MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The number of streaming services continues to grow, in tandem with the number of cord cutters dropping cable and satellite. Each one caters to a different type of television viewer, with four of the most common being Sling, Hulu Live, YouTube TV and DirecTV Now.
Here are some basic takeaways regarding reach of them, according to WCCO consumer reporter Christiane Cordero:
Sling is the cheapest, at $25 per month. With that comes the tradeoff of fewer channels. Sling caters best to football fans, as it comes with NFL Network, however streaming local channels isn’t as simple as its competitors. It will give users who inquire a free antenna that will receive, among other things, the four local stations.
Hulu Live costs $45 a month. Hockey fans have the most to gain as it comes with NBC Sports and the Big Ten Network. It’s also best for CBS loyalists, as it has CBS Sports and CBSN, WCCO parent company’s 24 hour news cycle. Hulu Live also has the most cable news options.
YouTube TV is very similar to Hulu Live. It’s slightly more geared towards basketball fans and costs an additional five dollars a month, at a $50 subscription. YouTube TV comes with NBA TV, CBS Sports, and like the other options, it also has TNT and TBS.
DirecTV Now starts at $50 per month and includes HBO. It’s also the only one of the four that offers Nickelodeon. It does not, however, include regional sports.
All four options have several stations in common, such as ESPN, HGTV, and CNN.
None of the options are likely ideal for households that bundle their cable and Internet packages. By taking cable away from the bundle then adding live streaming via Internet, consumers could easily have a higher monthly bill.
Consumers who just watch local TV and one or two other channels are best off dropping cable, buying an HD TV antenna, streaming the local content for free and subscribing to anything additional a-la-carte.
Those who find cutting the cord too daunting can save money, too, by calling their provider before the next contract and sharing their plans to disconnect service. Cable companies don’t want to lose customers, and often times they will offer a significant promotional deal that will save $10, $20 or more per month through the next contract. The key: Don’t forget when that contract ends.