Happy new year everyone! If you’ve ever attended one of our events, you’ll know that we come armed with a stack of information on how you can get your TV fix using netBlazr’s nothing but net service. It’s the first question on the mind of would be cord cutters, and as discontent with cable has begun to rise faster and faster each year, new companies and old flock to be the first answer to that question. So then, with the recent addition of Direct TV Now to our list of services, it’s time to offer you all an update of the current state of things regarding streaming services.
DirecTV NOW $35-70/month
DirecTV, AT&T’s TV service began its new streaming service at the end of last year. It offers a combination of the live channel streaming we’ve seen from Sling.TV and Playstation Vue recently, with the on-demand service we’ve become accustomed to with Netflix and Hulu. If you use AT&T for your cell phone service, then this is the service for you as you can stream DirecTV NOW with all of your devices without using any of your data. DirecTV NOW’s starter package is the most expensive of the basic packages among live channel streaming services at $35/month. For that you’ll get 60+ channels, including ESPN, FX, and Comedy Central. For $70/month you’ll get 120+ channels with two other levels in between. That’s quite expensive for a cable replacement service, and worse still, you won’t be able to watch the NFL on your mobile devices as Verizon owns those rights. If you’re an AT&T customer this seems to be the service for you, but if DVR and local channels are important to you: this may not be your solution.
Check out DirecTV NOW here
Playstation Vue $30-55/month
Vue has had enough time now to poke its head above the ground and see what people are looking for in a streaming service. The result of this is that since last time we checked, Vue has added some local channels. Most notably to our customer base, NESN, home of both the Red Sox and the Bruins has been added to Vue’s lineup. If you’re already a cord cutter, using the MLB or NHL’s streaming service with a VPN to watch your home town team, then you’ll know that this means the price to watch these teams just dropped significantly. On top of this, Vue is constantly expanding the devices it works on, most recently adding Apple TV. Meanwhile, Vue is currently the only live channel streaming service that offers a cloud-based DVR so if that’s important to you exit this summary and go and try their free 7 day trial now.
Check out Playstation Vue here
Sling TV $20-40/month
You want to cut the cord without breaking the bank? Sling TV’s still offering the best price. Put together, you could use netBlazr’s standard service ($39.95/month), Sling’s standard service ($20/month), and a mid ranged cell phone plan and pay less than $100 a month for the whole lot: that’s a lot of money saved. Sling is malleable as well and offers small ‘packs’ of channels geared toward different users for $5 each including Sports packages, and News packages: two of the main types of programming we normally find our customers are interested in viewing. It’s a smaller channel base though with the top package offering only 50+ channels and Sling’s mid-range option infuriatingly excludes ESPN which is offered by the entry level option. If you’re looking to save a buck but still be able to come home and throw on the television, this may be the service for you.
Check out Sling TV here
Let’s be honest. Your grandmother probably doesn’t just know about Netflix now, she probably watches one of the myriad Netflix Original series. It’s tough to analyze by just how much Netflix dominates the streaming on demand market (primarily because Amazon Prime has subscribers who just use the service to order birthday presents a day before the day), but we know it’s a lot. Netflix aren’t slouches though: while their content tends to come and go like Green Line trains, their original programming remains a popular range of content, with Stranger Things being a huge hit earlier this year as well as the return of cult hit Gilmore Girls. Nothing much has changed since last year, other than that you’ll now find it nearly anywhere you go travelling, but the easy to use interface remains. A must have for cord-cutters.
Check out Netflix here
If the CW was important to you, it’s time to look elsewhere as Hulu lost that channel this year. If not, then Hulu remains a great choice for network tv series. Hulu maintains a library of current cable network shows such as Brooklyn Nine Nine and with a limited amount of shows uploads brand new episodes the day after they air. Hulu is also offering a VR TV viewing experience that may be more accessible after Samsung gear VR in particular was heavily advertised over the holiday period. This is a great way to really immerse yourself in your favorite TV shows. You may be turned off though by the fact that you’ll be paying for a subscription and still being forced to watch commercials unless you pay more than Netflix’s base rate.
Check out Hulu here
Amazon Prime $99/year
The obvious benefit to prime is that you’ll be getting an incredibly useful service in Amazon Prime’s free 2 day shipping as well as a fairly well rounded streaming service. If that’s not something you’re interested in then this may all seem like the bundle deal you’re trying to avoid with streaming services. Amazon Prime’s streaming service is most notable for carrying The Man In High Castle and The Grand Tour, which will interest a lot of people. They, like Netflix, produce a lot of original television series, but due to their lack of newer programming, they have to lean on it a lot more. Still though, Amazon Prime maintains a wide selection of kid’s TV which will keep the kids happy without kids cable channels and recently, the service has become available month by month with free cancellation for $10.99/month.
Check out Amazon Prime here
Looking for a free alternative to Netflix? Crackle may be the best thing available right now. Take a look at the website and you’ll find cheesy titles you’d expect from a free service, but also respectable series such as Firefly as well as enough trashy movies to get you through any sleepy Sunday. The service even features original programming from creators such as Jerry Seinfeld. The content rotates frequently so if you see something you like, you’ll have to watch it, and there are a lot of commercials, but you take what you get with free services and you can get a lot from this service.
Check out Crackle here
Pluto.TV is a free service many people haven’t heard of, despite its unique linear programming interface that mimics a normal TV experience – 100s of channels that you can access at any time just by accessing the website or app. The shows and content on these channels are aggregated from different sources online like YouTube, Maker Studios, Funny or Die, and more – there’s even a channel dedicated to cat videos. You can access different channels using the channel guide as well as bookmark shows to watch again – sort of like DVR-lite. Pluto.TV has also has a deal with Hulu to bring content previously exclusive to that streaming platform over to Pluto.
Check out Pluto.TV here.
For those who spend more time in the library doing work and educating yourself than vegging out at home, there’s a streaming service just for you. Hoopla is a free streaming service for anyone with a library card. The movie and TV offerings aren’t the largest or most current selection available but since it’s a free service partnered with libraries, you’re bound to find something interesting to watch that you probably wouldn’t have discovered before. It also has an extensive audiobook and music selection, so if you’ve already watched a new movie like The Revenant using another subscription, you can now listen to the book it was based on for free.
Check out Hoopla here.