How much are you paying for your television service? More than $100? More than $150? According to DSLReports cable bills are on the rise and by 2020 will average more than $140 per month (up from about $100 per month in 2016). So, why are you still subscribing to cable when there are so many better options that allow you to cut the cord for good?
“Cord-cutting” is a term that applies to leaving traditional cable and satellite providers for an internet-based TV service. But why would you want to do this? Well, for starters it’s generally cheaper; but, cord-cutting also cuts out contracts with cancellation fees, lets you watch just about anywhere (and on any device), and you can try almost any service for free during a trial period.
We’ve covered cord-cutting before and reviewed many of the services. My personal favorite is Hulu + Live TV. Many—if not all—of the services not only offer free trials, but keep getting better and better as time goes on.
For example, Hulu offers many of the big, local channels in my area, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Additionally, my kids get great channels like Boomerang, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel (including Disney Junior and Disney XD).
Of course, as with any online service, there are a few things to consider before cutting the cord for good.
- Is your internet reliable enough to justify a cord-cutting service?
- Do you already have a streaming-capable device, like an Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick or smart TV?
- Are the channels you watch regularly available in your area?
- Will it be cheaper than your current cable/satellite bill?
Rather than just guess or read reviews, try each service to see which one you like best! Many services offer free trial periods and can be combined to get all the channels and features you need. Let’s take a look at three great options.
Hulu is famous for its on-demand TV library. Not only is almost every major show available on Hulu, but episodes—and even entire seasons—are available for a generous period of time, and many episodes are available the day after they air. This alone is extremely helpful for those looking to save money on television.
While a live package is more expensive, it’s still reasonably priced and doesn’t have the hidden costs, fees, and contracts of traditional providers. Hulu + Live TV starts at $44.99 per month and has over 60 top channels to choose from.
Additionally, viewers can add an entertainment add-on package for $7.99 that adds additional channels like Cooking Channel, Discovery Life, DIY, FYI, Lifetime Movies, and more.
While Hulu includes cloud DVR, an “Enhanced Cloud DVR” option adds additional storage with the ability fast forward through ads and record even “unlimited” streams simultaneously. Other add-ons include an “Unlimited Screens” package, Español, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz.
Hulu with Live TV includes all of the on-demand content available with a regular Hulu plan; and, like standard Hulu, viewers can pay an additional $6 an ad-free TV experience.
All-in-all, viewers can max out their experience for $123.91. This includes Hulu’s Live TV add-ons (e.g. Enhanced DVR), Spanish-speaking channels, additional entertainment channels, premium content (i.e. HBO and Cinemax), and limited commercials.
A free trial of Hulu with Live TV is available for one week, although it’s slightly hidden.
- Follow this link.
- Then select Log In.
- Finally, scroll to the bottom of the page and find “Don’t have Hulu with Live TV? Start your free trial now!”
For just $16 per month (or during the 7-day free trial), Philo customers get over 40 channels including Viacom channels. Channels include A&E, Animal Planet, BBC America, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, DIY, Food Network, Hallmark Channel, MTV, Nick, History Channel, and more. Viewers can add Cooking, Destination America, nicktoons, and more for just $4 more.
Overall, Philo is a great service that’s ultra-afforable. It might not be in the same league as Hulu or Sling, but it’s an inexpensive option that can also be great for adding more channels to your existing service.
While Philo doesn’t offer any of the big local channels, it does have unlimited cloud recording and three simultaneous streams. Signing up and logging in is easy as you just need a phone number.
If saving money is your main goal with cord-cutting, Sling TV—or simply Sling—may be your best bet. Sling is one of the best-reviewed services, and offers three plans starting at just $25.
Consumers can choose between the Sling Orange or Sling Blue plans, or they can bundle both for $40. Admittedly, Sling is missing some popular channels such as ABC and CBS. But, some areas do offer FOX and NBC (Sling Blue plan) and CBS offers its own streaming subscription for under $10.
Like Hulu, premium add-ons are available. In fact, there are a few more; but, keep in mind services such as cloud DVR are only available as an add-on option and not available by default. Here is a list of add-ons (“extras”):
- Cloud DVR ($5) – 50 hours
- Best of Spanish TV ($5) – 20+ channels, other Español channel packs for $5 each
- International Channels ($5) – 9 Channels
- Kids Extra ($5) – BabyTV, Boomerang, Disney Junior, Disney XD, duckTV, NickJr., NickToons, and TeenNick
- Sports Extra ($5) – beIN Sports, ESPN (Bases Loaded, ESPN-News, ESPN U, Goal Line, SEC, and SEC+), Outside TV, PAC12 Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, Stadium Plus 1, and Tennis Channel
- NBA League Pass ($28.99) – Team Pass for $17.99
- Comedy Extra ($5) – CMT, Game Show Network, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Paramount Network, REVOLT, truTV, and TV Land
- Heartland Extra ($5) – AHC, Cowboy Channel, Destination America, Outdoor Channel, PiXL, RIDE TV, RFD TV, Sportsman Channel, and World Fishing Network
- Hollywood Extra ($5) – CINEMOI North America, FANDOR, The Film Detective, HDNET-Movies, REELZ, TCM, and Sundance TV
- Lifestyle Extra ($5) – Afro, BET, Cooking Channel, DIY, FYI, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime Movies, VH1, WE TV, and Z Living
- News Extra ($5) – BBC World News, the blaze, CGTN, CNBC, euronews, France24, FStv, FUSION, HLN, MSNBC, NEWS18, NewsMax TV, RT America, SCI, and W
- SHOWTIME ($10)
- STARZ ($9) and more.
Although Sling can be one of the least expensive cord-cutting options, it can also be the most expensive when adding every package (about $325 before tax). That being said, comparable add-ons to Hulu will put you at about $120.
While Sling is missing some channels, it does have a lot of add-ons that aren’t available on other services and Viacom channels are available as well. Viacom streaming isn’t offered on most other cord-cutting services.
Sling offers a 7-day free trial period, and discounted pricing (currently 40% off) for the first three months. Additionally, new users can get a free Roku Express or, for $50, a Roku Ultra (with prepaid service).
STARZ is a fantastic streaming service that rivals HBO and Showtime, but somehow manages to edge them out in terms of overall quality.
The service includes original shows like Power, Outlander, Black Sails and American Gods, as well as offers a huge selection of your favorite award-winning movies.
STARZ allows you to watch and download movies on all of your devices and you can even stream movies and shows on 4 devices at once.
Best of all, there’s no commitment. STARZ even offers a 7-day free trial period. After that STARZ costs only $8.99 per month, which is a solid deal for this great service.
Cutting the cord keeps getting easier and easier and you can combine services to get what you need. For example, I use Hulu with Live TV and Philo to get great on-demand content, local streaming, and Viacom channels.
While these are three great options, there are more. Services like Playstation Vue (doesn’t require a Playstation), YouTube TV, and more mean you can find what works best for you.
Are you a cord-cutter? Why or why not? Let us know what services you prefer in the comments below and on social media. Thanks for reading!