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Hulu + Live TV prices hikes will bring it on par with YouTube TV

Ever since YouTube TV announced it was raising the prices on its live TV streaming service in July, many have seen Hulu + Live TV as a more affordable option. But as of December 18, that will no longer be the case. Hulu has announced it will be raising the price of the base Hulu + Live TV service from $55 per month to $65 per month, while its Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV subscriptions will jump from $61 per month to $71 per month.

Unlike some previous price increases, this change does not come with any new channels or service enhancements. The price increases only affect the Live TV plans, not Hulu’s on-demand-only subscriptions.

Hulu’s decision follows a price increase from Netflix and puts Hulu + Live TV on par with YouTube TV, which is $65 per month for the base package. Hulu + Live TV doesn’t carry as many live TV channels as YouTube TV, but it does include access to the ad-supported version of the Hulu on-demand library, which is more expansive than YouTube TV’s on-demand catalog.

Prices for all streaming services have been steadily rising over the years, which has prompted more than one observer to wonder how much longer they will remain a preferable option to traditional cable and satellite-delivered TV. And while it’s unlikely that cable and satellite companies will reduce their prices to try to grab some customers back from the streaming players, we are beginning to see new options emerge.

T-Mobile recently launched T-Vision, its live TV streaming service that (for now) is restricted to existing T-Mobile subscribers. T-Vision’s most expensive package, with 66 channels, is $60 per month. Meanwhile, prepaid satellite service Orby TV offers a bundle of 70 channels for just $50 — a good deal as long as you don’t watch a lot of sports.

With so many companies seeking to disrupt what’s left of cable and satellite’s hold on the TV viewer, the real question is will Netflix continue to be content as the number one alternative to live TV channels, or will it seek to assert itself into linear TV too?

If that seems far-fetched, take a look at what the company is doing in France: A new experimental service called Direct appears to be a fishing expedition of sorts, to see just how much appetite there is for a Netflix-run live TV service.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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