Streaming on a Budget: How to Get a Full TV Package for As Little as $22/Month
So you want to cut the cord, cancel your cable and stream all your shows, yet no single service offers everything and paying for multiple platforms can add up. We’ve bundled some sites that, when combined, give the most bang for your buck. But first, you’ll need to buy a set-top box to stream shows through (unless you have a smart TV). Our favorites include the Amazon Fire Stick (for its speed and a voice control remote, $40) and Roku’s lineup of devices (for their ease of use and durability, $30–$110). Once you’ve got the hardware, here’s how to spend your money.
Up To $22
If you’re a novice streamer, go simple with Hulu, CBS All Access and Netflix —which, together, have offerings from all five broadcast networks plus some online-only series. Hulu makes primetime shows from ABC, Fox, NBC and The CW available the day after they air. CBS All Access adds that network’s programs, plus their internet-only originals like The Good Fight and the upcoming Star Trek reboot. Streaming giant Netflix puts out the most—and most heralded—original content (like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, below) and movies.
CBS All Access: $6/month
Up To $39
Now that you have access to all the broadcast networks and many of streaming’s top shows, add Amazon Prime for award-winning original series like Transparent and Catastrophe. Prime also offers a growing collection of contemporary British shows from PBS’s Masterpiece (including full seasons of Poldark, above). Real Anglophiles can get even more by adding Amazon’s PBS Masterpiece channel.
Amazon Prime: $11/month
PBS Masterpiece add-on: $6/month
Up To $76
If you really want the cable experience, also sign up for DirecTV Now’s “Live a Little” package and get Bravo, TCM, TBS, Lifetime, HGTV and a whole lot more, live and on demand. Then select premium channels like HBO (and catch Game of Thrones, below) and Cinemax for an added fee. With this package, you don’t need to keep your Hulu subscription (there’s a lot of overlap), unless you want the site’s originals.
DirecTV Now: $35/month
HBO add-on: $5/month
Cinemax add-on: $5/month