Media companies know entertainment lovers, news junkies and sports fanatics want live TV without signing up for cable or satellite services. And more than a handful of options have popped up during the past few years to meet the demand.
Providers offering live TV come with many of the same perks as above — enticing entry offers, the ability to walk away from a television, no long-term commitments, etc. And some providers like, Philo and Sling, offer the ability to record/save shows in addition to healthy on-demand libraries.
Hulu and YouTube are blurring the lines between TV providers and producers by offering a lineup of original content, including “Sideswiped” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” on top of the current programs from CNN, ESPN, Disney and other established networks.
Traditional TV providers
Despite all the talk of cord cutting, cable and satellite companies have seen their average revenue per user increase 53 percent since 2007 to $100.96 in 2017, according to data from Kagan.
Lenoir says two big things are driving up the average cable bill:
• Programming expenses are rising, so distributors are passing on those costs.
• The people with cords still intact are likely able to spend more.
Pricing for DISH Network, DirecTV, Spectrum from Charter Communications Inc., Xfinity from Comcast and other television providers can get real complicated, real fast. That’s because unlike with streaming-only services, cable and satellite providers can offer bundles that loop in internet, phone and cable/satellite services. Some bundles and content packages come with access to on-demand libraries that can be streamed via TV set or laptop. Others offer attractive trial periods for premium channels including HBO, Starz, Showtime and Cinemax.
On the con side, the big players often want consumers to agree to carry their service for an extended period, might add equipment and instillation costs and jack up prices after the introductory offer. Plus, if you don’t need phone or internet service, bundling might not make sense.
Think it through
Do some homework first. Make a list of deal-breaker shows or channels and check to see if they’re available on streaming services. You should also call your cable/satellite company to ask about your options if you want to downgrade.
If you’re totally new to streaming, it makes sense to test the services before you make any big changes. Canceling cable can be complicated and, if you’re under contract for a one- or two-year commitment, expensive. However, it’s very easy to sign up for most streaming services and cancel them without financial penalty if you discover their content to be totally out of line with your tastes.
It also pays to take a look at the back of your TV. If you find a USB drive there, then Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV offer quick, low-cost options for getting streamed content onto a screen bigger than your phone or tablet. You should also consider higher-end devices like Apple TV or Roku, both of which make watching streamed content on your TV easier.
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