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TV & streaming

Live TV streaming service hikes prices 30% – we compare all the options

Cord-cutting is more than just a trend these days — it’s the norm. The prevalence of streaming has led to a drastic decline in traditional cable subscriptions, and streaming services with live TV have only deepened the blow.

YouTube TV initially got high marks from fans and critics for its relatively cheap entry price and wide range of channels to choose from. Tap or click here to see what YouTube TV started off with.

But those rates (and channel choices) weren’t meant to last forever. YouTube TV has just announced that users are getting a wide swathe of new channels to enjoy — but there’s a catch: A 30% price hike! And to make matters worse, there’s no way to opt out.

YouTube says “Go ahead and quit. You’ll be back.”

In a new announcement posted to the Google Blog, YouTube revealed it would be adding a slew of new channels from the CBS/Viacom family of networks. But these extra choices don’t come cheap, and effective immediately, the platform announced a mandatory price hike of 30% — taking the entry price from $50 to $65 per month. That’s $15 more!

But let’s say you don’t want to explore any new channels, and that you’re happy with your existing selection. Well, that’s too bad — because YouTube isn’t even giving you a way to opt out. In a rather cheeky gesture, YouTube TV VP Christian Oestlien directs users to this website to pause or cancel their service right after mentioning the price hike.

As unfortunate as this news is, however, YouTube isn’t alone in terms of price hikes. AT&T TV and DirecTV are both seeing a $10 increase in monthly rates this week. And unlike YouTube, these platforms aren’t getting any extra channels to show for it.

I’m tired of getting ripped off! What other options do I have for internet-TV?

There are plenty of options still out there for those of us that want to get live TV without the premium price. Here are just a few selections to choose from that combine a large number of channels, features and services with a reasonable monthly rate:

  • Hulu Plus Live TV: Hulu’s very own entry in the Live TV game is a whole $10 cheaper than YouTube TV, and gives you plenty of channels to choose from — more than 60, to be precise. Plus, you can test the whole service out with a free trial and enjoy your live streaming on up to two different TVs in your home.
  • Sling TV: One of the cheapest options around at just $30 per month, Sling gives you around 30 channels to choose from, as well as many local channels. Fox and NBC, however, are only available in select cities.
  • AT&T Now: Not to be confused with AT&T TV or DirecTV, AT&T Now is another streaming service operated by the telecom giant that hasn’t seen a price hike just yet. For $55 monthly, you get access to more than 45 major channels and a cloud-based DVR with 50-hours of storage. It’s a great way to keep up with your favorite shows without falling behind.
  • Philo: A relative newcomer to the internet TV business, Philo offers great value by combining a large selection of channels (59 in total) for just $20 a month. You also get unlimited cloud DVR space to store all your recordings. The tradeoff: Philo emphasizes entertainment networks over sports and news in its channel selection.
  • PlutoTV: Unlike other options on this list, this one is absolutely free to use. You have access to content from hundreds of channels, which means you shouldn’t have too hard of a time finding something entertaining to watch. However, you can’t watch specific channels as you would with normal TV. Instead, PlutoTV curates the content in advance, but you do get a handy guide to show you what’s coming up over the next three-and-a-half hours.

Of course, if you’re looking for more than just live TV, there are even more plentiful options to pick from. You won’t believe how deep the Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video rabbit holes go. Tap or click here to see our picks for the best streaming services.

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