A Breakdown Of The Top Streaming TV Packages That Really Make You Save Money!
We already outlined the media streamers or top-set boxes to perform all of the streaming tasks you want – for free. If you are uncomfortable with the jailbreak-savvy options we recommend in our media streamer reviews, don’t despair!
The following tips will help you to avoid the dark side all together by assembling the perfect, cost effective entertainment package that best fits YOU – completely legal and future-proof!
So now it’s time to get a grasp on the streaming services providers out there so that you can figure out which one best meets your TV viewing needs. After all, you if “cut the cord,” can you still get the shows you want to watch?
4 Benefits Of Cord Cutting:
- Save money. Cable connections can be costly!
- Avoid paying for channels in subscriptions that you don’t even watch (tsk, tsk, how wasteful)
- No pesky long-term contracts with cable companies. Cancel at any time
- Little advertising (annoying and distracting)
Cord cutter packages have hit the mainstream. People are saying goodbye to traditional TV and hello to streaming services, with popular players including Hulu and Netflix. Is it time for you to abandon pay TV and instead get your “television” online or from Internet-based services?
Making the shift from cable to online viewing doesn’t need to be complex (although many guides we’ve read on the web seem to think so). We’re breaking it down for you here, with the ins and outs of the top 7 streaming packages for the cable cutter in you.
To make it easier for you, we used personas to better illustrate the guy or gal we think each package would be best fitted for. Here u go:
1. The Armchair Quarterback
So you say you want sports? Absolutely! Check out Sling TV from Dish. Just be aware that getting local games isn’t a reality at this point with streaming services, whether that be Sling TV or not. As well, the service might not be stable every time (just one of the drawbacks of Live streaming sometimes). Okay, now onto the awesome sports talk.
* Our recommendation: $20/mth Get The Best of Live TV (base package) + $5/mth Sports Extra pack
Pick up two specific Sling TV packages to cover your sports needs. The core package, for $20/month, is called The Best of Live TV. It features 20 channels, including (and most importantly) ESPN and ESPN2. Then add in the Sports Extra bundle for only $5 more to give you SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, Universal Sports, beIN Sports, and more.
If you want to get network sports broadcasts too, then add an indoor TV antenna as the perfect accompaniment to your streaming package. If you have a good signal then a basic indoor antenna will do. But if it’s a weak signal (feel free to curse here) then invest in in an outdoor antenna and move it around for a better signal to get the broadcast games.
How Can You Get Sling TV?
- Subscribe at Sling.com and create an account
- Install the app on your device (see #3)
- Sling TV works on these media streaming devices: Roku (TV, box or stick) Amazon Fire TV (box or stick), and Xbox One
- Tip: You can also set up Sling TV on your mobile device (Android/iOS phone or tablet), your PC and your Mac
- Sign in and watch anywhere in the US, using a stable Wi-Fi, wired or cell Internet connection
2. The Untouchable Trendsetter
You want the latest, hottest shows, and you want them right now. You are not to be outdone, and missing out on the trendiest TV shows, like Orange Is The New Black, is simply not an option for you. Then you’re going to want the ultimate custom package of Netflix (US), HBO Now, Showtime, and Amazon Prime.
Netflix US, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, and Showtime
* Our recommendation: $8.99/mth Netflix plan + $15/mth HBO Now plan + $8.25/mth Amazon Prime + $11/mth Showtime
First step: get on the Netflix bandwagon. It has movies, true, but if you want content that goes past the two-hour mark, then you’ll have a whole wack of the most buzzworthy shows to fill the void called the weekend. Did we mention you won’t have to deal with commercials?
Get the two-screens streaming plan for $8.99/month (so you can watch on two HDTVs or share the account with someone else). Some of the best shows on Netflix right now include Better Call Saul, Sherlock, House of Cards, Archer, and Fargo.
As for HBO Now, it is well-known for having some of the most talked about shows on it. It’s a close second to Netflix but you want it too so you can stream Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Wire, Silicon Valley, Oz,Veep, and much more.
Here’s what else rocks about streaming HBO Now. You get it for only $15 per month, which is about the same price as the HBO pay TV channel, yet you get more of the best, newest shows. Um, hello good deal. You could even get a free 30-day trial upon sign up with HBO Now the last time we checked.
What You Need To Know About HBO Now:
- You cannot sign up for HBO Now from just any device. Account sign up occurs through 3rd parties; currently only Apple and Cablevision are on board
- You can, therefore, sign up using Apple TV, an iPhone or iPad. If Cablevision provides Internet service where you live then that’s another option.
- BUT once you have an account, you can watch it on more than just Apple products. You can see HBO Now shows on any desktop web browser (just use your related account password).
- An Android app released in mid-July. Obviously you can’t use it on rooted phones or tablets. Get a 30-day HBO Now trial when you get the app in the Play Store.
And, no, you’re not done there. I mean, you need an Amazon Prime Instant Video subscription too. Then you can keep up with The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Transparent, Vikings, and Rome. Did we miss one? You would know as you keep tabs on the latest shows!
With its top shows, it’s no wonder that Amazon Instant video has grown to be more than just an extra service from the web giant, now proving to be a major competitor in the streaming business. It costs $99 per year, which is about $8.25 per month. Note: The Amazon downloads are fast, and if you’re a Prime member then you get to stream commercial free for certain content.
It’s Showtime! Enjoy cable-free TV streaming of those shows everyone is eagerly awaiting, like Penny Dreadful. In the US, the news only gets better as you can stream it through your Apple TV or Roku media players for just $11 per month. Get on-demand and live access to the shows so your friends won’t tell you the ending of the episodes before you get to see them. Check out Ray Donovan too if you want to binge-watch a great crime drama.
3. Binge Viewer Extraordinaire
This selection is for the TV viewer who likes to binge-watch full seasons of shows. Your tastes vary, so one month you might be into crime dramas while the next month you want to lighten it up with a comedy. The only consistency for you is that you want to watch it all, the total season of the show that catches your attention at the time.
Go with a la Carte TV Instead
* Our recommendation: Get one TV show’s full season for $30/mth
For wonderful, binge-watching you, it makes the most sense to go with the a la carte option. You can get 30 seasons for $30 each. If you can imagine yourself being satisfied with viewing a season a month, without the need for any other content on top of that, then this solution is perfect for you. The typical season has 22 episodes of 45 minutes each.
You’re going to save big bucks, by the way. You no longer have to shell out upwards of $900 a year for cable when you switch to Internet service. You now spend only $360 a year. How to spend that $540 you just saved? Here are a few options:
Ways to Use Your Savings, Cable Cutter:
- Get yourself a TV antenna so that you can watch big events live, such as the Olympics, the Academy Awards, and the Super Bowl.
- Note: You must have a TV made after 2007 for an antenna to work. Plug it into the coaxial port that’s at the back of your television.
- The Clearstream 2 antenna is a great choice for under $100, with a range up to 50 miles. Get top networks like FOX, ABC, CBS, and NBC.
- As for the remaining funds, spend it on snacks and beer for the binge-watching sessions, as well as treating yourself to a few cool finds.
4. A Case Of The News Junkie
When you like news and you like it a lot, here’s the solution: Sling TV. Why? It offers you a the latest stories on world events, politics, tech stories, and more. Never miss out again on breaking US or global headlines! Included in the affordable $20/mth core package is CNN, which is obviously a huge provider of current news and quality feature stories.
* Our recommendation: $20/mth The Best of Live TV (base package) + $5 World News Extra pack + separate $100 cable antenna
We recommend you add in the Sling TV World News Extra pack for just $5 more. That bundle gives you Bloomberg TV, Euro News, Russia Today, News 18, and more. As well, invest in a one-time $100 purchase of the reliable Clearstream 2 antenna (see the “Ways to Use Your Savings” box above) to get access to local and network news too.
Including the antenna purchase in your first year as a cable cutter, you will save $555, with savings for each subsequent year at a whopping $655. Not too shabby at all.
More Cord Cutting Tips for the News Viewer:
- Once you have your over-the-air antenna, you can watch MSNBC and FOX News IF you have a PlayStation 3 or 4. Just get PlayStation Vue. Note: PlayStation Vue is only available in Chicago, NY, and Philadelphia right now.
- For the $49.99/mth Access plan on PlayStation Vue, you get 50 channels that include these news-centered ones: FOX News, NBC, CBS, FOX Sports, and MSNBC.
- On Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV, you can get CBSN, which is a digital news channel from CBS News. It streams live coverage with anchors for 15 hours a day Monday to Friday.
- Another option: Try the ABC News app on Roku, Apple TV or Xbox One. It has special reports dedicated to breaking news items.
5. The Cable-Aholic
If you like the shows on cable but are tired of the fees, you’re not alone. This viewing combination of CBS All Access, Sling TV, and Hulu gives you all the shows you love on cable, like Modern Family, but at a cheaper price. Sounds good? Read on, it get’s better!
CBS All Access, Sling TV, and Hulu
* Our recommendation: $20/mth Sling TV basic package + $6/mth CBS All Access (base rate) + $7.99/mth Hulu (base rate)
For Sling TV, opt for The Best of Live TV core package; for $20 a month you get ABC Family, TBS, Lifetime, HGTV, TNT, and more. Plus, Sling’s “Replay” feature lets you go back and watch programming you might have missed; how far back you can view depends on the channel. A benefit of this service over cable is that it is live TV, playing as it happens, unlike cable TV.
If you want to keep up with Blue Bloods and binge-watch NCIS, which are both hit cable shows, you’ll like having CBS All Access too. It currently has more than 6,500 on-demand episodes of CBS shows; watch what you want when you want to for ultimate convenience. You can’t beat the price for $6 a month, especially if you like the ability to choose between both old and new episodes.
Add in Hulu so that you can watch the best shows that you enjoyed on cable from ABC, FOX, NBC, MTV, and Comedy Central. This subscription service gives you new and past season episodes of Good Morning America,The Daily Show, South Park, Community, Once Upon a Time, and many more. The base price? Just $7.99 a month. Here is more about setting up Hulu:
How to Start Using Hulu:
- You need an account in the US; sign up for the subscription through the Hulu site. Start with the trial subscription offered to you (hey, it’s FREE), but realize it automatically rolls into a paid version after the trial ends.
- To access Hulu, you need one of these media streamers: Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Chromecast or Nexus Player. You can also get the service on your iOS, Android or Windows mobile device. Another option? Watch it from your computer.
- For best performance, Hulu recommends your Internet connection has a download speed of 1.5 Mbps (SD videos) and 3 Mbps (HD videos).
6.I Want It All
You want it all. All that and a bag of chips. If so, then you’re a TV junkie who has a wide range of viewing tastes and wants all the content you can get on demand every day. You need an assortment of streaming subscriptions to satisfy your needs: HBO Now, Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access.
HBO Now, Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access
* Our recommendation: $15/mth HBO Now, $20/mth Sling TV basic package + $8.99/mth Netflix + $7.99/mth Hulu (base rate) + $6/mth CBS All Access (base rate)
Get the premium network HBO on the cheap with HBO Now. The online streaming service, for $15 a month, gives you access to every hit HBO series. You can still watch Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, Silicon Valley, and Ballers.
If you still want to get the cable networks ESPN and ESPN2 for great sports coverage then you have to add in Sling TV; it is the only subscription service carrying it. Those channels are included with a ton of others in the basic $20 a month package. You’ll still be able to watch big shows like Family Guy, Chopped, and Conan. Watch TBS, TNT, Food Channel, and more assorted shows, all included within the base package.
Add $8 a month for your Netflix subscription. Why? Steam shows in HD that range from Orange is the New Black to Daredevil and House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The most talked about shows are on Netflix, duh. There’s a ton of TV shows, and you can watch them as much as you want.
Hulu has the shows you are used to watching on cable, such as Modern Family, Scandal, and Empire. Get full episodes and full seasons of them. If you want to watch entire seasons of your favorite shows on the cheap (only about $8 a month), then Hulu’s for you. It even works on Android or iOS mobile devices. Play it on your Apple TV, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Chromecast, or Nexus Player too.
When you add in CBS All Access, you get all of the current shows PLUS older ones you can watch on demand. You can get live streaming! Plus, CBS show episodes are available days after for you, in case you want to rewatch them or missed them the first time around. Sync your devices and you can watch shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife on the go on your smartphone.
You can use two of these streaming services or all five of them, depending on the television shows that you normally like to watch. The point is you will get an assortment of content whenever you want it and are unlikely to run out of shows as news ones are always being added to them.
Another Option: Get Showtime Through Hulu
- In the above section, we suggested HBO Now, but if you’re not into Game of Thrones or any other series on there, you could opt instead to get Showtime through Hulu.
- On Showtime, you’ll get Homeland and Ray Donovan as soon as they air.
- Get live stream shows as soon as they air on your desktop computer, commercial-free content, and more. Watch anything and everything on your TV, PC or mobile device.
- Sign up through Hulu by going to your account settings, select Manage Premium Add-ons, and you’ll see the Showtime option there.
7. The Film Buff
If your reason for wanting to keep cable has primarily been your love of movies, then this is what we recommend for you. Get any movie you want on demand by selecting the newest flicks one by one from Amazon or iTunes. These flicks are only $5 each. In addition, you can get Netflix and HBO Now.
HBO Now, Netflix, and Single Film Picks on iTunes or Amazon
* Our recommendation: $15/mth HBO Now + $8.99/mth Netflix + $20/mth for 4 movie picks (Amazon or iTunes)
On Netflix, stream the most buzzworthy movies, as well as the little-known ones. Netflix suggests movies for you, based on what you have watched, and you will find that the New Releases category frequently updates. There are comedies, dramas, thrillers, kids movies, romance, foreign films, and more.
Add in HBO Now for even more of the latest movies, sometimes faster than you could get them on Netflix. Current selections include Gone Girl, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, and 12 Years a Slave. For all your movie needs, any time of the day, you’ll be covered.
iTunes vs. Amazon for Movies: Which is Better?
- Amazon Instant Video is easily accessible via Xbox, Roku, iPad or PlayStation 3 or 4 while iTunes is limited to Apple users (iOS devices, such as the iPhone and Apple TV).
- If you’re an Apple fan, however, you want to support the brand likely, so you’re going with iTunes hands down. Plus, your music is only a click away while you’re there.
- Both Apple and Amazon offer about 50,000 movies in their libraries, so there’s plenty of content to choose from either way.
- Rental and purchase movie prices on iTunes and Amazon are similar (identical in many instances). For example, the movie Insurgent is $19.99 to buy from each store.
- Bottom line: Which is “better” depends on what factors you use as a comparison between the two stores and what you consider important to meeting your viewing needs.