I have written several posts about the idea of whether or not cutting the cable (cord cutting) is actually worth it. With more and more companies venturing down this road, it’s important to assess the service you are getting, and what the cost is. My general argument has been that you need to be able to get at least what you’re getting through your cable subscription in order for it to be worth it. And in some cases, it isn’t. But with Hulu entering the ring, it makes you wonder whether or not they have what it takes to be a contender? So let’s assess.
Lets start with Sling TV. It’s part of Dish Network and starts at $20/month. Which sounds amazing, but only gives you access to about 30 channels. But it depends on what you want to watch. When I look at these types of offerings, I always like to consider things like sports. Sports is one of those things that you want to be able to watch live. So if you can’t get any sports, then maybe the package isn’t worth it. But in this case, you can. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 are all offered through this package. That, in my opinion makes it seem worth while.
There is a second Sling TV package that you can purchase, which is only $25, and it gives you 45 channels. What’s interesting about this is that in order to get the offerings from the $20 package, you need to purchase the $25 package in addition. Which doesn’t seem worth it to me. As far as sports go, you are getting FS1 and FS2, but is that worth the additional cost? There might be some channels in there that you can’t access anywhere else. But you also might be able to get those shows from a different platform. And if you combine the two packages, you’re actually only getting access to 50 channels. Which, in my opinion is pretty lame.
DirecTV Now might be a better option, as their base package starts at $35 a month and gives you 60+ channels. What is interesting to me is that the next package offers 80+ channels, so does the $35 package give you 70 channels? Or only 62? I like specifics, especially when I’m trying to compare apples to apples as best I can. As far as the price goes and the number of channels, this is a pretty sweet deal. But there aren’t as many platform options to choose from. So is that going to make it worth it for you?
As far as other options go, PS Vue has a 45 channel plan for $40. Which does give you access to ESPN and ESPN2. As well as many others that are available through some of these other providers. PS Vue seems to be one of the better options as it provides cable quality programming. PS Vue also is available on more platforms than the other options mentioned in this post. Mainly that it can be used on the Playstation platform in addition to your typical Chromecast, iOS and Amazon Fire etc.
So what does that mean for Hulu Live TV? Essentially, you can get 50 channels for $40. Including local channels and ESPN. But in addition, you’ll get access to all of Hulu’s original content. There is a caveat to that base price. If you want to eliminate commercials, you will need to add $4 per month, and if you want to DVR the live content, you’ll have to add another $15 per month. Which definitely begs the question of whether it’s worth it?
I still go back to the basic notion of dollars and cents. Can you get the channels or TV shows that you want within the price range that works for you? And for me, things like live and local TV options make or break some of these services as far as price goes. It might be fair to add in what type of platform these services can be provided on. But I think that is secondary in most cases. Is it about convenience of where you want to watch TV, or price in terms of cutting the cord?
In my opinion, we are still in the stage of costing it out. Is the cost of the service going to give you the value you want? I can see us being in a situation soon where we will be more demanding with platforms and looking to an even higher quality. But if the cost fits into your budget, then I think the answer is clear. At least for now.