If you’re planning a move, chances are you’ve questioned whether it’s worth it to get cable TV at your new house—and that’s assuming you haven’t cut the cord already. Cutting cable is definitely something worth considering–streaming services are cheap, you don’t have to worry about what time your favorite show comes on, and you can watch shows anywhere–not just when you’re at home on the couch. If you have considered only using online streaming subscriptions like Netflix or Hulu Plus but aren’t sure which one(s) to choose, here are your best options. Moving pro tip: most of these services offer anywhere from a week to a month free, so test them out before, during, and after you move, and then make the final choice once you’re settled.
Let’s Hold Off on Bashing Cable for Just a Second…
In defense of cable, we should mention there are a few advantages that network television has over streaming services. If you’re a sports fan, chances are you’ll have a hard time beating cable TV. Sure, you can subscribe to SlingTV to get TNT and ESPN 1, but nothing even comes close to the breadth of sports channels you’ll get with cable–especially if your favorite sport is something besides NFL football. Another thing to keep in mind is that streaming services might not actually be cheaper than what you’re already paying. Sure, Netflix or Hulu will only cost you $8 or $9 per month, but many viewers that go the online streaming route don’t end up just getting one subscription. If you plan to stack multiple subscriptions and packages, maybe you should just pay for cable and get the unmatched selection that cable provides.
Let’s start with Sling TV. If you’re making the transition from cable, this is a good place to start, and probably the option that seems most familiar. Like cable, you have a bundle of channels that stream live according to the regular network channel schedule. Be warned that you will be getting a lot less variety, but you will still be getting 20 of the most popular channels including ESPN and ESPN 2, CNN, HGTV, TNT, the Food Network, and more for an easy $20 per month. You can also add extra bundles in categories like sports, kids, and hollywood for $5 each, and even add $HBO for $15 a month extra. You can check out a handy chart of all their offerings here.
Another good option that will be familiar for cable viewers. The big difference with HBO Now, of course, is that you’re just getting HBO offerings. You’ll get access to popular shows like Last Night Tonight with John Oliver, Silicon Valley, and of course Game of Thrones. You’ll also get a rotating list of recent movie blockbusters. The current list inclues Jurrassic World, Trainwreck, and Mad Max: Fury Road. At $14.99 a month, this is a great option for HBO fans, and a good add-on to other options.
What’s a list of streaming services without Netflix? We know you know the drill: all of your favorite shows–past and present, matched with a huge library of documentaries, plus an increasing list of Netflix originals including House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. Plus, you’ll get a solid selection of classic movies. If you haven’t already, try it for a month, or subscribe for $8.99 a month. You can also add a DVD-only option, starting at $4.99 a month.
Ah, Hulu Plus. Once the commercial-filled, underdog of a streaming service is now another respectable option. Like Netflix, you have your favorite shows, hit movies, and Hulu originals, but where Hulu really shines is the quick turnaround time for new episodes. Unlike Netflix, you can often expect to wait only 24 hours for new episodes to go from network television to Hulu. If you don’t want your friends to constantly bombard you with spoilers before you’ve seen the latest episode of your favorite show, Hulu is the way to go. Hulu is also unique in that it lets you choose between dealing with limited commercials for $7.99 a month, or going commercial free for $11.99 a month.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Finally, we come to Amazon Prime Instant Video. If you’re a true TV buff, you will find better selection with the likes of Netflix. There are a few good reasons to give Amazon a shot, though. For one, the price is hard to beat. At $99 a year, it’s a little cheaper than what a year of Netflix would cost you ($108), and for that price, you’ll still be getting all of the other goodies that come with Amazon Prime like free two day shipping–this is especially valuable if you are in the process of moving. Amazon Prime also has lots of great content for kids, so it’s a great option to keep the whole family entertained.
The Curated, All-in-One Service:
For the digital native that wants it all, there is Fan TV. Basically, Fan TV is a free service that aggregates all of the other streaming service offers and provides them in one place. Let’s say, for example, you want to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier. You would go to Fan TV, search the title, and then see all of the places that it is available. In addition to showing you online places that you can rent or buy the movie, it also gives you cast and plot information along with movie ratings and reviews from places like Rotten Tomatoes. You would then choose where you want to watch the movie, and be forwarded to that service. If you’re overwhelmed by all of the options available online, this is a great option to help you quickly find the TV shows and movie titles you are looking for. Plus, they have a fantastic app that gives you a true mobile-first viewing experience.