Which Online Streaming Service is the Best Deal?

Cutting the cord won’t save you any cash if you sign up for every streaming service. Check out this handy-dandy guide to see which one is best for you.

So you did it, you took the leap, grabbed your metaphorical pruning shears, and you cut the cable cord. We don’t blame you—cable costs are out of control, and when you only watch two or three channels, do you really need 200 of them to mindlessly flip through? We don’t think so.

Luckily, we live in an age when a cable package is not just completely unnecessary, it can even be a hindrance to your social life. Can you watch the latest Netflix original movie or that new critically-acclaimed Hulu series on your cable package? Because that’s what everyone’s gonna be talking about at the office tomorrow morning! If you want to stay on top of the latest jabber at the water cooler, you need to dive into the world of online streaming services.

But there are a LOT of options out there, and paying for all of them would cost you even more than a standard cable subscription. One or two should suffice, and if you need help choosing which ones to spice up your life, you need look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the top seven online streaming services so you can make an informed decision that works with your interests.


Netflix

Price:

  • $8/month for single screen streaming
  • $11/month for two-screen streaming
  • $14/month for 4K streaming on up to four screens

Best for:

Pretty much anyone. Netflix has a crazy variety of content: old movies and entire collections of network TV shows sit alongside Netflix Originals and even current primetime picks. In our opinion, if you’re aiming for one streaming service to rule them all, Netflix should be your go-to.

Hulu

Price:

  • $8/month for content with ads
  • $12/month for ad-free content
  • $40/month for live TV option

Best for:

Anyone who wants to stay up on their favorite network TV shows without having to pay for a cable package, and parents who want to get a few hours of peace and quiet before dinner. Hulu gets most NBC, ABC and Fox shows the day after they air, and with the live TV option, you won’t have to wait a full 24 hours to get your fix. Additionally, Hulu recently signed a deal with DreamWorks Animation, which means they’ll be getting their full catalog of animated features and developing a few new animated children’s TV series.

Amazon Prime

Price:

  • Free with $119/year Prime membership
  • $9/month for video-only subscription

Best for:

People who already have a Prime membership. While Amazon Prime does have an interesting selection of films and TV shows, including the newly acquired, former-SyFy cult favorite The Expanse, it’s not exactly bursting with hot content. If you use Amazon all the time to order stuff or buy eBooks or fly to Mars or whatever the heck Bezos is up to these days, this is a nice membership perk. It’s just not worth $9/month, in our humble opinion.

Sling TV

Price:

  • $20/month for Sling Orange
  • $25/month for Sling Blue
  • $40/month for both Sling Orange and Blue

Best for:

Anyone who’s sad about cutting the cord. Sling TV offers channels, not just shows, with the basic Orange package featuring access to 30 traditional channels and additional channel add-ons for between $5 (for network channels like ABC and NBC) and $10 (for premium channels like HBO and Showtime). Of course, at $40/month, your basic cable package might be a little cheaper.

ESPN+

Price:

  • $5/month (or $50/year) for basic service
  • Option to pay an additional $25/month each for full MLB.TV and NHL hockey seasons

Best for:

Sports fanatics and anyone in a long-distance relationship with their favorite teams. With an ESPN+ subscription, you can watch anything from cricket to basketball to good old college football. This is a good bet for the fan who wants to save money on cable but can’t live without their Sunday game days.

Pluto TV

Price:

  • THIS IS FREE, Y’ALL!!!!

Best for:

People who hate spending more time deciding what they want to watch than actually watching anything and just want to return to the simpler days where you could just turn on your TV, sit down, and watch whatever was on at that moment. Also, people who like, again, not paying any money for access to more than 75 live channels (including CNBC, Classic TV and new stuff from Cracked, The Onion, IGN, Tastemade, Popsugar and more!). Beware: there are ads—and lots of them. But again, it’s free!

PlayStation Vue

Price:

  • Between $40 and $75/month

Best for:

People who want cable but for some reason would rather buy it from PlayStation than a traditional cable provider? Listen, we’re not judging you or anything, but paying $75/month for cable is paying $75/month for cable. Just because you’re not buying it from Comcast doesn’t mean you’re saving money, and PlayStation Vue doesn’t even have every affiliate broadcast network or access to cable mainstays like MTV or Comedy Central. Do what you want with your money, but if you’re gonna buy this, you might want to rethink all of the choices in your life that have led to this point.

YouTube TV

Price:

  • $40/month

Best for:

Offering access to more than 50 different networks, including Bravo, FOX, Disney and (coming soon!) AMC, Youtube TV isn’t a bad bet for someone hoping to tighten their monthly budget without losing their favorite channels. Membership also includes access to YouTube Red, YouTube’s original content arm, so you’ll get street cred when you can say you watched all the up-and-coming shows before they were cool.

HBO Now

Price:

  • $15/month

Best for:

Prestige TV snobs who love waxing poetic about the “The Golden Age of Television” and spending hours digging through Reddit and reading Westworld and Game of Thrones fan theories. Is the Man in Black a Host? Is Emily alive? Is SHE a host or is she herself but in the future or is she— (Editor’s note: We had to cut about 10,000 words of Westworld fan theories here. If you want to get in on the action, definitely get yourself an HBO Now subscription.)

To read more about when to cut back versus when to pay up, check out these related posts and articles from OppLoans:

What are your favorite streaming services? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

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