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Best Cheapest Ways To Watch TV In The US Today. Photo KnowInsiders

It's hard to imagine a life without TV. You can tune in anytime for a veritable smorgasbord of programming. Anything from sitcoms and dramas to documentaries. Just like that, you spend hours in front of it. In this article, you will find the best cheapest ways to watch television in the US today.


How many hours do Americans spend one day watching TV?

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co. the average American watches 3 hours and 46 minutes of TV each day (that's more than 52 days of nonstop TV-watching per year).

By the age of 65 the average American will have spent nearly nine years glued to the tube.

Parents spend 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children is 38.5.

When do Americans watch TV?

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Photo Dayton Daily News

The same BLS survey tells us that on average, people spend more time watching TV during the fall and winter seasons (around October through to March). We’re just speculating here, but it might have to do with those months having prime “Netflix and chill” weather. You know, with just enough chill in their air to snuggle with someone under the blankets.

On any given day, however, there’s a reason why shows fight for that primetime TV spot. Between 8 pm and 9 pm is the most popular time, with just under 60% of people watching TV on both weekdays and weekends and holidays. At 7 pm to 8 pm, roughly 50% of people are watching TV while about 55% are still watching at 9 pm to 10 pm.

What are cheapest ways to watch TV in the US today?

1.An indoor antenna

Cost: One time payment of $25 to $100

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Photo Gadget Review

If you have a TV set, you can get the major networks without paying a subscription cost, but you might have to shell out for an HDTV antenna.

TV antennas let you pick up extra channels in your area. They’re especially great if you want to (or already have) cut the cord. These live, over-the-air channels may include ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS affiliates and independent stations.

Money expert and football fan Clark Howard says he loves his digital antenna because of the crisp picture he gets from it on his TV. Watch the video above for more information from Clark about TV antennas.

Televisions used to get the basic channels without any subscriptions using built-in over-the-air antennas. Most new TVs no longer come with antennas, so you have to buy a separate new indoor HDTV antenna to go with the set. They can cost anywhere from $25 to $100, are fairly easy to install and are available in big-box stores such as Target or Best Buy. If you want even better reception, you can invest in an outdoor antenna as well, but installation is more complicated and it will cost an additional $50 to $150.

An indoor digital antenna hooks up to a single TV to pick up over-the-air programming.

It’s the simplest antenna to install, but it won’t work well for everyone. This type is usually best for urban areas where broadcast towers are close by.

If you want to improve the signal of a single digital TV antenna, moving it closer to a window or higher up on a wall might do the trick.

One member of Team Clark has the Mohu Leaf, a popular indoor digital antenna that connects to the back of his TV to pick up local channels. He secures it to the back of his TV with a Velcro strip to keep it out-of-sight.

What’s the Best TV Antenna for Me?

The best way to find the best digital TV antenna for your home is to visit AntennaWeb. There, you can input your address and/or ZIP code and review antenna recommendations from participating Consumer Technology Association (CTA) vendors.

AntennaWeb offers choices from several companies for each search, so be sure to comparison shop those options to get the best deal for your wallet.

Another way to find out if an antenna might work for you is by asking your neighbors. This tactic may seem old-fashioned, but the signals picked up by an antenna vary a lot depending on location. Your neighbors might have already gone through trial and error to find a TV antenna they love.

2.Cable and satellite subscription

Cost: Monthly charges of $50 to $150, more for premium channels.

If you’re interested in having 50 or hundreds of channels to flip through, you can invest in a cable or satellite service. You’re signing up to make monthly payments that will probably end up much larger than you thought and possibly shoot up after a set period of time. Cable could cost anywhere from $50 to $150.

The best cable TV replacement services offer most of the broadcast, entertainment, news and sports channels you want to watch, though the more-affordable options offer fewer channels. You can even watch Premiere League live streams provided you have the right service. In fact, the top pick on this list is also the service that both TG's Henry T. Casey and Kelly Woo chose to finally cut the cord. Even our Global Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer recently canceled his cable and here's what he replaced it with.

How many Americans pay for cable or satellite TV?

The number of subscribers has declined slightly in recent years. Yet roughly 65% of U.S. households still pay for TV services.

How many people watch via Netflix?

Netflix has become a heavy hitter in the TV-watching world. It has roughly 214 million global paid memberships. Users stream nearly 6 billion hours of TV shows and movies each month.

How many choose Hulu?

Its popularity pales in comparison to Netflix. Hulu is still making a name for itself in the streaming TV services realm. It has 43.8 million subscribers as of 2021.

What about Amazon Prime?

Amazon has been cagey about releasing hard numbers on subscribers. It has an estimated 200 million subscribers.

3.Streaming services

Cost: Monthly charges from $0 with ads to $20 each

Photo Digital Trends
Photo Digital Trends

Americans now seemingly watch online streaming more than cable TV.

According to new data from Nielsen, the rise of online streaming continues to dominate TV viewing habits, with the majority of households in July watching content online rather than cable or broadcast TV.

Online streaming made up a massive 34.8% of TV viewing last month. That’s a fraction more than cable TV, which made up 34.4%. While it may not seem significant, it’s the first time Nielsen thinks this has happened.

If you can be happy with just one streaming option, it makes more sense to get cable or satellite. But if you are interested in watching shows on different services — “House of the Dragon” on HBO Max, “Never Have I Ever” on Netflix, “Bluey” on Disney Plus — you’ll need multiple subscriptions and the total will quickly add up.

What are the best streaming services?

The best streaming service overall was Netflix, but HBO Max spent the last year in the driver's seat by being a great alternative to the movies. And with Netflix raising prices, big red isn't doing itself any favors — as 2022 began with Netflix losing more subscribers than it gained.

The Tom's Guide streaming team spends a ton of time on both streaming services, watching movies and shows for ourselves, and to stay abreast of which service deserves its flowers. Throughout the last year, we kept coming back to the same surprising answer. For as much as the HBO Max app has been annoying at times, HBO's content — and the app's layout — puts it over the top. The one new issue, though, is that HBO Max seems to be dropping content at a curious clip.

While some of us have canceled our Netflix accounts (only to come back) the big list of the best Netflix shows is long enough to keep some hanging on. Stranger Things 4 is Netflix's biggest recent hit, owning the daily top 5 on a regular basis. Netflix has also had most of the standard features that competitors took years to realize mattered. and it's enough content that you've got plenty of reasons to sign up.

Sling TV is one of the best streaming services for live TV thanks to its customizability and relatively inexpensive price. While it got a price bump to $35 (from $30) in January, that's still just $30 less than the likes of YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV. But its new app design isn't impressing everyone.

Free-of-charge option to watch TV in the US


If your primary concern is paying less, or watching more obscure movies and shows, your local library has the solution. Use your library account to log in to their site and see what services they offer for streaming or downloading shows and movies, such as Kanopy and Hoopla. You can also check out DVDs from your local library for an old-school movie night.

2.Streaming apps

There are also free streaming apps funded by ads that you can download on your phone or a device like a Roku. Look for Pluto TV, IMDBtv, Fox’s Tubi TV, Roku’s own channel, Crackle and Vudu. YouTube also has free movies you can stream through the app or website.

There also are quite a few ways to get the big subscriptions through free offers, at least for a while. For example, when you buy a new Apple device, it comes with three months of Apple TV Plus. Verizon offers free access to Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus to new customers on its most expensive 5G plan, and limited trials of some on its cheaper plans. Check with your cellular provider on any offers, and look for trials when you purchase any new hardware. Check out other memberships you might have, such as Target Circle, which offers free Apple services including Arcade, Fitness Plus and iCloud for four months and longer.
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