We live in a golden age of TV, with more great shows on different channels than ever before, but we also live in a time of great choice for consumers. TV viewers used to be forced into getting either an expensive cable or satellite package, often loaded with channels they didn’t care about. Today, a plethora of streaming services each offer a host of shows that users can watch whenever they want. With so many options, the question becomes: Which provides the most bang for your buck? We set out to find out which live TV streaming services offer the best value.
One of the biggest contenders is Hulu with Live TV, which costs $40 a month for more than 50 channels, including all the shows offered as part of Hulu’s basic on-demand service. You also get 50 hours of DVR storage, which you can upgrade to 200 hours for a fee.
YouTube’s streaming service, YouTube TV, costs $35 a month for 44 channels. Users get live TV, plus unlimited DVR storage, and you can have six profiles on one account, each with their own DVR storage, so you and your roommates can keep your shows separated.
Perhaps the biggest value comes from DirecTV Now. This service offers four live TV packages at increasing costs, but you will probably get the best value out of their first two: 60+ channels for $35 a month, or 80+ channels for $50 a month. If you are an AT&T customer, the deals get even better. With an AT&T wireless plan that includes unlimited data, you get $25 off your DirectTV Now subscription, and you get HBO on top. The only downside — and it is a big one — is that DirecTV Now currently has no DVR option, although the company has said it is working on it. Read our hands-on with DirecTV Now to learn what it’s like to live with.
Once you have decided on a streaming service, you will also want to figure out how you will watch shows. All of the above services offer apps for iOS and Android, as well as browser viewing, so if you own a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you’re already set. If you want to stream your shows to a TV, your two best options are either the Amazon Fire Stick or the Google Chromecast.
The Fire Stick has a convenient UI, viewable on your TV screen. The Chromecast lets you watch any of the above services using their apps, and you can also cast your phone or computer screen directly to your TV. For an in-depth breakdown, consult our guide to streaming sticks. Our guide to cord cutting also has some valuable tips on other considerations, like internet speed and antenna options.
David Cogen, a regular contributor here at DigitalTrends, runs a popular tech blog TheUnlockr.com that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.
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