There was a time when dropping cable TV, or satellite TV, automatically meant you could save some money. All you had to do was subscribe to the Netflix streaming service and, $10 or so a month later, you could watch thousands of TV shows and movies.
But you’ve probably noticed that your TV streaming bill now rivals your old cable TV bill. You’re paying for more services than just Netflix these days, maybe including HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, Sling TV and others.
That could set you back hundreds of dollars a month. But we have good news.
All these new competitors to Netflix, including Disney’s upcoming streaming service Disney+, means you have more options for lower-cost streaming services and some of them will lure your business by offering lower prices than Netflix.
But for now, prices are all over the place. Some services like Netflix are raising prices and some services are lowering prices. Here’s an overview of prices of popular streaming services to help you save money each month while giving you plenty of TV shows to binge on and award-winning movies to watch in the comfort of your home.
Netflix has well over 100 million subscribers and rakes in billions of dollars in revenue each month. It’s super popular for a reason, with thousands of TV shows like “Friends,” blockbuster movies like “Black Panther” and acclaimed original content like the movie “Roma.”
In fact, it’s so popular that its past price hikes have had virtually no negative effect on its subscriber numbers. That seems to still be the case with its prices for new subscribers going up between 13% and 18%, according to CNBC, including its HD plan going up to $13 a month from $11 a month.
Prices: $8.99 for basic service, $12.99 HD, $15.99 4K.
Note: New subscribers can try for Netflix for free for 30 days.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon’s streaming service may be a bit under your radar, if you think of Amazon as only an online shopping site. There are loads of movies and TV shows on its Prime Video service, though, including the Emmy-winning sitcom, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Prices: You get Prime Video for free when you pay for your Prime membership, which also gives you free shipping on many purchases. You can watch it free for a month-long trial. On its own, it’s $8.99 a month after the trial.
Hulu is the pioneer in streaming, although you may not know it. The service is owned in part by Disney, NBC and Fox and launched more than a decade ago to stream their TV shows.
Now, it has 25 million subscribers but it has long been overshadowed by the far more popular Netflix. Still, you might be interested in subscribing for a few reasons, including popular original shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
It also offers a live-TV package that includes streaming, which is essentially a cable TV replacement for $45 a month. Hulu also recently lowered the prices of its monthly streaming service, which has ads.
Prices: $5.99 a month for streaming with ads and $12 without ads. It’s $44.99 for Hulu + Live TV.
“Game of Thrones.” Those may be the only words you need to hear to shell out about $15 a month for HBO’s streaming service.
But if you’re not a fan of dragons and lots of gore and nudity, you may want to subscribe for other shows and movies. That includes the Michael Jackson documentary, “Leaving Neverland.”
Price: $14.99 a month after a 30-day free trial.
Satellite TV service DirecTV had a really sweet deal for streaming customers, called DirecTV Now. It offered a few packages that were much better deals than what you get with the old school satellite dish mounted to your roof.
One of the best plans that it offered had over 100 channels for just $65 per month. It was actually pretty great. But that’s all gone now.
DirecTV Now recently made huge changes to what it offers, and it doesn’t compare to the great plans it previously had. Now, there are only two plans to choose from.
There’s the Plus package, which costs $50 per month and only comes with 40+ channels. Then there’s the Max package, which will run you $70 per month and comes with just 50+ channels.
Even worse, many of your favorite channels have disappeared in the new packages. Channels like AMC, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, MLB Network, MTV, NFL Network, NBA TV and many more are all gone.
The only way to keep those channels is if you had a DirecTV Now subscription from its old plans. Customers who have those are able to keep them, but at a $10 per month increase in price.
There was one good thing about the recent DirecTV Now changes. Both of the new plans come with HBO at no extra cost. The Max plan comes with HBO, and Cinemax.
Prices: DirecTV Now Plus: $50 per month for 40+ channels; DirecTV Now Max: $70 per month for 50+ channels.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access is for you if you love CBS shows, including originals like “Star Trek: Discovery,” soap opera “The Young and the Restless” and hit shows like “NCIS.” You can watch commercial free for about $10 a month.
Prices: $5.99 a month with limited commercials and $9.99 a month with no commercials.
Note: You can stream CBS’s 24-hour streaming news network, CBSN, for free on many streaming players.
SlingTV is best known for showing live TV networks like ESPN, HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and many others. It’s been around for years and is quite popular, but the company is perhaps a little panicked by all its new competitors.
SlingTV is cutting its prices by 40% for new subscribers for their first three months. Its basic plan is usually $25 a month and you can add on packages like Sports Extra for $5 a month.
Prices: 40% discount for a limited time, start at $15 and go up to $25 a month before add-ons.
Google’s upstart YouTubeTV is a cable TV replacement. It costs $40 a month for dozens of channels, including broadcast networks like ABC and cable networks like CNN, ESPN and FX.
Price: $40 a month after a 30-day free trial.