If you are tired of your Cable or Satellite TV service, the best time to cut the cord is now. Streaming services are on the rise. Furthermore, they are proving to be a more practical solution for viewers. This is for reasons such as lower prices, how simple it is to setup, and the ease of cancelling existing contracts. Since 2015, Streaming TV services have steadily improved their offering and quality. They have also come up with creative additions like Cloud DVR that have given them an edge over their satellite and cable counterparts.
At only a fraction of the traditional cable and satellite TV services prices, you can choose from a broad pool of streaming service options. The top four are Hulu, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV. Each one of them offers a unique viewing experience targeted at a different audience. To identify your ideal option, you have to read the fine print. This helps to identify the service that will meet your viewing needs and preferences.
Features Round Up
Each service appeals to a particular customer base and offers different channels at different prices. This quick features round up will help you get a better perspective on what the four streaming services have to offer in a nutshell.
|Hulu with Live TV||YouTube TV||PlayStation Vue||Sling TV|
|Base Price (per month)||$40||$40||$40||$20|
|Number of channels (in the entry level package)||Over 50||Over 50 including YouTube Red Channels||Over 45||29|
|Cloud DVR||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (at $5 extra)|
|Streaming Devices Supported||Amazon Fire (TV and Stick) Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, iOS, Computers, Roku, Nintendo, Xbox 360, and Xbox One||Smart TVs (LG and Samsung) Android, Chromecast, Xbox One, iOS, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku||Computers, PS4, PS3, iOS, Roku,Amazon Fire, Android, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Chromecast,||Smart TVs (specific Samsung models), Amazon Fire, Roku, Apple TV, Android, iOS, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Chromecast, Computers.|
|Number of Simultaneous Streams.||2||Up to 6 on different devices||5||1 (in the $20 per month package)|
3 (in the $25 per month package)
4 (in the $40 per month package)
A key feature to consider when looking around for the best TV streaming service is their package prices. Each of the four has a different base price. This is meant to appeal to different users. For Sling TV, the cheapest Package comes in at $20 per month which covers 29 channels. Users are able to add a variety of add-ons to their package with prices ranging from $5 to $15 per add-on.
Hulu, YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue all start at $40. However, Hulu has a more comprehensive offer. It comprises of 55 channels with add-on channels ranging from $9 to $15 a month. You also get a free 30 day trial which is the longest among the four services.
With Vue, the offer depends on the package you pick. The base price starts at a $30 package for close to 50 channels. New subscribers can take advantage of the 14-day trial and the package includes ABC, FOX, NBC, and CBS. But, these are only available in selected cities.
The base prices for the various services are not wide apart. However, the ability to add on specific channels to the package makes Hulu, Sling, and Vue top contenders. But, Vue charges almost double the price per add-on compared to the other two. This means that Hulu and Sling are able to not only offer you more channels for less money, but to also charge less for the add-ons.
+1 for Hulu
+1 for Sling
YouTube TV offers the best in live streams for some of the biggest broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and The CW. Hulu and PS Vue also offer the same channels with the exception of The CW. The only catch is, with PS Vue, the broadcast channels available depending on the package you are paying for.
With Sling TV you can enjoy live streams of FOX and NBC with the basic package. For cord cutters worried about losing their network TV channels, the best option is YouTube TV. Hulu is also a worthy consideration if you don’t mind doing away with The CW but, YouTube TV has the wider and more comprehensive coverage in this regard.
+1 for YouTube TV
+1 for Hulu
What keeps most sports enthusiasts from making the switch to streaming services is the limited selection of live sports broadcasts. Most services have come a long way and appreciate the demand and loyal viewership of live sporting events.
Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling, and Vue all have a rich offering of live sporting channels which include ESPN, ESPN 2, and 3, ESPN News, FOX Sports, FS2, FS1, and NBC golf among others. YouTube TV goes a step further to cover the nationally televised games of the NBA, the NBA All-Star weekend, playoff games, UEFA soccer, and the PGA.
Hulu, Live TV, and YouTube TV also offer CBS Sports which is not covered by any of the other streaming services which gives them an absolute edge. This is with regards to appealing to the live sports market.
+1 for YouTube TV
+1 For Hulu
DVR and on-Demand
The greatest strength that YouTube TV has to offer is the unlimited amount of cloud based DVR service storage at no extra cost. None of the other competitors have been able to match this offer. You are able to record all your shows and enjoy on-demand content although the latter is only available for selected shows and previously aired programming.
Hulu also offers a Cloud DVR service but it is limited to only 50 hours of content. However you can upgrade that to 200 hours at $15. With Sling, you will have to part with an extra $5 to enjoy their Cloud DVR service.
PlayStation’s Vue, is quite short-handed on this aspect. Users can only add the programs to “My Shows” list. Once added, the programs are available for varying periods capped at 28 days from the day of airing. Vue notes that this is “Due to streaming rights.”
Without a question, Vue does not score any points on this, but YouTube TV hits a homerun with unlimited storage space and limited on-demand access.
+1 YouTube TV
Supported Streaming Devices
There are some streaming devices that are supported by almost all the services. On the other hand, a number are supported by some and not others.
|Hulu with Live TV||Sling TV||PlayStation Vue||YouTube TV|
|Supported Streaming Devices||Amazon Fire (TV and Stick) Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, iOS, Computers, Roku, Nintendo, Xbox 360, and Xbox One||Smart TVs (specific Samsung models), Amazon Fire, Roku, Apple TV, Android, iOS, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Chromecast, Computers.||Computers, PS4, PS3, iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire, Android, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Chromecast,||Smart TVs (LG and Samsung) Android, Chromecast, Xbox One, iOS, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku|
All of the main streaming devices like Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, and Roku are supported by all the streaming services. Streaming via computers is supported by YouTube TV, Sling and Hulu. YouTube TV and Sling go a step further to also support select brands and models of smart TVs like LG and Samsung. As much as the PlayStation’s Vue has a decent number of supported streaming devices, it leaves out Apple TV users and does not support Xbox either.
+1 for Sling
+1 YouTube TV
Pros and Cons of Each Streaming Service
|YouTube TV||· Unlimited cloud DVR storage at no extra cost|
· Up to 6 simultaneous streams on different devices
· Includes most Broadcast and live sports channels
· Extremely easy to use
· No package tiers
|· No 4K programming|
· Does not work with Amazon Fire Stick
· Does not have popular channels like the weather channel
|Hulu with Live TV||· Comprehensive content offering featuring broadcast and Live sports channels|
· Affordable basic packages with 55 channels available
· Has the Longest trial period (30 days)
|· Limited cloud DVR storage (50 hours)|
· Has lots of commercials
· Tiered packages with pricier add-ons
|Sling TV||· Cloud DVR storage can be extended to 200 hours.|
· Cheapest Basic package
· Allows up to 3 concurrent streams on the $40 a month package.
|· Cloud DVR service is offered at an extra cost|
|PlayStation Vue||· Allows up to 5 concurrent streams|
· Super viewing quality
· Easy to maneuver interface
|· No cloud DVR storage to store your favorite shows|
· Complex and costly packaging
TV streaming is the future of entertainment. It is affordable and easy to access and install. At the moment, these are some of the most popular and commonly used streaming services. As the prices and channels available suggest, there is already fierce competition for the biggest market share. That makes choosing the right service for you even more difficult.
Some of the aspects to consider include the price per package, number of channels, selection of channels available, supported devices, and how many simultaneous streams the streaming service offers. It is expected that the preference of each of these factors will differ from one person to the next. This is what you should ultimately use to pick the service that is best tailored to meet your needs.