TV lovers have more budget-friendly options these days than they 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 the following — even offer live TV.
If you find the many options overwhelming, start by considering your situation.
For example, which TV channels could 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 choose 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 a 58-channel subscription for $20 per month.
To view the list of channels, visit Philo’s home page and scroll down.
This plan allows you to watch live and on-demand content as well as record live TV. You can also stream from up to three devices at once.
To see all the devices compatible with Philo, click on “What do I need to watch Philo?” in the Questions and Answers Section of Philo’s home page.
Your options for fast-forwarding through commercials in recorded content will depend on which 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 visit Philo’s home page and then select a device.
Philo is currently offering a seven-day free trial period.
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 — including ESPN and Disney — and the ability to stream from one device at a time. Now, for a limited time, Sling is offering the first month on this plan for just $15.
- Sling Blue: This $25 plan includes different channels — no ESPN or Disney, for instance, but BBC and National Geographic — and the ability to stream from three screens at a time. Now, for a limited time, Sling is offering this plan at $15 for the first month.
- Sling Orange + Sling Blue: This $40 per month plan includes the channels in both plans and the ability to stream from four devices at a time. For a limited time, Sling is offering the first month on this plan at $25.
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, including “a la carte” channels — such as sports channels for $10 a month, comedy channels for $5 a month and the ability to record TV on a feature called “Cloud DVR” for $5 a month. Sling offers a lot of ways to mix and match to get the programming and features that you prefer on a host of devices.
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 programming on demand.
Hulu’s two base plans are:
- Hulu: For this plan, get the first month free and then pay $5.99 per month. 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 + Live TV: Get seven days free, then pay $44.99 per month for this plan, which includes access to Hulu’s on-demand library plus the ability to watch live and on-demand TV on more than 50 channels. For that price, you can watch on two screens at a time and record live TV.
Like Sling TV, Hulu offers various add-on options. For example, with Hulu + Live TV, you get 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage, but if you pay an extra $9.99 per month for Enhanced Cloud DVR, you’ll get 200 hours of storage and be able to fast-forward through recorded content including commercials, among other features.
For all the details on plans and programs, and information about devices on which you can watch Hulu, go to Hulu’s Intro page and then click on the “Hulu” logo in the upper left-hand corner of the page.
If the CBS commercial broadcast network is among the channels you cannot live without, consider 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: Until July 28, if you sign up through Amazon Prime, this plan costs just $2.99 a month for the first three months, and then $5.99 per month. If you are not a Prime member, you can subscribe via the CBS All Access website, which has a slightly different offer — the first week free, and $5.99 a month after that.
- Commercial-Free Plan: Through July 28, if you sign up with Amazon Prime, this plan costs just $4.99 a month for the first three months, then $9.99 per month. The CBS All Access website is offering the first week free, and charging $9.99 per month thereafter.
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.
Do you have a favorite streaming service? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
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