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Cable cutters rejoice – streaming options just keep getting better and better. Traditional cable can hardly compete with internet streaming services, both in price and quality of content. Major players in the streaming arena drive a hard bargain.
Starting at $11 a month, Netflix offers a wide variety of both familiar and original content. Although you can find almost anything you’ve ever wanted to watch in their massive library, the real star of Netflix and its originals. Netflix produces thought-provoking true crime and documentary content, as well as pop culturally lauded shows like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black.
YouTube is a platform for independent creators, including comedians and musical artists. YouTube has always been ad-supported and free, but Premium costs $12 a month. YouTube Premium gives you access to an ad-free viewing experience, as well as exclusive YouTube original content. Most YouTube originals center around celebrities or important pop culture figures, speaking to Generation Z and young millennial taste.
Hulu starts at $8 a month for its ad-supported plan, but goes as high as $45 a month for its Live TV plan that serves as a full alternative to traditional cable. Hulu is a little more customizable than Netflix, offering premium channel add-ons for anywhere between $8 and $12 a month per channel. Hulu users are a fan of this a la carte system that allows them to easily control what they spend for what they get. In addition to a robust library, Hulu also creates highly acclaimed originals like The Handmaid’s Tale.
4. Prime Video
Prime video will run you anywhere between $9 a month or $99 a year. If you already have Amazon Prime, it’s included. Prime has original shows, but not as many as its competitors. Prime is mostly known for its huge back catalog of older movies and its extensive Viacom and HBO libraries. Comedy Central and Nickelodeon products can only be found on Prime. The situation is similar with HBO classics. Want to re-watch The Sopranos before the prequel movie is released? Prime is the only streaming platform that has you covered.
5. Playstation Vue
Playstation Vue is a formidable total cable replacement package. Subscriptions range from $50 a month to $75 per month, depending on the amount of channels and the type of content users desire. Vue works exactly like live TV, providing sports, news network, and popular premium channels. The console helps Vue to function similarly to a DVR, allowing users to record their favorite shows to watch later.
6. Disney +
Disney+ is set to debut in November of 2019, and it’s already allowing preorders. Pricing starts at $7 a month or $70 a year. Disney’s streaming service will obviously feature Disney content, in addition to Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content.
In fact, the announcement of Disney+ is what lead to Netflix’s cancellation of its original content in collaboration with Marvel (Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones). Disney has been teasing new Disney+ Originals featuring some of Marvel’s best known heroes. Comic book fanatics can’t skip Disney+ if they want to see their favorites in action.
7. HBO NOW
HBO NOW runs $15 a month, and gives cord cutters access to the HBO content that everyone around them is always talking about. If you’ve been meaning to get around to watching Game of Thrones, HBO NOW will allow you to stream it (as well as almost every other show in their back catalog). It also offers live access to its currently running hit shows like Westworld and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Although HBO NOW is a little bit on the pricey side for a single channel, it’s still a lot less expensive than buying a whole cable bundle just to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm.
8. Sling TV Orange
Orange is Sling TV’s introductory package, and it will cost you $25 a month. Sling TV plans can run as high as $40 monthly. Sling TV offers you the most basic cable TV experience for slightly less than what you’d pay with a normal provider. This service is a life saver for sports fans looking to lower their cable bill – their basic plan includes ESPN. It’s also great for watching the news, basic cable sitcoms, and cartoons. Overall, Sling TV is family friendly at a price working parents can afford.
Crackle is absolutely free, but it may not have everything you want. It’s weighed down with ads, but that’s the price you pay when you keep your wallet in your pocket. Crackle’s library rotates and features original content as well as older cult classic films and TV shows. You’ll usually find your favorite guilty pleasures, the The Karate Kid or The Craft. You’ll even spot bingeworthy reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen.
Conclusion: What Services Are Worth It?
Some services are free, and the ones with a monthly fee are still less than the annual cost of cable. Any service that will give you what you want while allowing you to save a few bucks a month by cutting the cord is worth it. Even if you get two paid services, you’ll still be spending less than one traditional cable service. Start with a free trial and see how things go.