I did a video on watching TV without cable a while back, but since then, there’s been a lot more options to come out–and frankly, much better ones. Competition has begun in the online live TV space and, as is the one nice thing about competition, that means their prices and offerings are getting better and better.
Because of all this lowering of prices and healthy competition, I wanted to see something. I was curious what is the most channels you could get for the least amount of money.
Pick a Streaming Service
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Hulu w/ Live Beta
Hulu just recently released the product that they really should have had from the very beginning when claiming to be online TV, in my opinion: Live TV.
And frankly, this new plan is one of the most bang for your buck options out right now (along with the other two that I’ll get to in a minute). With it you get over 50 channels for just $40/month. And, in addition to the live TV, it also includes the standard Hulu on-demand library that normally costs $8/month and has over 3500 shows and movies at this point.
Hulu also gives you 50 hours of DVR storage which is a decent amount (at least for me) and you can upgrade to 200 hours with unlimited simultaneous recording and the ability to fast forward through commercials for an extra fee.
YouTube is now in the live TV game as well, and it’s not a bad deal actually.
For $35/month you get about 46 channels including the popular ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN. And it also gets you access to YouTube Red Originals (but not YouTube Red features like ad-free, background playing, etc.).
A feature that only YouTube TV has on this list, you get unlimited DVR storage so if there are live shows you like on the channels available, you can easily set up recording on all of them and never have to worry about them getting deleted before you get a chance to check them out.
YouTube TV has another feature I think is cool, which is the ability to have 6 different users on the system all with their own DVR libraries. Helpful not just for the family but roommates, etc. so you can all share the $35/month cost without any issues like having to get horrible recommendations of what to watch next based on the shows you didn’t watch.
The last service that is a good deal might actually be the best deal. DirecTV offers bundles instead of a la carte TV like Sling TV (the service I mentioned in my last video).
These bundles come in a few different levels, with the lowest one–possibly the lowest two–being the only ones that are a good value over actually paying for cable. It’s $35/month for over 60 channels and $50/month for over 80 channels making it probably the best price per channel out right now (again if we’re talking sheer volume of channels).
The biggest downside is that it doesn’t have DVR at all at the moment, but has mentioned that they’ll be launching it later this year.
Since DirectTV is owned by AT&T, there’s also a really good deal for anyone that has an AT&T Wireless plan: $25/month credit on your bill if you have the Unlimited Data Plus plan on your AT&T account, making the DirectTV service just $10/month. Now, that data plan isn’t cheap by any means but if you’re someone like me who uses a lot of data on your phone, you might already need that plan to save money on your wireless bill anyway so if that’s the case, then it’s sort of a no-brainer which of these options you should get.
Also for HBO fans, DirectTV Now has a $5/month add on for that compared to the $15/month you’d pay for HBO Now separately.
Pick a Device to Watch On
Once you decide on the best service for you, you just need a way to watch.
Your Own Phone, Tablet, Computer or SmartTV
There are a lot of options to choose from including Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Sticks, most smart TVs etc. but the cheapest way to watch is going to be on a device you already own.
All of these services have apps for Android and iOS so you can watch on your phone or tablet, and all have browser options for watching on a computer, as well as, apps for SmartTVs, so if you have those at your disposal, that’d probably be your cheapest options since, you know, you already paid for them.
Amazon Fire Stick
The other options are similarly priced and work in much the same way using an app, the first is the Fire Stick from Amazon.
It has a very simple UI and everything is available on the TV (unlike the next option) so it’s really easy for most members of the family to use without too much hassle. You simply navigate to whatever app you need (all of the services mentioned have Fire Stick apps), login, and you’re good to go.
The Fire Stick is also only $35 and you can even get one for free when you sign up for the DirectTV Now service.
Besides the Fire Stick, there is Google’s option (which comes for free with a subscription to YouTube TV at the moment).
The Chromecast is available for $35 otherwise and will not only let you watch any of these services using their apps in the Google Home app on the phone, but also has the added benefit of casting your computer or phone screen to the TV as well, meaning any online web shows you can cast to the TV.
The big downside to the Chromecast is it isn’t the most intuitive for, say, your older family members, thanks to the fact it requires a phone with the app on it and everything to be controlled via that, so just keep that in mind based on who might be using it.
At the time of writing this, by the way, Hulu Live and YouTube Live isn’t supported on Fire Sticks, just Chromecasts but is promised to be coming very soon.
And there you go, depending on which one you picked, you can be watching Live TV on a ton of devices for $10-$50/month and with the addition of a ton of other content options, as well. Let me know what you guys think and what other services/device combinations you use and why below!
GIVEAWAY ALERT: In a effort to give back to you guys, doing a summer of giveaways to reward loyal readers (instead of just doing Gleam giveaways and rewarding strangers who don’t actually read/watch any of my content). So for a chance to win a Chromecast Ultra, simply check my Twitter account, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook for how to enter (giving away 4, one on each social network). Thanks for your support, guys!