Streaming services are a great alternative to traditional cable and satellite subscription services. Today there are a number of quality dedicated streaming video devices and an explosion of mobile video. These streaming video services have grown up from their days as cable TV supplements. They are now full-fledged cable replacements for those wishing to cut the cord entirely. Listed here are some of the most popular streaming video services that are available. There are others, but this list is intended to give you, the customer, some options for quality television programming without reliance on the local cable provider. These services require very little beyond a quality internet connection.
Other Video Streaming Services
$9.00 per month
Netflix is the standard-bearer of streaming. There’s a solid selection at all times, with new titles exchanged for older ones monthly, along with Netflix original programming which is quickly growing and has become quite popular.
The $9.00-per-month plan is for one standard-definition stream. For two concurrent HD streams (two people watching from the same account at the same time), it is $13.00. For $16.00, you can get up to four concurrent streams and support for 4K content. Netflix is available on a variety of devices, from your PC and tablet to Chromecast and game consoles. You can also now download content for offline viewing.
$5.99 per month
Hulu is one of the best all-in-one options for those only using streaming services, given its diverse set of options. In addition to quality original programming, a strong library of classic shows, and a good selection of anime series and movies, Hulu offers a robust live TV option. Unlike Netflix and Amazon, which typically get new TV series months or even a year after their TV debuts, Hulu gets some content almost immediately after airing on TV thanks to its big studio backers.
Hulu also offers a plan for $11.99/month with no commercials. For $4 extra dollars, you get all the great movies, shows, and series completely commercial-free. Hulu also offers a monthly plan at $44.99/month that includes unlimited access to the Hulu streaming library with limited ads. You can enjoy full seasons of exclusive series, hit movies, Hulu Originals, kids shows, and more including:
Streaming 60+ top Live and On Demand TV channels including sports, news, and entertainment, recording live TV with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage, and watching live TV online and on supported devices. This prices includes commercials. You can also upgrade to the $50.99/month package that will give you all of the same except commercial-free!
There are add-ons available if you want more, including Cinemax for $9.99/month, Showtime for $10.00/month, and HBO for $14.99/month. You can also snag an enhanced DVR service for $9.99/month that will let you fast-forward through commercials, and gives you 200 hours of recording time.
$49.99 per month
YouTube TV allows you to watch cable-free live TV from over 70+ networks including major news, sports, and entertainment channels. With its Cloud DVR capabilities, you are able to stream your shows from any device without running out of storage. You are allowed three simultaneous streams. YouTube TV is compatible with smart TVs such as LG and Samsung, Streaming Media players like Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV, and gaming consoles such as Xbox One.
With six accounts per household, everyone can stream and watch on their own personalized DVR. Watch it on the go with your smartphone or tablet, or at home on your TV. Connect to your Google Home for hands-free control, simply say “Hey Google, play ABC on YouTube TV,” or “Hey Google, turn up the volume.” No more searching for the remote deep in the couch cushion.
Customize your service by adding premium networks such as Fox Soccer Plus, Showtime, Starz and more for an additional cost depending on the network. Individual premium channels range from $3-$40.
$15 per month
Sling TV is probably as close to the traditional TV experience as you can get online. For $15 per month, Sling TV offers live access to channels like AMC, TBS, The Food Network, CNN, TNT, and more.
As you add more services, though, Sling TV can add up. There’s the basic Sling Orange plan with support for one stream at $15 per month, Sling Blue with support for three simultaneous streams for $15, or both with support for four simultaneous streams at $25.
Why would you want both? Some channels on Sling Orange are not available on Sling Blue and vice versa (here’s a breakdown). The Disney Channel, for example, is only on Sling Orange, while Fox Sports is only on Blue.
Sling also offers extra add-ons for $5 per month each. A Comedy extra adds MTV, Spike, Logo, and more, while a Kids extra offers channels like Teen Nick and Disney Junior—none of which are available via Sling Orange or Blue.
Another $5 extra is cloud DVR, which supports up to 50 hours of content. You can record multiple programs simultaneously and watch on Amazon, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Xbox One devices. Cloud DVR is not currently supported for Disney and ESPN or on-demand channels like Newsy and Local Now.
$8.99 per month
Amazon Video is $8.99 per month, but if you plan to stick with it for more than a year, you can opt to subscribe for Amazon Prime which includes Amazon Video—not to mention Amazon Photos, Amazon Music, free 2-day shipping on many Amazon orders, and a number of other Amazon-centric perks—for $99 per year.
Amazon has about 40,000 titles to stream, but only a fraction of those are included with Prime streaming. Look for the “Prime” banner on selections that stream for free. Everything else is available to purchase or rent (for Prime and non-Prime members).
Amazon also enables offline downloads, so if you haven’t finished watching Transparent or want to catch up on some older HBO shows for your next flight, download to your tablet and get watching.
In 2015, Amazon also launched the Streaming Partners Program, which lets you add networks like Showtime and Starz to your Prime account, sometimes for a slight discount (save $2 per month on Showtime via Amazon vs. buying it on its own, for example).
Amazon Video does not work with Google’s Chromecast, but it’s available on Roku, as well as Amazon’s own Fire TV devices, smart TVs, and more. Prime Video supports two concurrent streams, as long as you are watching different videos.
$50 per month
The DirectTV Now streaming service offers dozens of channels of live TV without installing a satellite dish or running cables. The service features excellent picture quality and plenty of connectivity options, and subscriptions start at $50 per month. Cloud DVR is available on all packages, but not on all channels. It is limited to 20 hours of recording time and is stored for a maximum of 30 days.
There are currently two “featured” plans-PLUS and MAX. The PLUS plan is the $50/month plan which includes 45+ live channels, including HBO. The MAX plan is $70/month and includes 60+ live channels (with more sports), including HBO and Cinemax. There are also a collection of other packages that are more like the traditional satellite packages ranging from $93-$135. The top Ultimate page includes 125+ channels.
$54.99 per month
fuboTV is a great option for sports fans looking to get away from traditional satellite or cable. This “sports-first, but not sports-only” service offers extensive live sports and entertainment content for all your devices. Whether you want to watch NFL games on Sunday, catch up on an MLB game that aired during the day, or even stream a movie on-demand, fuboTV has you covered.
Fubo Standard is “the classic base package.” That gets you 100+ channels, 30 hours of cloud DVR, and the ability to watch two things at once. It costs $54.99 a month.
Next is the Family plan. It has the 100 channels and bumps the cloud DVR to 500 hours, and adds the ability to watch on three screens at a time. It costs $59.99 a month. Then there’s the Entertainment plan. For $64.99 a month you get the 100 channels, 500 hours of cloud DVR, two simultaneous screens, and includes Showtime.
$50.00 per month
If you’re a PlayStation fan who is cutting the cord, Sony’s PlayStation Vue live-streaming service is a good way to ditch your cable company while keeping plenty of channels. Plan prices have steadily increased and now start at $50.00 per month for live TV. The packages now breakdown as follows:
- Access ($50): This is the most basic package you can get with PlayStation Vue. You get 45 channels, from AMC to CNN and Fox News, to ESPN and Disney, and more.
- Core ($55): This package adds in sports channels like MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, and regional sports. You’ll also get the Cooking Channel and additional movie channels.
- Elite ($65): This’ll get you BBC World News and a bunch of movie channels (including some great bad movies on demand) that you never knew existed.
- Ultra ($85): This is everything in the Elite package, but with HBO and Showtime (east and west for both) added in. And that’s not a bad deal at $10 each per month, which both of them costing more if you were to get them separately. You’ll also have access to the Showtime Anytime app, And HBO Now apps.
You can DVR PS Vue content, except HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax, though “almost all programs” from the live feed of those channels are available on demand. DVR and on-demand content can be watched inside or outside the home, except CBS shows, which are only accessible inside the home.
The service supports up to five streams at once, but there are exceptions, like only one PS4 or PS3 can stream at a given time (you can’t stream from a PS4 in the living room and the bedroom at the same time) and only three streams at once on mobile devices. You can watch on a variety of devices, like your web browser, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, and iOS or Android devices—provided you have internet access
Streaming Video Devices
In addition to the subscription service, you may want to invest in a device that will allow you to watch this video content on your television. This is assuming that you do not already have a SMART television that is preloaded with these types of apps. A summary of some of the most popular streaming devices is below.
- Price: $35
- Form Factor: Stick
- Controls: App Only
- Video Apps: Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Crackle, DIRECTV Now, Sling TV, Hulu Plus
- Sports Apps: Watch ESPN, Major League Soccer, MLB.TV
- Music Apps: Vevo, Pandora, Google Play
- Price: $149-$199
- Form Factor: Box
- Controls: Remote, App
- Video Apps: Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, DIRECTV Now, PBS, PBS Kids, Disney Channel
- Sports Apps: Watch ESPN, Major League Soccer, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL, WWE Network
- Music Apps: Vevo, Vimeo, iTunes
- Price: $29 – $89
- Form Factor: Box or Stick
- Controls: Voice Search, Remote, App
- Video Apps: Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, DIRECTV Now
- Sports Apps: Watch ESPN, Major League Soccer, MLB.TV, NBA Gametime, NHL
- Music Apps: Vevo, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Vimeo, Spotify
Amazon Fire TV
- Price: $89 | Fire TV Stick $39
- Form Factor: Box or Stick
- Controls: Voice Search, Remote, App
- Video Apps: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Disney Channel, Amazon Instant Video, DIRECTV Now
- Sports Apps: Watch ESPN, NBA Game Time, WWE Network, MLB.TV
- Music Apps: Vevo, Pandora, Vimeo, Amazon Music