"Cutting the cord" is becoming a very popular trend in the U.S. What we're talking about is people getting rid of their cable or satellite TV service and streaming shows online.
A study by eMarketer says that by 2017 there will be almost 6.5 million U.S. households that will no longer pay for cable television. Another 17.8 million households never paid for cable to begin with, according to the same study.
The truth is, with so many fantastic streaming services available, it's difficult to justify paying for an enormous monthly cable bill. These services offer a less expensive alternative to watching TV and you can save hundreds of dollars each year.
With that in mind, we're going to look at five of the best streaming services available today.
1. Amazon Fire TV
With Amazon Fire TV you can enjoy over 7,000 apps, games and Alexa skills including access to over 300,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, Hulu and more.
One great thing about Fire TV is that it supports 4K Ultra HD for true-to-life picture quality. If you have a 4K television, you already know how difficult it is to find 4K programming. Fire TV helps fill that void.
You can also watch high-definition 1080p streams on Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and more without a 4K TV.
Even without a cable subscription you're able to watch the best of live TV and sports from AMC, ESPN, FOX and others with a subscription to Sling TV, or top-rated primetime shows with CBS All Access.
Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, featuring thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost.
2. Roku Ultra
The Roku Ultra is another great streaming player for HD and 4K Ultra HD TVs.
With the Roku Ultra, you have access to more than 350,000 movies and TV episodes across 3,500+ free or paid channels. You get to watch what you want and spend what you want.
From the most recent movies and shows to the classics, find where your favorites are free or least expensive to watch with an unbiased search across top channels. You're able to search through a wide selection of paid or free channels, by actor, director or title. Just search with your Roku remote, mobile app or voice search.
You can move your Roku player to different TVs in your home or even take it to a friend's house. Hotel & Dorm Connect allows you to stream on the go in your dorm or hotel room, making it a convenient travel gadget.
3. Roku Streaming Stick
The Roku Streaming Stick is the only pocket-sized streamer available with a quad-core processor. It gets you to your favorite shows extremely quick, with smooth and responsive navigation and channels that launch quickly.
One main difference between the Streaming Stick and the Ultra is the Streaming Stick doesn't support 4K content. If you don't have a 4K TV this won't be a problem for you.
This product works with all top movie and TV streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and 3,000 more channels.
4. Apple TV
Apple says the future of TV begins with apps. You already use apps like Hulu, Netflix, WatchESPN and HBO Now to watch TV on your mobile gadgets. Now, the same thing is happening with apps on your big screen, and Apple TV is designed around this reality.
You can enjoy complete, live TV packages without renting or connecting to a cable box or satellite dish. Just download apps like PlayStation Vue or Sling TV and just like that, you're surfing live TV.
The Siri Remote with Touch surface takes the effort out of searching through all these apps to find something great to watch. Say something specific like "I want to watch the next episode of the 'Westworld'" and Siri will take you there. Or you can ask things like "what college basketball games are on today?" and Siri will tell you.
In addition, you can find apps and games in the App Store for added experiences created specifically for the living room. There are over 1,600 video apps to choose from.
5. Google Chromecast Ultra
With Chromecast Ultra, you can stream up to 4K Ultra HD & HDR picture quality over your Wi-Fi network by just plugging it into your TV's HDMI port. It provides fast, reliable performance with minimal buffering and smooth streaming. Use your iOS or Android gadget to stream thousands of Cast-enabled apps.
Use your phone as a powerful remote. Open the mobile apps you already use to access things like your favorite TV shows. No new logins or downloads are needed.
Just tap the Cast button to see your favorite content in up to 4K quality. No matter what resolution is available, Chromecast Ultra will optimize your picture.
It's simple to search, browse, queue and control the TV from anywhere in the home with your phone. Plus, you will still be able to use your phone for other things without interrupting what's playing on your TV.
Bonus tip: Want to learn more about why people are cutting the cord? Listen to our podcast on why it's time to cut the cord for in-depth detail.