How to Save Money Using On-Demand Video-Streaming Services

Cord-cutting is becoming an increasingly popular choice for TV fans, with many cable subscribers hoping to cut costs by switching to alternative viewing methods. However, even among streaming services, there’s a wide range of prices, and if you’re not careful you could end up spending just as much as you would have on a traditional cable package.

This is where on-demand streaming services come in. Where most popular live services cost around $40 a month for their basic packages, many on-demand services are much cheaper, with prices at around the $10 mark. If you’re someone who wants to watch shows and sports live, an on-demand service, which offers a library of past content to pull up at any time, might not be for you. But if you’re OK watching things after they air, an on-demand service can save a lot of money.

[See: Cord-Cutters, Consider These Video-Streaming Services.]

If you’re not totally sold on getting rid of all live content, a digital antenna can be an inexpensive add-on to any on-demand service. These antennas typically cost much less than $100, and this low one-time price opens the door to free local and national channels over the air. Depending on where you live, you’ll get access to channels like CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS for free. This makes a digital antenna a great supplement to an on-demand service.

Whether you choose to add an antenna or not, on-demand streaming services can shave down TV costs in your household. Read on for some of the best options.

[See: 10 Steps to Cut the Cable Cord.]


This popular streaming service has been around a long time, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. With a huge library of movies and TV shows, as well as a family-friendly kids section, Netflix has something for almost everyone. Adding to the mix is the service’s lineup of original series, with comedy specials, serious dramas and everything in between, as well as original Marvel series such as “Daredevil” and “The Defenders.” The higher-priced packages also offer simultaneous streaming on different devices, so you’ll be able to have up to four different programs playing at the same time.

Netflix has three subscription options:

Basic package: $8 a month, one screen.

Standard package: $11 a month, two screens.

Premium package: $14 a month, four screens.


This streaming service has a popular live option, but its on-demand library can be selected as a standalone subscription for the lowest possible price. Like Netflix, this service offers a wide range of on-demand content, but it stands apart with up-to-date uploads of recent TV shows, with many episodes available within a few days of airing. It also features award-winning original programming such as “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Hulu has two on-demand subscription options:

Hulu with Limited Commercials: $8 a month, one screen.

Hulu with No Commercials: $12 a month, one screen.

Prime Video

An Amazon Prime subscription comes with the benefit of this streaming service. Along with the free two-day shipping for which a Prime membership is known, subscribers will get access to the Prime Video library. This on-demand selection is full of movies, TV shows and original programs such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Man in the High Castle.” And if you have multiple people tuning in at once, Prime Video offers three simultaneous screens.

Amazon Prime has two subscription options:

Annual membership: $119 a year, three screens.

Monthly membership: $13 a month, three screens.

[Read: Frugal Families, Discover the Best Cheap Ways to Watch TV Without Cable.]

CBS All Access

This service is a bit different from others on this list in that it does provide access to some live content, including your local CBS station and the network’s news channel. Beyond that, the service has a 10,000-episode on-demand library and a few originals, including “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Strange Angel.” Both the standard package and the commercial-free version offer streaming on two screens at once.

CBS All Access has two subscription options:

Limited commercials: $6 a month, two screens.

Commercial-free: $10 a month, two screens.

On-demand streaming services are a popular way for TV subscribers to get lots of content at a low cost. Although you’ll lose access to live content, a digital antenna can add some of that back on the cheap, and some on-demand services even offer next-day viewing of current episodes. If you’re a TV fan on a budget, these streaming services can be an inexpensive choice without sacrificing high-quality television content.

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