Television streaming is heating up in a big way. PlayStation Vue has opened up for the entire country, and Sling TV is adding new stations all the time. This, coupled with Hulu and YouTube announcing their own streaming services for 2017, will allow would-be cord cutters to have more choices than ever dreamed possible just a year ago. However, the pricing of these packages could leave one wondering if dropping their cable or satellite package in favor of television streaming is cutting the cord after all.
When comparing television streaming to more traditional forms of entertainment viewing, it is important to take a look at where cable and satellite providers sit as opposed to cost to the consumer. Both Dish Network and DirecTV are offering packages that include well over 100 channels and a two-year price guarantee. The choice to go to the two-year price guarantee seems to be satellite’s answer television streaming services that don’t have contracts.
When examining America’s number one cable provider Cox Communications, the price can be comparable to television streaming. They do have a lower-tier package than what satellite providers currently offer. However, this package doesn’t come close to offering what either satellite or television streaming offers in terms of family or sports programming. On the surface, television streaming is a viable option, but is it really considered to be cutting the cord?
Sling TV could be considered the pioneer of television streaming. Dish Network surprised everyone at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with the offering. According to Dish CEO Joe Clayton, Dish Network saw Sling TV as a “launch of a new industry.” While it may not have been the original intent, it is having a direct effect on the business today.
Sling TV packages start at $20 per month. This gives you the choice of a Disney package complete with Disney, ESPN, and ESPN 2. If ESPN or Disney doesn’t concern the consumer, they also have the opportunity to choose a $20 per month package that is based heavily around the Fox family of networks. However, Fox News is not part of that package.
Where consumers may find concern with Sling is in the relatively low choice of channels and the extra add-on content. The Fox lineup gives just over 30 channels, and the Disney version gives just 26 choices. If you want to add any stations, it can cost between $5 and $15 per month. This can add up fast.
Sony tested their television streaming service, PlayStation Vue, in a handful of markets prior to a full launch this past Spring. PlayStation Vue takes a more traditional approach to the packages it is providing for those looking to cut the cord. Generally, you can expect to pay an additional $10 more per month than you would with Sling TV, but the offering seems to be somewhat more robust.
Currently, the lowest-tier of Playstation Vue runs $30 per month in my area (keep in mind pricing is based on zip code). The package provides more than 55 stations, including Disney and Fox.
A major question that consumers need to ask themselves is at what point do the television streaming options just become a replacement for satellite and cable providers? It’s not known what Hulu’s streaming service will include or be priced at. However, preliminary indications put it at or around $40 per month. This dollar value is not a lot more than what DirecTV and Dish Network are currently offering, with a great deal more stations to choose from.
Are you currently considering cutting the cord? Which television streaming survivor would you choose?
[Image via Shutterstock/Alexey Rotanov]