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TV lovers have more budget-friendly options these days than you may realize.
A growing number of streaming services offer TV channels and shows for much less than traditional pay-TV providers generally charge. Some streaming services — including all of the following — even offer live TV.
If you find the many options overwhelming, start by considering your situation.
For example, which TV channels can you not live without? Which features — such as the ability to record shows or watch on multiple screens at once — do you consider mandatory? Write them all down.
Now, you’re ready to identify and chose the streaming service that offers your must-haves at the right price.
To get you started, we’ve broken down the offerings of several services that start at $25 or less.
Philo is among the cheaper options for cutting the cable cord without giving up live TV.
It offers two subscription options:
- A 40-channel plan for $16 per month
- A 49-channel plan for $20 per month
To view the specific channels included in each plan, visit Philo’s home page and scroll down.
With either plan, you can watch live and on demand as well as record live TV. You can also stream from up to three devices at once.
Your options for fast-forwarding through commercials in recorded content will depend on what device you use to access Philo. To learn more about how fast-forwarding works on a particular device, click on “Help” in the bottom left corner of Philo’s home page and then select a device.
You can also click on “Help” to view the devices that Philo is compatible with.
2. Sling TV
This streaming service from Dish Network boasts more subscribers than its competitors, dubbing itself “the No. 1 live TV streaming service.”
In addition to live TV, on-demand content is available on many of the more than 150 channels that Sling TV offers.
Sling TV offers three base plans and multiple add-on options, giving you the ability to “customize” your channel lineup, as the service puts it.
The base plans are:
- Sling Orange: This $25 monthly plan includes a collection of channels and the ability to stream from one device at a time.
- Sling Blue: This $25 plan includes a different collection of channels and the ability to stream from three screens at a time.
- Sling Orange + Sling Blue: This $40 plan includes the channels in both plans and the ability to stream from four devices at a time.
To view the specific channels included in each plan, visit Sling TV’s home page.
Note that immediately below the channel lineups on the home page, you will see add-ons that Sling TV calls “Extras.” The options are many here.
One example: If you want the ability to record TV, you can pay an extra $5 a month for what Sling TV calls “Cloud DVR.” You’ll also be able to fast-forward through commercials.
Sling TV is available via a host of devices. To view them all, click on “See Ways to Watch” on Sling TV’s home page.
This longstanding streaming service boasts thousands of TV shows and movies.
Hulu also offers a dirt-cheap plan for folks who are willing to forgo live TV and watch only on demand.
Hulu’s two base plans are:
- Hulu on Demand: Until Jan. 3, 2019, this plan starts at $5.99 per month for the first year and $7.99 per month after that. It includes access to Hulu’s on-demand library of TV episodes and movies — “everything from TV classics to brand-new episodes from last night,” as Hulu describes it. You can watch on one screen at a time.
- Hulu with Live TV: This plan starts at $39.99 per month and includes access to Hulu’s on-demand library plus the ability to watch live and on-demand TV on more than 50 channels. At that price, you can watch on two screens at a time and record TV.
To see the channels you get with the latter plan, visit Hulu’s home page and click on the words “Learn More,” under the “Select Plan” button for Hulu with Live TV.
Like Sling TV, Hulu offers various add-on options. For example, if you pay an extra $14.99 per month for the Enhanced Cloud DVR, you’ll be able to fast-forward through the commercials in your live TV recordings, among other features.
For more information about the devices on which you can watch Hulu, visit its website.
4. CBS All Access
If CBS is among the channels you cannot live without, consider subscribing to subscribing to CBS All Access. It’s cheap enough that you can add it on top of other streaming services that you may subscribe to.
The two subscription plan options are:
- Limited Commercials Plan: This plan costs $5.99 per month via Amazon Prime. If you are not a Prime member, you can also subscribe via the CBS All Access website.
- Commercial Free Plan: This plan costs $9.99 per month via Amazon Prime. You can also subscribe via the CBS All Access website.
Both plans let you watch live TV and access CBS All Access shows on demand. That includes more than 10,000 episodes from current and past seasons and original content that is available exclusively to CBS All Access subscribers.
For more information about the shows available, visit Amazon Prime’s CBS All Access webpage or the CBS All Access website.
Do you have a favorite streaming service? Let us know which one and why by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.
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