Affordable Cable TV Alternatives: Roku 3

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If you’re looking for a way to still have some entertainment options, but don’t want to go the cable or satellite tv route, you may want to try out the Roku 3.

We cut our cable subscription I think last year when the price rose and we weren’t getting much out of it.

Besides not being big TV watchers, we also don’t like having to keep up with a certain schedule for shows. We’d rather watch on our time.

We are fans of streaming services as the prices seemed more reasonable and we could watch shows whenever we were in the mood to catch them.

After hearing some good reviews about the Roku 3 and the some of the free connect included, we bought one.

Roku’s Content Versus Cable TV

What appealed to me about Roku is that there is no monthly fee for the basic service.

You buy a unit and out of the box, your Roku comes with a lot of free channels and content.

One of my favorites is PBS. I’m enjoying watching the Roosevelt documentary series on my own schedule, which is a necessity with an active toddler.

Looking for more options? Simply go to the channel store and only add the ones you want.

Potential Additional Costs

If you’re looking for something comparable to having a cable or satellite plan, you’ll probably need to pay for streaming services like Netflix, HuluPlus, or Amazon.

We’ve used Netflix for a few years now and have enjoyed it. They have a huge selection of tv shows and movies as well as some of their own original content like House of Cards.

Currently, streaming is available for $8.99/month and an additional $7.99 if you want to receive a single DVD at a time from their vast library.

When we set up our Roku, we were offered a two month trial to HuluPlus, which we are using right now.

With the Plus, members can get subscription service with the full current season of many TV shows, access to content on their electronics such as computers, iPod Touch, and TV.

Hulu offers less ads for their shows, but they are still included with a paid subscription.

Amazon Instant will stream TV shows and movies as well. It’s included with our Prime membership, so it’s wonderful to have more options on the Roku.

If you’re not a Prime member, you buy or rent a la carte, which can be pricey if you tend to watch a lot of shows.

There are also specialty sports channels, with some of them requiring a fee  (~$1.99- $3.99/month) to access live games.

Thoughts on Roku 3

For us, we keep mostly to the free channels and just added our current streaming subscriptions to Roku and it’s perfect for us.

We can catch the shows we enjoy and the cost is cheaper than our previous cable bill.

I’d love to hear from those who have used the Roku for awhile. What do you think of it? What channels do you recommend? Are there any features that you just love?

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About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

7 comments comments closed

  1. I am still using cable, but starting to think about alternatives. I am really tired of dealing with indifferent/bad customer service.

    • Downgrading and then cutting off the cable worked for us. It took some time to get there though, so don’t feel like you have to cut everything out. i hope you find something that allows you to enjoy some entertainment and is reasonably priced.

  2. We bought a Roku about a month ago and cut our cable back to basic – the Roku has paid for itself in just a month. My kids love it. The only problem now is there is too much to choose from and we can’t decide what to watch. LOL. I love that there is programming that you can’t find on traditional cable – like the TEDtalks channel.

    • Same here! We’re still discovering more options, just this week we added the media channel so we can enjoy video music from our home network.

  3. I have a Roku that we primarily use to access Netflix. I need to spend some more time browsing the channels. There are also other channels available that don’t show up in the list, you have to look them up and enter a code or channel name. Most that i found are pretty lame but there were a couple that have some cool stuff.

  4. I use my PS3 to stream netflix. I think any option that allows you to cut the cable is a great investment. I’d also recommend an antenna for people who are serious about cutting the cable. With this combination I really don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.

    • With streaming services, I feel the same way. We don’t miss having cable. We can catch the shows we want to watch. Just nicer to pay less for it. LOL