Overwhelmed by streaming? How to choose the right channels for you

With so many options out there, deciding on which service to stream has become confusing for many. Cutting the cord and moving to streaming once sounded pretty easy, but with so many services and options available, it can get confusing very quickly. Twelve dollars here, $8 there, and suddenly – surprise! – your streaming bills are now more than what you spent in the old days of cable.

According to a J.D. Powers survey earlier this year, American households subscribe to an average of 4 streaming services. If you find yourself with more streaming than you want, and rising costs that are stressing your bills, here’s a quick guide to help you streamline by getting rid of overlap and still get what you want.

Check for overlap…

If you want to lower your streaming bills, check for overlap. You might be paying for the same service twice. For instance, check with your existing cell phone plans to see what they provide. Many companies offer access to services as part of your contract, depending on the level of service you are paying for. For example, some Verizon customers get Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for free. Some T-Mobile customers can get access to Netflix, and some AT&T customers get access to HBO Max. It’s worth it to ask, you might be paying double and not even knowing it!

Another way to check for overlap is to look at any subscriptions you have for one single channel that might be covered by a larger service such as Hulu, Peacock, Roku or others.

Finally, if you are a member of Amazon Prime for the speedy shipping, you have access to Amazon Prime’s streaming service as well, one of the top streaming services out there with movies, TV shows, and original programming for all ages.

If you want live TV…

Some standalone streaming services like “Hulu + Live TV” and “YouTube TV” offer many basic and live cable offerings, from CNN and ESPN to comedy, home and cooking channels. These all often give you DVR capability to record favorites, and you can usually get local news or public television channels (be sure to first check what is provided for your specific location).

The beauty of bundles…

An excellent option for families with a wide variety of ages is the “Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+” bundle, at $14 per month it offers a bundled savings of 30% over subscribing to each one individually.*

If you want to lower your bills…

Philo is one of the most affordable services available at $25 per month, offering more than 60 channels such as Discover, Animal Planet and Food Network.*

Free streaming services…

If you don’t mind watching ads (remember the old days when you didn’t have a choice?), there are free on-demand streaming services like Pluto TV and IMDb TV that contain familiar basic cable programming as well as television, movies and original programming.

(* All prices quoted are current as of August 2021. Please check service webpages for updated quotes, channel guides, and subscription rates.)

Kristy CooperOverwhelmed by streaming? How to choose the right channels for you