Some Streaming Services Available

If you are seriously considering cutting the cord, you will need to find the best streaming services available to keep you in the know. At one time there was no other options beside cable or satellite TV, but these days there are many streaming services available that are reasonably priced, to keep the cable and satellite tv industries on their toes.

Though all of the streaming services out there today have unique selling points, it is not the price of these services that should determine which service you choose. You have to look at content provided, update frequency, the amount of content provided in the service’s library, and know which devices are compatible with each service.

1. Amazon Instant Video

Price: $10.99 per month, $99 per year (Add-ons Available)

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, set-top boxes, most smart TVs, Tivo, most gaming consoles

You may be surprised to find Amazon Instant Video at Number 1 on our list, but as far as streaming options go, this service has the most to offer if you are willing to pay for it. Amazon Instant Video is available to those who subscribe to Amazon Prime. As a standalone product, this may not be your first choice since free content options are limited, but what make this service stand out is its add-on options.

With Prime Instant Video, you can subscribe to 3 of the add-ons featured in this list, HBO Now, Showtime, and Starz, making it the most flexible service of any of the streaming services. Binge watching is also simple when autoplay is enabled, no need to search for the next episode in a series it will automatically play for you. However, the latest movies and episodes of current shows will require you to pay additional charges for viewing, even with a Prime subscription. Downloading content is also available for offline viewing, a feature not available with Netflix or Hulu. They are also working with partners to bring 4K and Ultra HD Content.

Premium content is pay-per-view, so if you are trying to binge watch a show like Game of Thrones, it would be cheaper to add the HBO Now subscription than to rent each episode. And you have the benefit of Prime with this service which gives you free 2-day shipping on Prime orders, free Prime Music, and free Books monthly. All of these things together make Amazon’s Prime Instant Video the best deal out there.

2. Hulu or Hulu Plus

Price: Starts at $7.99 per month (Showtime Add-on Available)

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, set-top boxes, most smart TVs, Tivo, most gaming consoles

Surprise! In out Number 2 position is Hulu and not Netflix. For those of you not familiar with Hulu, you would be surprised to find that Hulu and Netflix have a lot of the same content. However, what Netflix lacks is what Hulu provides.

Hulu has lots of television, and their content is updated within hours of the shows original airdate. Your favorite shows like SNL, South Park, and Family Guy are always current. They also provide shows from E!, VH1, and MTV.

You have several packages to choose from, One with limited commercials at $7.99, another with no commercials at $11.99, and a Showtime add-on package for an additional $8.99, ideal for those who would like to binge watch ‘Homeland’ on autoplay.

Hulu also has a Live Stream package in the works. They are quickly building up their movie content to become more competitive with Netflix and Amazon Instant video, and though as of right now they may not have the quantity of movie content to make you cut Netflix, they are catching up fast.

3. Netflix

Price: Starts at $7.99 per month

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, set-top boxes, most smart TVs, Tivo, most gaming consoles

If you want to “Netflix and Chill,” you have to have Netflix. Otherwise, you’re just ‘chillin.’ You also have to have Netflix if you want to stream Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead, they are not available without purchase on Amazon Instant Video, or at all on Hulu.

Netflix is one of the pioneers of streaming services. It began as a DVD mailing service, where you had a queue, and you would request movies you wanted to see, and the DVD would be mailed to you. Nothing was more frustrating than getting ‘The Sopranos’ Episodes 4-6 before you even got 1-3.

Netflix caught onto this and became one of the first businesses to offer streaming services. They started with a limited library, and still do not carry HBO programming, but they do have Showtime shows like ‘Shameless’ or ‘Weeds.’

They are always expanding their content, though the number of straight-to-DVD movies still outweigh award winning films. Every plus they have in the movie category; they lack in the television category. Most of the television shows they do have, have run their course. They do have Original Content that is top notch, with shows like ‘Orange is the New Black,’ or ‘House of Cards.’

They have several different package options, a Basic package for $7.99, which gives a subscriber SD videos and movies that you can stream on a single device. A Standard package which is the most popular as it allows two people to stream simultaneously in HD quality for $9.99, and a Premium package for $11.99 that allows four people simultaneously can stream content in HD and UHD.

4. Sling TV

Price: Starts at $20 per month

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, set-top boxes, most smart TVs

Straight from Direct TV comes Sling TV, the Cord Cutter’s live TV alternative. Sling TV offers both live programming video-on-demand for its users. They have an extensive selection of live channels to choose from and even offer ESPN and ESPN 2. No other streaming service up to this point has provided sports. The service provides niche programming for kids’ programming, sports, news, and so on. It also has DVR qualities on some channels, allowing you to pause, fast forward or rewind the content. Some channels even offer 3D-replay for shows that play on that channel within the past three days.

Sling has different package options:

The $20 Orange package is the lowest plan available with Sling TV it offers 28 channels including CNN, Comedy Central, Disney, ESPN, Food Network, History, and more. You can also access On-demand content with this package.

The $25 Blue package has a just over 40 channels for subscribers. It does not include ESPN but has Fox programming including FOX, Fox Sports Network, and FX. It also offers Cartoon Network, NBC, History, Travel Channel, BBC, Food Network, and more.

The $40 Orange + Blue package combines the first two packages and gives you just over 60 channels.

Extras are also available, for a monthly fee of $10 per month you can get Cinemax live stream. For $15 a month you can add HBO live Stream, and they have $5 a month packages like Sports Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, Kids Extra, Hollywood Extra, World News Extra, Best of Spanish TV, and Lifestyle Plus Extra.

As you can see, if you have multiple programming needs, maybe you shouldn’t cut the cord, but for someone who wants what is essentially basic cable and HBO, this would be a cheaper way to do that.

5. PlayStation Vue

Price: Starts at $29.99 per month

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, Roku, Sony smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Sony gaming consoles

PlayStation Vue is the real deal; it streams everything, sports, movies, and live TV! If you have been searching for local television streaming, PSVue has that too. Out of all of the streaming services, this is the one that most closely resembles that of a cable connection. With all of this content, however, you do have a higher price, and some package pricing goes up in big city markets. If however, you need cable without a credit check or contract, this is the service for you.

PlayStation Vue provides a lot of sports programming, including national channels and local sports channels. They also have on-demand content and DVR functionality through the cloud. They carry all of the channels you would find on basic cable with different pricing options.

They have Nationwide packages which include:
Access Slim: 55+ channels for $29.99/month (live TV, sports, and movies)
Core Slim: 70+ channels for $34.99/month (more sports programming)
Elite Slim: 100+ channels for $44.99/month (more movies and other entertainment channels)

Packages for Select Cities, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami which include:

Access: 60+ channels for $39.99/month (movies, TV, and sports channels)
Core: 75+ channels for $40/month (More channels and local sports programs)
Elite: 100+ channels for $45/month (More content from Machinima & Epix Hits)

As you can see they have many options to choose from, but for cable TV prices.

6. HBO Now

Price: $14.99 per month

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, most set-top boxes, most smart TVs, newer XBOX consoles

For $14.99 a month, you can have all of the quality programs that HBO has to offer. You can watch HBO original series from the past, like ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘The Wire,’ or the present like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Veep.’ You also have access to HBO movies and documentaries. HBO Now is also available as an add-on with Amazon Prime instant video, or as a standalone for those who only want to spend the $14.99 a month.

As far as a standalone service HBO Now is a bit pricey, but for it’s original content alone it is worth it. If you want the autoplay feature however, I would suggest subscribing Amazon Prime Instant video, as the option is not available through HBONow.

You can also access HBO Go through your cable provider

7. Showtime

Price: $10.99 per month

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, most set-top boxes, most smart TVs (Some HDMI devices disabled)

For $10.99 a month you can have Showtime Anytime. This Showtime standalone gives you access to their original series like ‘Homeland’ and ‘Dexter.’ You will also notice that many of the movies available on Showtime, are also available on Netflix or soon will be. Like the HBONow standalone, this service is also available as an add-on for $8.99 on Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video. The autoplay features work on those subscription services, bit not on the standalone itself.

You can also access these features through you cable service provider.

8. Starz

Price: $8.99 per month

Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, and web

For $8.99 a month Starz has it’s standalone streaming service. Like HBONow, and Showtime Anytime, it features content from the Starz channel, but they have also combined content from Starz Play, MoviePlex, and Encore Play. The Starz package is a major bundle that gives this standalone the best movie library of all of the standalone cable services. With this addon, you don’t get the highest quality series television, but they do have shows like ‘Power’ and ‘Black Sails’ that are very popular. This service can also be added onto your Amazon Prime instant video and used with autoplay.

9. VUDU

Price: Some free content with ads, other content prices vary on popularity/release date

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, set-top boxes, most smart TVs, most gaming consoles

VUDU is the most popular pay-per-view streaming service available, but they recently ventured into the “Free with ads” market. One downside to this service is that retail giant, Walmart owns it, but that could be why they have such an extensive library. Do they have every movie ever made? No… I have found several missing from their library, but they do have lot’s of movies to choose from, and they get many movies before pay-per-view on cable or before they are released on Blu-ray or DVD. With any pay-per-view service, renting or buying movies can become very pricey. Renting a television program in SD will cost $1.99 per episode and $2.99 in HD. Movie rentals can vary starting from $4.99 to $9.99 or even higher. They do offer specials on different films and television shows each month, however, waiting for a specific movie may take a very long time for a deal.

The “Free with ads” is for certain films and they change all of the time. The selections are mostly older movies, but occasionally they will offer good movies for free, who cares if you have to sit through the occasional ‘Straight Talk’ commercial?

One Response

  1. Ian M Dickins

    Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Cheers

    Reply

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