Believe it or not, streaming TV services started way back in 2005. iTunes began offering select TV programs and series for download with direct payment. Through the next few years companies like Amazon (Amazon Unbox), Netflix, and Hulu came along. Apple TV and the first generation Roku were released in 2007/08. By 2010 the major cable companies began feeling the pressure from consumers about the availability and pricing of cable vs. streaming.
By about 2016 all these new services were availble and many began offering live TV ability. YouTube Live, Hulu Live. DirectTV Now,PlayStattion Vue,Sling TV all started offering Live TV… but not all are created equal.
Below we will look into each of these and give you the pros and cons of each.
Hulu with Live TV
The starting price for Hulu with Live TV is $40 per month. You can add enhanced DVR and multi-stream plans for an additional price. This plan includes Hulu’s massive on-demand library, but misses out on networks like AMC, Comedy Central, Discovery, MTV, NFL Network, and Nickelodeon. The other downside is the interface. It is very bare-bones and can be extremely confusing to use at times.
The starting price for DirectTV Now is $40 but you can add more channels for $55,$65, and $75 a month. DirectTV Now has an A-Level list of channel and the online guide is almost like a TV interface. The downside is the DVR limitations. You can even get deals from AT&T Wireless.
The starting price is at $45, but can be upgraded to bigger packages($50,$60,$80). PlayStation Vue is the slickest of all the major streaming TV providers with an easy to use interface , unlimited DVR storage, and the ability to skip commercials in any show. The downside being that it has fewer channels than the Big 5 streaming providers and local coverage is extremely lacking.
Starting price at $25 up to $40 with several add-ons. This is a relativity cheap options but depending on the plan you could be missing Fox, CBS, NBC, USA, ABC.Another downside is the lack of local coverage. Many subscribers supplement this with having an external antennae.
YouTube TV starts at $40 per month. It includes all local channels and has a very intuitive interface. You get an cloud based DVR with unlimited storage,. The downside being it’s only available in 99 US markets at this time… but its one price for everything.
There’s many possibilities that you can get from any of these services. The main thing is to really look at each one and what they have in their On-Demand Libraries, what is their Live TV Channel Line-Up, what is it going to cost when you upgrade your plan or have add-ons. The other major issues is to make you have a quality internet connection. You can find your perfect streaming service, but if it buffers every few minutes, you are just wasting money.
Contact David Higgins at DavidHiggins@southernmarylandchronicle.com