9 Hot Online TV Shows that Aren’t on Cable: Have You Cut the Cord Yet?

Woman watching TV

If you’re reluctant to cut the cord with your cable company in favor of online TV shows, here’s why you shouldn’t be.

According to a recent report from Experian Marketing Services, cutting the cord on your cable bill and enjoying online TV shows and movies is becoming the status quo. Last year, 6.5 percent of American households cut the cord, which is up from 4.5 percent in 2010.

One-fifth of Americans who subscribe to services like Netflix or Hulu don’t subscribe to cable television, while one in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 who subscribe to these services have never subscribed to cable. As someone who recently made the switch, I’m thrilled with my decision. I went with purchasing an Apple TV device and a Netflix subscription.

The results already astound me:

  • I’m saving $60 per month.
  • I get to watch my fave shows and movies on my terms, not on the TV network’s.
  • Depending on the platform, there are no commercials, or the number of commercials is drastically cut.

Since everyone’s cable packages are different, it’s hard to say how much you’ll save, but according to the NDP Group, the average monthly cable TV bill in the U.S. was $86 in 2011. They predict that by 2020, cable bills will hit the $200 mark (do you realize how much chocolate that is?!).

The big question is: Who do you subscribe to? Netflix? Amazon Prime? Hulu? All have their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and all compete for your attention with various exclusive offers. It really depends on how big a media fiend you are: Using the average price of cable as a guide, if you were to cut the cord and subscribe to all three services, you still save money: roughly $65 per month or $780 per year.

A good place to start is to make a list of your fave shows and head over to Can I Stream It? It’s a free website that lists what platforms your shows are available on. Next, comparison shop. Long story short:

Biggest pro: Netflix offers the largest library of content and produce exclusive shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards.” Biggest con: They usually don’t have new episodes right away.

Amazon Prime
Biggest pro: They’re snagging ah-mazing shows to stream exclusively like “Downton Abbey” and “Orphan Black.” Biggest con: While they have a large library, they don’t touch Netflix in the variety department or Hulu in the turnaround department.

Biggest pro: If you want to see the latest episode of a show the week it airs on a major network, the majority are available on Hulu Plus the day after the show airs. The biggest con: Commercials. If you’re binge watcher, you’ll end up knowing them off by heart.

Here are 9 hot TV shows to binge watch once you’ve cut the cord:

1. “House of Cards
Exclusive to Netflix
“A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.”

2. “Orange Is the New Black”
Exclusive to Netflix
“The story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money for her drug-dealing girlfriend.”

3. “Mad Men
Available on Netflix
“A drama about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper.”

4. “Orphan Black
Exclusive to Amazon Prime
“A streetwise hustler is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her.”

5. “Parks and Recreation
Available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu
“The absurd antics of an Indiana town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place.”

6. “Louie
Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime
“Sitcom in which we follow Louie’s everyday ordeals, quest to find love and pursuit of humor.”

7. “Rookie Blue
Available on Hulu
“Under the watchful guidance of their officers, Andy McNally and her four fellow rookies quickly learn that no amount of training could prepare them for this new world where every day is a first.”

8. “Downton Abbey
Exclusive to Amazon Prime
“Beginning in the years leading up to World War I, the drama centers on the Crawley family and their servants.”

9. “Alpha House
Exclusive to Amazon Prime
“Four Republican senators share the same D.C. house rental, and face re-election battles, looming indictments, and parties — all with a sense of humor.”

Final Pointers

  • Keep track of your streaming charges. Once you hit the data cap on your Internet package, you’ll be charged overage fees. Make sure you stay within your quota.
  • If there are shows you can’t find on your subscription services and you don’t want to wait, check out network websites like ABC and CBS, which allow you to watch full episodes on their websites. They come with commercials, but no pain no gain.
  • It gives you the opportunity to lead a more mindful life. Since cutting the fat, there’s no dealing with junk channels and junk shows: Quality over quantity not only allows me to enjoy my shows more, but you know, go outside too.

How about you? Have you – or are you planning to – cut the cord?

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Image: Porsche Brosseau

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady is a women’s health + lifestyle writer who’s so out of shape, it’s like she has the innards of an 80-year-old. Instead of learning how to crochet, she decided to turn her emotional baggage into a writing career (genius, no?). You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (you know, if you want).