It’s officially September, which means it’s also officially TV premiere season. And for many of us considering cutting the cord, that raises the question of whether to ditch cable and stream live TV. Is it worth it? Let’s take a look and find out.
An important note: Call and confirm what channels are available in your area before you commit to any service. Channel rights and who gets to stream them are a tangled knot, and some networks, even your local broadcasters, may be tied up in them. So know that first, before you sign on.
Hulu makes a strong bid to be your streaming live TV provider, with a price of $40 a month for 50 channels, two separate streams, access to the company’s shockingly deep streaming library, and a 50 hour cloud DVR. That said, you’ll still get ads when you stream shows from their library, which isn’t a dealbreaker but considering what you pay, it’d be nice to skip them. Also, your selection of devices beyond your phone is a bit limited; right now it’s just the Xbox One, Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV to stream to your tube, although more devices are on the way. The streaming, however, works perfectly, even if the interface could be more user-friendly, and if you’re a TV junkie, it’s hard to beat that ever-growing library.
Sling takes a slightly different approach, dividing up your cable package into cheaper tiers and add-ons. For $20, you can get Sling Orange, which is equivalent to a basic cable skinny package with channels like AMC, ESPN, and the like. The $25 Sling Blue gets you more channels, including regional channels, but you lose the Disney networks like ESPN and Freeform. Sling Orange + Blue gets you both. Or you can add channels with $5 add-on packs. If all this seems confusing, that’s because it is; Sling doesn’t make it easy to figure out what you get for your money.
The good news? Once you hash out the labyrinthine structure, the app streams well, it’s on almost every system, and the interface is easy,