“That’s it, we’re getting rid of cable”. We’ve all said it. Then a few hours later you’re three episodes deep into Naked and Afraid and you’ve settled down, accepting that you’re actually not going to cut the cord. Not this month, anyways.
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that there are several affordable options available now that will enable you to watch almost everything you already watch. The bad news is that in order to get all those shows, you’ll likely have to subscribe to several different streaming services. That can add up to a cable bill pretty quickly, because don’t forget you’ll still have to pay for a reliable Internet service to stream anything. Also, despite the fact that some of these OTT (over-the-top) streaming services have been around for years, the landscape is changing pretty rapidly now. It can be hard to keep up with what content can be found on any given platform. For that, I suggest looking on Justwatch.com, which is kind of like a TV Guide for streaming. It’s important that you assess your viewing habits and really consider what you’re willing to live without. At the end of the day, cable may be more expensive, but it’s also a convenient one-stop shop for the best programming. Nevertheless, here are a few of the services you should look into if you want to make a move away from your cable or dish provider.
Netflix, Hulu Plus & Amazon Prime – $9.99/mo, $7.99/mo, $99/year
We’ll call this the cord cutter starter package. These are the platforms that you’ve probably heard of before, as they’ve been around the longest and are putting out some strong original programming. People are raving about shows like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things on Netflix, and Prime is gearing up to release some competing originals in the Fall of 2016. I’m packaging these three services together because if you’re serious about cutting the cord, you really should consider getting at least two of them. This will offer you a great mix of TV shows, movies, and programming for kids. If you’re looking for content from the big four networks (so you don’t miss your CSI’s), Hulu is the way to go.
Playstation Vue – $29.99/mo and up
Sony has barged their way into the OTT space and they’re not messing around. With three different packages, all including AMC, Bravo, CNN, ESPN and Fox Sports, this is really the closest you’re going to get to feeling like you still have cable. NBCSN is also in the base package, for all of you soccer fans (okay, maybe that’s just me). One of the big differentiators between Vue and Sling TV, its main competitor, is that you Vue allows up to five streams going at once. You might need that because the Vue lineup seems to be expanding all the time. Check out their website before you sign up to see the latest additions.
Sling TV – $20/mo and up
Not quite the robust lineup that Vue offers, Sling TV is the most affordable option to still feel like you have cable. The basic package gives you 25 channels including ESPN, AMC, Disney, and CNN. The next package up is $25, and it adds NFL Network, Fox Sports, FX, NBCSN, Bravo and more, however, it takes away Disney and ESPN. A questionable strategy I think, but obviously they’re trying to push people to their most expensive $40 package, which adds Disney and ESPN back into the mix. Like the others, Sling TV is pretty much device agnostic, so you can play through almost any available device. You’re not totally cutting the cord though, Sling is owned by Dish Network.