These services look to replicate what you’d get with a traditional cable TV or satellite plan, for less money. Most include local broadcast channels and an assortment of cable stations, plus the ability to add some premium channels. All now include a cloud DVR for recording shows.
Price: $70 to $150 per month.
AT&T has been doing a lot of rejiggering lately, including spinning off its DirecTV satellite and streaming businesses into a new entity, also called DirecTV. DirecTV Stream is the new name for its AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now streaming services.
This is essentially the DirecTV satellite service, minus the satellite dish. The price of several of DirecTV Stream offerings has gone up by either $5 or $10 a month (see below). The cheapest DirecTV Stream plan, with about 65 channels, stays at $70 a month. The Choice plan (90 channels) jumps $5 to $90 a month, while the Ultimate (130 channels, plus Starz) and Premier (140 channels, plus HBO Max, Cinemax, and Showtime) plans get $10-a-month increases, to $105 and $150, respectively. Those with grandfathered AT&T TV Now and AT&T TV plans also received the price hikes.
HBO Max, which remains a separate entity within the new Warner Bros. Discovery company, can be added to plans to that don’t include it.
You can get DirecTV Stream service using an app on streaming players and on some smart TVs, but DirecTV also sells its own Android-based player, which costs $120 up front or $5 per month for 24 months. That’s much pricier than most stand-alone streaming media players, but it does support 4K videos and has a voice remote and Google Assistant built in.
Sign up for DirecTV Stream.
Price: $70 to $100 a month.
FuboTV is a cable-replacement service targeting sports fans. The base plan has about 130 channels with local stations in most markets, plus lots of sports networks (BeIn Sports, ESPN, FS1, MLB Network, NBA League Pass, NHL Network, NFL Network), and many cable channels (AMC, Bravo, FX, Syfy, USA), though not Turner channels such as CNN, TBS, TCM, or TNT, and A&E networks such as A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime.
Stepping up to the $80 Elite plan gets you Fubo Extra, with 42 more lifestyle and sports channels, plus 130 events in 4K. The Ultimate plan has even more channels, as well as Showtime and Sports Plus, which includes NFL Redzone.
You can add several premium channels, though not HBO Max. One plan combines Epix, Showtime, and Starz for $20 per month. Separately, Showtime costs $11 a month; Starz is $9 a month. Sports fans can get Sports Plus with NFL Red Zone, with NCAA games and RedZone from the NFL Network, for an extra $11 per month. An $8-per-month Fubo Extra plan adds more TV shows, movies, news, sports, music, and kids’ entertainment. There are also several Spanish-language plans and add-ons.
Sign up for FuboTV.
Hulu + Live TV
Price: $70 per month with ads and $76 per month without.
Cord-cutters who want yet another option to get what they used to receive from their traditional pay-TV package should take a look at Hulu + Live TV, which offers about 75 channels, including the major broadcast channels in most markets. You also get cable channels such as A&E, BET, CN, Comedy Central, CNN, Disney, Fox News, FX, TBS, and TNT, among others, plus everything in the Hulu library. It also has CBS Sports, ESPN, and Fox Sports, plus some regional sports networks.
Hulu + Live TV now includes both Disney+ and ESPN+, though the price is now $5 higher. Also, prices for some plans are going up again in December.
A basic plan, which includes ad-supported Hulu + Live TV, Disney+ with ads, plus ESPN+, will cost $70. A plan with Hulu + Live TV with ads, plus ad-free Disney+ and ESPN+ is available only to current subscribers for $75 a month. But it will cost $83 a month to get ad-free Hulu + Live TV, ad-free Disney+, and ESPN+.
Though Hulu reached a deal with Discovery to keep several channels, including Food Network, HGTV, and TLC on the service, some shows, such as “90 Day Fiancé” and “Fixer Upper,” remain on the company’s newer Discovery+ service. It also lacks a few networks, such as AMC and Hallmark.
There are also several add-ons. For example, an enhanced cloud DVR with 200 hours of storage, and the ability to zap through commercials on recorded shows, is $10 extra each month. Unlimited use also costs an extra $10 a month, but you can bundle it with unlimited screens at home, plus access for three mobile users, for $15 per month, a $5-per-month savings.
Sign up for Hulu + Live TV.
Price: $25 a month.
Philo can be a great option if you get local channels via an antenna. It’s a sports-free streaming service backed by several cable networks, including A&E, AMC, Discovery, Scripps, and Paramount (CBSViacom). In addition to lacking local channels, it doesn’t offer live news (CNN, Fox News) or sports networks such as ESPN or NFL Network. But for just $25 a month, you get access to more than 60 channels from partners including Discovery, Paramount (CBS and Viacom), and AMC Networks.
In addition to the cable channels, Philo now has a few original series, including “Boss Moves,” with “Love and Hip-Hop” star Rasheeda Frost. It also recently signed a deal with Kin Community for access to that company’s female-focused lifestyle content.
You can add premium channels, such as Epix ($6 a month) and Starz ($9 a month).
Last year Philo’s price for new subscribers went from $20 to $25 per month, but those who signed up before the price hike have been able to keep the lower price. As part of the new $25 package, Philo is extending the time it keeps recordings in its unlimited DVR from 30 days to a year.
Sign up for Philo.
Price: $35 to $50 a month.
You might consider Sling TV if you can find another way to get CBS and ABC local channels, because the service lacks them. The Orange package is now $35 and includes about 30 cable channels, including Disney and ESPN, plus A&E, the Food Network, and TBS, but no broadcast TV. It supports one user at a time. Sling Blue, also $35 per month, supports three users and has a different mix of about 40 channels, including local broadcasts and regional sports. (Among other differences, Sling Orange includes ESPN.) A combined plan costs $50.
You can add premium channels, including Showtime, $10, and Starz, $9. Sling TV has a large number of add-on packs, which provide extra genre-based programming (sports, news, lifestyle, Hollywood, etc.). They cost $6 to $21 (for a bundle with several packs) extra each month.
Last year Sling raised prices on its plans by $5 a month and upped the prices for its themed add-on packages, though only by $1 per month. But the good news is that Sling has beefed up its cloud DVR. Everyone now gets 50 hours of free DVR storage, up from 10 hours. You can also get 200 hours of storage, up from 50 hours, for $5 per month with the DVR Plus add-on.
Sling now has a deal with Barstool Sports for a channel dedicated to sports and pop culture. The Barstool Sports Channel features live content, including video podcasts, blogs, and video series. Sling TV also includes a new sports betting information channel from DraftKings.
Sign up for Sling TV.
Price: $65 per month.
YouTube TV is a solid option for cord-cutters looking to save money without giving up sports or major cable channels. It offers access to more than 85 channels, including all the major broadcast networks, cable channels (AMC, Bravo, Disney, ESPN, FX, Fox News, Fox Sports, MSNBC, National Geographic, Turner, USA), and major sports networks such as CBS Sports, ESPN, and Fox Sports, along with the MLB, NBA, and NFL league networks.
YouTube and ABC/Disney have ended a fight that saw the service lose access to programming from Disney, ESPN, FX, National Geographic, and local ABC stations.
HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, and a few other channels can be added for an extra fee.
In the rumor department, YouTube is reportedly interested in acquiring the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket when its contract with DirecTV expires after the 2022 season.
Sign up for YouTube TV.
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