Hulu has, very regrettably, alerted users that its Live TV plans are spiking $10 per month beginning December 18. That means that its ad-supported Hulu + Live TV package is now going to run $55 per month—an additional $120 per year. That’s a very real chunk of change for cord-cutters on a budget.
The news comes as another streaming service, AT&T TV Now, is also getting a price adjustment. The company said last month that its Plus package, its most basic, would soon be hiked by $15 to $65 per month beginning this month (its premium plan that includes HBO and Cinemax will jump $10 to $80). Both services saw price hikes earlier this year, and Gizmodo readers and subscribers on social media have expressed that this latest price increase may be the last straw.
Where live TV streaming services are concerned, there are alternatives—but other services may not give you everything you’ve come to love from your Hulu + Live TV or AT&T TV Now package. If you subscribe to Hulu’s plan primarily to have live TV as well as Hulu originals, for example, you may have to consider whether to shell out more cash or possibly subscribe to ad-supported Hulu alone ($6) during the months when those originals are airing. The same applies to HBO access with AT&T TV Now. But if you’re not married to either service, and the price is really the biggest factor in determining your subscription service, you do have some options.
Sling TV is a solid, budget-friendly option for live and on-demand streaming that allows for a lot of customization. The service offers two basic plan options: Sling Orange (which includes, for example, ESPN and Disney) and Sling Blue (which comes with FX channels, E!, and Syfy), both for $25. If you’d like a combination of both plans, the service also offers and Orange & Blue plan for $40 per month. Right now, all three are on sale at 40 percent off of the first month’s base price.
One of the neat things about Sling is the ability to add on channel packages for between $5 and $10 per month for each plan, including categories in sports, kids, news, lifestyle, film, and comedy. Premium services like Showtime and Starz, among others, can be tacked on as well. Think of Sling as the build-your-own-bundle service, with customization options based on the kinds of entertainment that you most enjoy.
Sling can stream on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku devices, NVIDIA Shield (Chromecast excluded), and many Samsung TVs, LG, Android TV, Fire TV, and Roku TV models.
YouTube TV, arguably among the most convenient options on this list, is another live an on-demand option with offering both live and on-demand perks. The service will run you $50 per month and offers live TV from more than 70 channels (including regional and local broadcasts), three simultaneous streams and up to six user accounts, personalized watch recommendations, and unlimited DVR storage space for recordings that’ll be stored on your account for 9 months. Premium channels like Starz and Showtime can be added on for around $10 per month extra.
While just $5 less than the new ad-supported Hulu + Live TV plan, the price includes features you’ll pay additional fees for on other services, such as unlimited DVR storage space. In most cases, you can also fast forward through ads in recorded content as well as after pausing a live TV broadcast (Hulu charges an additional fee to go ad-free with its Live TV package). Plus, YouTube TV is available to stream pretty much everywhere—including on your computer, phone, tablet, console, or television—making it one of the best options for convenience and streaming on the go.
If variety is important to you, fuboTV recently landed on our best streaming services list for live sports—but the service has plenty more to offer. The service offers around 100 channels with its most basic, $55-per-month plan, which dwarfs Hulu’s live television offerings by a longshot for the same price. And while the basic plan offers more variety for sports than some of the other services on this list, there’s still plenty to watch in entertainment, news, lifestyle, and kids programming as well.
The service’s standard plan offers 30 hours of DVR space and simultaneous streams on up to two devices. Premium channels are included in its more expensive plans, which (depending on its promos) can add tack an additional $5 to $25 to your monthly cost. The fuboTV app is available for Android, iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Roku devices.
CBS All Access
Picking and choosing several à la carte services may be a better option for viewers who are already paying for on-demand viewing on other services, such as Disney+, Netflix, or Apple TV+. If that’s the case, CBS All Access offers live TV in addition to more than 10,000 episodes across its various series—including NCIS, Big Brother, Blue Bloods, and Survivor—in addition to its originals like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek: Picard.
After a free seven-day trial, the service is available either ad-supported for $6 per month or commercial-free for $10 per month (discounted annual plans are also available). CBS All Access can be streamed on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, PS4, Roku, Samsung, Vizio, and Xbox devices.
Pluto TV is the ultimate budget-friendly option because it’ll cost you nothing. Nada. It’s a free streaming service that you can access on the web or through apps for desktop (Microsoft and Mac), mobile (iOS and Android). It’s also available to stream on various smart TVs and streaming devices.
Pluto offers both live TV and on-demand viewing options. Its on-demand options are not exactly top-tier when compared to some other free streaming services. But you’ll likely find something to watch if you’re not terribly picky and don’t mind ads, which can be a little disruptive. You’re going to get a ton of options for live TV viewing, though, with top-name channels across entertainment, sports, comedy, lifestyle, music, and kids content. Even if this isn’t your regular go-to service, it’s hard to beat free.