Have you been thinking about cutting the cord? I am not talking about the umbilical cord! There are a lot of options and I will not be able to cover them all. I will focus on those I have personally experienced after I decided to cut the cord!
If you have decided to live stream TV there are several options at relatively low cost. You could purchase an antenna. These are not rabbit ears but a flat device that you can mount to your wall. I suggest not even wasting your time as there with the emergence of locast. Locast is a non-profit so they do request donations and recommend a $5 per month donation. This is less expensive than any other live streaming service but they do not offer a DVR service. If you do not want to pay locast or a service like it is the way to go.
Now that we are past the free options, do you want to have live streaming tv (similar to cable)? Do you want DVR? Do you need original content from your provider? Below is the breakdown of Netflix, YouTubeTV, Hulu, SlingTV, Prime, Disney+, & Apple+. I will not cover HBOMax, AT&T TV, FuboTV, or Philo because I have never purchased them.
Netflix is the king of content! They can acquire viewing rights for show unavailable on other platforms including CW & AMC! On top of acquiring, rights for domestic & international hit shows Netflix has done an incredible job putting together original content!
Netflix does not offer a live TV option that is not their game! Their game is offering you a streaming service far superior to their competition. Their user interface is intuitive and simplistic for users of all ages.
Netflix offers three plans: Basic ($8.99), Standard ($13.99), & Premium ($17.99). The major difference between the plans is the number of screens you can view simultaneously. A standard plan should suffice for the majority of families.
YouTube TV is a streaming service provider with one plan. It includes 85+ Channels, unlimited cloud DVR Storage, & three streams for 6 accounts per household. History Channel & the YES Network are not available although PBS, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon are available. They have stopped creating original content which devalues the service
The UI will be familiar with the youtube era but may take another minute to become familiarized. On the contrary, the UI on mobile devices is fluid and intuitive. Amazingly, YouTubeTV allows you to fast forward through ads. It also does not require you to view an ad before viewing content on the platform.
The only plan on YoutubeTV is $64.99. However, you can purchase addons including but not limited to NFL RedZone, HBO, & Starz.
I feel this service is overpriced. It is priced the same as some of its competitors but lacks similar content.
Hulu offers plans which provide ad-free with both their on-demand streaming service and live tv. They create original content but it is not as vast as Netflix. However, what they have created is of superior quality.
The on-demand streaming service offers both basic & premium plans. The basic is all on-demand content but you will have to suffer through ads. They also provide an ad-free on-demand streaming option at the price of $11.99. This is competitively priced as Netflix is several dollars more expensive for the same service.
Basic plus live tv has 60+ channels available for its viewers. Although Hulu has recently received a price increase matching the YouTube price. Unfortunately, it is now at $64.99 per month but you will have to view ads. However, you can upgrade this service to avoid a staggering $70.99 per month. Not worth it in my humble opinion!
Hulu ads do not allow users to skip them for any DVR recordings or watching shows on replay. I do not have the patience to view ads.
Watching live sports is enjoyable but I am not willing to drop $780 annually plus tax. I will hard pass on the streaming option from Hulu!
A la cart menu is the calling card of Slingtv, however, they offer two primary packages, SlingTV Blue & SlingTV Orange. Sling Blue is primarily new entertainment including NFL Network, FOX News, Fox, TLC, E, SyFy, FS1. However, Sling Orange caters to Sports & Families which includes ESPN, ESPN2, Nick Jr., & Nickelodeon. Both Orange & Blue combine their uniqueness with the standard lineup. SlingTV also provides 10 hours of DVR with either service
Although if you are looking for original content from your streaming service provider then Sling is not for you. However, Sling does offer the ability to buy or rent movies and shows directly on their platform.
Overall SlingTV is one of my top streaming services at a relatively low price of $30 per month. Customers can combine both SlingTV Blue & Orange for a combined experience at $45 per month. The price and quality beat the competition hands down! SlingTV allows you to purchase addons to adjust your service to your budget and tastes.
Amazon Prime not only provides customers a two-day shipping window but also includes Amazon Prime Video within that service. So if you are an Amazon customer it is essentially a free service.
There is limited original content but you also can rent or purchase content from other providers. I do not prefer the focus on pay to play content. They do not offer any live TV although they have streamed several NFL games. I know one thing, do not count Amazon out.
When I work on my budget I do not even include Amazon as part of my entertainment. Their ability to ship within two days is almost a necessity.
Amazon Prime customers pay an annual subscription fee of $119 or a monthly fee of $8.99. If you shop on Amazon and do not have this service I highly recommend it. If you do not shop on Amazon then you are not missing much on the streaming front. Better content is available from other providers.
Apple+ is an up and comer. I was privileged enough to get a year free with my purchase of an Apple product. The UI is incredible as you would expect from Apple but what I did not anticipate is their original content. WOW! Every show I watched held my interest through the duration of the season.
Although I rave about the original content, as you see above, there is not much content. I am waiting in anticipation to view the second season. Without them, Apple is a pretender until they increase the amount of original content. Similar to SlingTV & Prime Video Apple also offers the ability to buy programs you would like to watch.
Apple is priced competitively at $4.99 per month. They are playing catchup in this race that started about five to ten years ago. I do not see the reason to own this service until they increase their content. Similar to Prime Video I do not like their focus on pay to play!
If you are a Disney, Star Wars, or Marvel fan I do not think you can pass up this service. The platform has all Disney, Star Wars, & Marvel movies. Unfortunately series have stopped production on other platforms (Iron Fist, etc). They released their service a little over a year ago with their vast library, there is limited recent original content.
The UI is simplistic and the upcoming release of original content is staggering, which you can find here. Disney drops an episode a week so you cannot binge watch their most current content (LAME!). We are no longer in the 90s drop all the content at once! When they released Mulan they originally charged for it. I am already paying for your service do not try to squeeze more out of me for a new movie.
Disney plus costs $6.99 per month, slightly more than Apple+. However, they possess a vast library of browsing content! There is also a package deal of Hulu, ESPN+, & Disney+ at $12.99 per month but does not include streaming TV. Pretty good deal and a good package to compete with Netflix.
I do like Disney as a player in this space if they discontinue the antics they pulled with Mulan. I believe their upcoming content will win viewers over as it is extensive. Although, you can hold off until at least halfway through 2021 before trying the Disney+ platform.
Come on people, Cut the Cord already! Do you want live TV, DVR, and vast content? Personally, my perfect combination based on budget and entertainment is SlingTV & Netflix! Enjoy viewing!