: Great, if you use Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Google play and other Chromecast-supported apps.

Amazon Fire Stick

How it works: Just plug and play. It fits into the HDMI port on your TV and streams media onto your screen in an instant.

Cost: The Fire TV stick is $39, while Fire TV is available for $99.

Ease of use: Ready to go out of the box—the remote even comes with batteries! There’s a two-minute initial set-up, but after that, navigation is easy. You do need to have an Amazon account to get started, but you don’t have to have Prime.

Verdict: Great, so long as you don’t rely on recording shows to watch later.


How it works: Turn on your Xbox, then log into your Xbox Live account. You’ll then need to download the Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime apps in order to access the content, but once they’re installed, it’s pretty easy to find TV shows and movies to watch.

Cost: Xbox, $500 (plus the various monthly service subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, etc.).

Ease of Use: While the Xbox controller takes some getting used to, it’s pretty easy overall.

Verdict: It can be annoying having to get your shows from all different places, as well as having to wait months to see shows’ new seasons.

For more, read “Thinking of ditching cable? Meet the alternatives.” 

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


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