With nothing but your favorite iOS device, you can drop expensive pay television channels and multichannel subscription television services in favor of live TV streamed over the internet. All you need is the right app. Besides being much more affordable, internet-only streaming services include countless useful features that greatly improve the overall viewing experience. There’s no doubt that internet is the future of live TV, and the future is happening right now.
Designed to complement subscription video-on-demand services, Playstation Vue is targeted to cordcutters. It was launched in 2015, and it combines live TV with on-demand video and cloud-based DVR. The service works on multiple devices at the same time, including smart televisions, dedicated digital media players, PlayStation consoles, and mobile devices.
You can select from 4 different subscription plans and several standalone channels. Playstation Vue got rid of annual contracts in favor of simplified monthly billing. You are free to cancel your subscription at any time with no cancellation fees to worry about. The most affordable subscription plan costs $39.99, and it includes over 45 popular broadcast, cable, movie, and sports channels in high-definition. On the other hand, the most expensive subscription plan costs $74.99, and it includes 90 channels.
The video-on-demand services included in Playstation Vue give you access to catch-up programming from the channels carried on the service and content provided by over-the-top services operated by individual networks. With the cloud-based DVR functionality, you can automatically record any content and store it for 28 days. Recently, Playstation Vue has introduced a picture-in-picture feature, allowing users to watch up to three channels simultaneously on a single screen.
Offering a selection of major cable channels, Sling TV aims to complement subscription video-on-demand services for cordcutters. The service was launched in 2015 by Dish Network, an American direct-broadcast satellite service provider. It’s estimated that the service currently has around 1.2 million subscribers.
Sling TV offers two subscription packages. The most affordable package, Sling Orange, costs only $20 per month, and customers don’t have to sign any contract. There’s also Sling Blue, which has Fox and NBC channels instead of ESPN and Disney. It’s possible to purchase both packages for one discounted price of $40. Apart from the channels included in Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages, customers can also subscribe to other channels, including CBS, ABC, Fox, and NBC, for $5 per month. Gamers will be pleased to know that Sling TV also offers content from Maker Studios and their video gaming-oriented channel, Polaris+.
Sling TV wants to be a cost-effective subscription-based online service that nails down the basics, even if it means limiting the number of features. For starters, the integrated DVR can only pause and rewind programs. That being said, this could change very soon because Sling TV has recently rolled out a beta version of a cloud DVR functionality that would allow subscribers to record programs from selected channels.
Founded in 2007 and available in English, Japanese, Portuguese, and Korean, Hulu is an American subscription video-on-demand service primarily oriented towards television series. The name actually comes from Mandarin Chinese. In Mandarin, the word Hulu has two different meanings. The primary meaning is often translated as “the holder of precious things,” and the secondary meaning means “interactive recording.” According to Hulu, both meanings are relevant to their mission.
Hulu offers two plans, and the only difference between them is how many commercials viewers are exposed to. The most popular plan costs $7.99 per month, and Hulu promises to show only a limited number of commercials. The more expensive plan, which is meant for those who would like to avoid commercials entirely, costs $11.99 per month. Regardless of which plan appeals to you, you can try Hulu for free for 30 days.
Hulu is known for its amazing library of movies, TV shows, cartoons, and trailers. You can watch shows such as Nashville, Bones, The Bachelor, PowerPuff Girls, or Empire from channels like FOX, NBC, HBO, NBC, Disney, ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, PBS, FX, USA Network, and Miramax, just to name a few.
DirectTV Now is a subscription streaming television service owned by AT&T and launched in 2016. The service now has over 400,000, which is a considerable achievement given that it has been available only for a few months. The service works with TV-connected devices, such as Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices, modern web browsers, and Chromecast hardware.
DirectTV Now currently offers 4 subscription plans. The most affordable plan, Live a Little, includes over 60 channels for $35 per month. You get channels like Comedy Central, CNBC, BBC America, Animal Planet, Fox, Fox Sports 1, ESPN and ESPN2, Discovery, MTV, NBC, Spike, and many others. Those with a taste for more channels can pay anywhere from $50 per month all the way up to $70 per month for over 120 channels. All subscription packages, expect for the most affordable package, also include various regional sports networks.
Currently, the biggest limitation of DirectTV Now is the absence of DVR functionality. Because there’s no way how to automatically record your favorite TV shows, the only thing you can do is hope that they will eventually be available on demand again. But as far as live TV broadcasting goes, the experience is highly polished and all channels load extremely fast. If you’re content with watching whatever shows or movies are currently available when you decide to sit on the couch and relax, DirectTV Now could be the right service for you.
Designed with millennials in mind, Youtube TV is a new live TV service from Google, and it already shows a lot of promise. To many young people, the idea of physically connecting a TV to a dedicated cable box seems foreign, to say the least. Still, there’s something attractive about the large selection of curated programs that traditional cable services offer. Instead of searching for the right YouTube channel or a show, you can just turn on NBC, ESPN, Comedy Central, HBO, or any other network you like and relax.
To bring the cable experience to new generations, YouTube TV offers more than 40 networks, including CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, Fox Sports, and NBCSN, for $35 a month without a contract. Besides the initial lineup of networks, it’s also possible to purchase Showtime for $11 per month and Fox Soccer Plus for $15 per month. Some popular networks, like Discovery and Viacom, are missing, but we are sure that Google is working hard to fix these gaps as soon as possible.
Beyond the wide selection of networks, you also get unlimited cloud DVR storage and the ability to stream your TV across all screens. With YouTube TV, you can watch YouTube Red Original series, but you won’t be able to enjoy the same ad-free YouTube experience as you get with YouTube Red.