With a tidal wave of consumers moving away from traditional paid television programming in favor of cord cutting and major streaming media services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus gaining in popularity, television companies have had to take a fresh look at how they do business.
The result has been a positive change in the marketplace. Major content providers are now beginning to offer affordable a la carte streaming media services that may be good enough to become game changers for everyone.
Sling TV has not yet launched, but since the 2015 CES event, it’s all anyone can talk about because it has the one thing that prevents many potential cord cutters from making the break: ESPN and ESPN2. It has other great channels too including: Food Network, Travel Channel, ABC Family, CNN, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, Disney Channel, and HGTV, which should make it appealing to millennials, many of whom are used to scouring the internet for this type of content.
Video-On-Demand service will also be an option included with Sling TV that will be accessible through the Sling TV apps found on various streaming media devices.
Sling TV will not have a DVR function, however users will be able to look back 3 days to see programs they’ve missed. The service will cost users $20 per month, with no contract. Additional add-on packages for kids programming, news, and sports have been announced as well (and will likely run about $5/each per month).
The upside: Sling TV gives those on the fence about cord cutting a viable option for grabbing the sports programming they would miss by doing so, at a reasonable price.
The downside: Sling TV does cost $20 per month with additional charges possible, and will only provide you with the ability to stream its content to one screen at a time.
If you want to be notified of the Sling TV launch, go to their website and input your email to learn how to sign-up for the service.
HBO Go is currently available only to those who subscribe to HBO channel with their cable or satellite service, but the company has announced that it has plans to become available to everyone in Spring 2015.
The HBO Go app provides users with access to HBO movies, series, documentaries, late night adult, sports and comedy programming. The app is on multiple platforms including PCs, gaming systems, Fire TV and Roku streaming media devices and more.
It’s unknown at this time how much HBO Go service will cost per month when it goes ala carte. Currently it is free to those with a premium channel subscription to HBO through their cable or satellite provider.
HBO Go will be attractive to those who are considering cutting the cord with an HDTV digital antenna, but just can’t bear to lose out on their current HBO programming.
The Upside: HBO has incredible series offerings like Silicon Valley (my favorite…), Veep, The Newsroom, and True Detective, where previously unavailable in their current seasons without a HBO subscription as part of a cable or satellite package.
The Downside: The cost for the HBO Go stand alone service has not been announced, and some of the offerings can be obtained by other streaming media services you already subscribe to like Amazon Prime.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access is a good deal if you live in select markets where it’s available to stream live TV. Even if you don’t live in a place where live TV streams are available, you can view new TV episodes from CBS programs the next day with the service via the CBS app.
In addition to live TV offerings, CBS All Access has over 6,500 episodes from Primetime, Daytime, Late Night, and TV Classics (ad-free) are available On-Demand. Current shows like The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory are available right along side old favorites like The Brady Bunch and Melrose Place.
Two simultaneous streams can be used with one CBS All Access account at the same time, in two different locations. You can add a CBS app to various devices including Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, Kindle devices, Windows 8, and Blackberry. CBS All Access can also be watched on a PC or Mac by going to the CBS website.
The Upside: CBS All Access benefits include it’s low cost and free trial, with a lot of past and present content available for streaming. If it takes off, it’s likely to expand its live TV market coverage nationwide.
The Downside: Current limited availability of live TV markets makes this streaming media subscription service a less appealing option for some, as episodes of many CBS programs are available by other means.
Check out CBS All Access FAQs to learn even more of the specifics about this streaming media service.
Andrea Polk hails from Oregon and is a wife, mother, writer, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer, and more. She’s also the author of the Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV as well as the avid deal-seeker behind SavvySleuth.com, where she scours the web for the best online deals.