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The case for combining live TV streaming services

Of the entire assaults on cord-cutting that we’ve heard over time, the most typical is what I name the “gee whiz” argument: The concept for those who subscribe to a number of streaming video products and services, then gee whiz, the price of all the ones subscriptions in point of fact provides up. This obtrusive level is mechanically introduced as an epiphany by way of cord-cutting naysayers, none of whom appear to understand that having the ability to pick out and make a selection is all the level of ditching cable.

This week, on the other hand, I’d love to argue in choose of letting issues upload up. Given what we all know in regards to the reasonable value of conventional pay TV carrier—it’s about $100 per thirty days for TV by myself, in step with Leichtman Analysis Workforce and my very own exam of FCC information—cord-cutters incessantly have quite a lot of wiggle room to stack up streaming products and services and nonetheless get monetary savings.

If truth be told, you could even be capable to mix more than one are living TV bundles for extra entire protection and nonetheless pop out forward of cable, even while you’re paying for one of the vital similar channels two times.

Prompt pairings

Take a look at the channel lineups for are living TV streaming products and services, and also you’ll realize that sure products and services can fill within the gaps in others.

With YouTube TV, for example, you gained’t get channels from Viacom (comparable to Comedy Central and Nickelodeon), Scripps Networks (comparable to HGTV and Meals Community), Discovery, or A&E. And with Hulu’s are living TV carrier, you gained’t get channels from Viacom or AMC. (Discovery channels are these days lacking as neatly, however Hulu plans so as to add 5 of them in December.)

Maximum of the ones channels are to be had thru skinnier are living TV products and services. Philo comprises maximum channels from Viacom, Scripps, Discovery, and A&E for $16 per thirty days to $20 per thirty days. AT&T Watch additionally gives channels from the ones networks—although no longer as many—for $15 per thirty days, along side a couple of distinctive ones just like the Hallmark Channel. And when you’ve got one in all AT&T’s “Limitless &Extra” wi-fi information plans, you’ll be able to get the Watch carrier without cost.

Beneath is a chart appearing how those 4 bundles overlap, along side the minimal value of each and every package deal for the channel in query:

huluyoutubeskinny Jared Newman / IDG

Each YouTube TV and Hulu with Reside TV value $40 per thirty days, so you’ll want to mix both carrier with Philo or AT&T Look ahead to lower than $60 per thirty days—a long way lower than the typical $100-per-month cable invoice.

Granted, you’ll be able to get most of the similar channels thru DirecTV Now, and you’d pay about the same price without having to switch between multiple apps, but channel lineups aren’t the only reason to pick one bundle over another. Both YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV both offer slicker interfaces and additional perks, such as YouTube’s Originals and Hulu’s vast on-demand catalog.

Those aren’t the only cases where you could mix and match, either. If you enjoy PlayStation Vue for its NFL Redzone coverage and unlimited 28-day DVR, but have been missing Viacom channels since Sony dropped the network’s programming in late 2016, Philo and AT&T Watch present a way to add them back. And while you might subscribe to FuboTV ($45 per month) for its extensive soccer coverage, tacking on a Sling TV Orange subscription ($25 per month) would allow you to keep getting ESPN and Disney channels, while still paying far less than $100 per month for TV.

Why mixing and matching makes sense

The standard cord-cutting disclaimer still applies here: What I’m describing might not work for everyone.

Jumping between different apps to access all your TV channels is somewhat of a hassle, as is dealing with different policies on DVR and ad-skipping. Hulu, for instance, will store 40 hours of recordings indefinitely, while Philo stores unlimited programs for 30 days. YouTube TV will store unlimited programs for nine months, but often prevents you from skipping ads. AT&T Watch doesn’t offer DVR at all.

It’s also possible that your internet provider is giving you a big discount on TV service, wiping out your potential cord-cutting savings. USA Today’s Jefferson Graham, for instance, recently wrote that Frontier Communications is only charging him an extra $40 for TV. Good for him, and good for you if you’re getting a similar deal after factoring in all of cable’s sneaky fees and equipment rental costs.

But in talking to prospective cord-cutters over the years, I’ve heard plenty of counter-examples in which TV alone costs well over $100 per month. Besides, the data we’ve seen on average bills backs up the notion that if you’re spending less money with traditional TV, you’re an outlier. In most cases, streaming TV services are a better deal because there are no cable box rental fees, fewer channels overall, and slim-to-negative profit margins for providers amid fierce competition.

The result is a strange situation where even a couple of live TV streaming services can be cheaper than a single cable bundle. Want to mix YouTube TV with Philo, or Hulu’s live TV service with AT&T Watch? Don’t let anyone discourage you, even if the costs do add up.

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