Streaming video promised us a revolution of convenience and freedom from the burden of cable subscriptions. In many ways, it has delivered. We can watch movies with the click of a mouse and catch the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” right as it airs on cable television.
The downside is there is now a bewildering array of streaming services to contend with. We have Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, CBS All Access, Amazon Prime, and a host of other players. Even Disney will launch its own paid video service soon. Here’s how to handle all your subscriptions without driving yourself bonkers.
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Find what you want to watch
Perhaps the biggest frustration with juggling multiple services is simply finding the program you’re looking for. You could open up each individual streaming provider’s site or app and search for that movie you so desperately want to watch, but that’s a slow and unsatisfying way to track down your entertainment. Fortunately, Fan TV is here to help you try to sort it all out.
You can visit the Fan TV website or download the iOS or Android app (Apple, Free | Android, Free). If you search for “Game of Thrones,” Fan TV will deliver a listing showing the seasons and episodes and which streaming providers offer the show and for what price. It also suggests similar shows or movies in case you’re browsing for something new.
Fan TV isn’t the only option for searching through streaming archives across a whole host of different streaming-video services. You can also try out JustWatch. As with Fan TV, it will link you to where you can purchase or rent a show if it isn’t already included with one of your existing subscriptions.
Add up your subscriptions
You pay $10 for Netflix, $15 for HBO Now, $12 for Hulu, $99 per year for Amazon Prime, $9 for Starz, and another $9 for Showtime. So where are those big savings versus cable?
Adding up the cost of all your services can be a sobering reality check, especially if you’re looking to save money over a cable subscription. Which ones do you really spend time with? Which ones are expendable?
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Cancel unwatched services
Most streaming services enroll you in an automatic renewal program. It’s easy for those bills to get lost in your credit card statement.
Let’s say you subscribed to HBO Now just to watch the new season of “Game of Thrones.” If the show is done and there’s nothing else compelling enough to keep you using the HBO Now, then it’s time to cancel your subscription. You can always start back up again when the next season arrives. Set an alert on your calendar as a reminder to stop the auto-renewal when your favorite show wraps up.
With subscriptions available directly through television providers as well as through retailers like Amazon, it can be a little challenging to figure out where you need to go to cancel. Here are links and instructions on cancelling some of the most popular services:
Hulu also lets you put your account on hold for up to 12 weeks, which can be handy if you’re going to be away or if you’re just waiting for the new episodes of your favorite show to arrive. Just be aware that Hulu will automatically restart your subscription once the hold expires.
We can hold out hope that one day there will be a simpler approach to streaming video services, but in the meantime, you can at least track down your favorite shows and movies and try to stay on top of which subscriptions you keep active.
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