Male hand holding TV remote control.

Jess’s Top Ten Streaming Services for Cord Cutters


Male hand holding TV remote control.There’s no denying the success of streaming services, and the industry has caught on. Even many of those who are still paying for cable are subscribing to at least one streaming service to supplement their content options. Each service has unique features, content, and benefits to offer. These are my top ten choices for those who want to add to their viewing options or finally cut the cord completely.

1. Hulu

For avid TV watchers, Hulu is at the top of the list. The service offers hundreds of TV shows, including those that are currently airing, past seasons to catch up on, and classic series. It’s also the only place you’ll be able to find Hulu Originals like The Handmaid’s Tale, The Path, and Difficult People. Now, with Hulu Live, a monthly subscription can replace the benefits of cable at a much lower price.

2. Netflix

While Hulu has more television content to offer, Netflix is the go to service for streaming movies. With a large and regularly updated content library of both older movies and new releases, Netflix has plenty of options for every subscriber. Netflix originals like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things, and Jessica Jones make the monthly subscription well worth it, and a well organized list of genres and unique categories make it easy to find something to suit your mood.

3. DIRECTV NOW

The DIRECTV NOW service, unsurprisingly, most closely resembles a traditional cable subscription. DIRECTV NOW offers four plans, allowing you to choose the package that offers exactly what you’re looking for. Depending on your location, you may have access to local live channels and regional sports as well.

4. iTunes

Those with an Apple TV, iPhone, or other Apple products are probably already using iTunes to store and stream music. The service is also a great way to build a movie collection. After purchasing content on one device, your library will be available on all devices with the iTunes app, so you can watch your content anywhere, at any time.

5. Amazon Video

Another favorite for building an online movie library is Amazon Video. The service is available for those with an Amazon Prime subscription. Use it to purchase videos and watch through the app, download to your device to watch later, or cast directly to your TV screen. Amazon also has the option to rent videos, including new releases.

6. HBO Now

Premium channel packages with cable subscriptions are expensive. Picking and choosing the individual premium channels you want to watch makes it much more affordable to see your favorite content. Major premium channels can be accessed through standalone apps or as add ons with other services, like Hulu and Amazon. The HBO Now app gives you everything you’d want from HBO and lets you choose what you want to watch, whenever you want to watch it. Look for past and current HBO favorites like Game of Thrones, Girls, and Big Little Lies.

7. Showtime

Like HBO Now, Showtime is worth the relatively low monthly cost for those who have favorite Showtime shows. Look for shows like Shameless, Dexter, Homeland, and Twin Peaks. Showtime also has a great selection of older and new movies available to stream. Use the standalone service, or get Showtime as an add on with services like Hulu and Amazon.

8. PlayStation Vue

For those who want to cut the cord, but still want access to all of their favorite channels, PlayStation Vue is one of the better options available. With four package options available, you’ll have more control over the content you’re getting. However, the highest priced packages get dangerously close to being on the same level as a cable contract. The upside is that you won’t be tied down to an annual contract and can cancel your account at any time.

9. Sling TV

Sling TV and still has some issues to work out. However, Sling is one of the more reliable options for those who want to watch live sports after cutting the cord. Depending on whether you choose the Orange or Blue package, or a bundle with both, you can catch many live, local games.

10. YouTube

YouTube has changed dramatically within the last few years. The service has given a platform to anyone with a camera and an internet connection. However, as the company has grown and content creators have benefitted from the large audience, many channels have improved their production quality and developed great content. YouTube Red takes away ads and gives access to YouTube sponsored shows and movies. The YouTube app is available on nearly every device and makes it easy to cast content from mobile devices to your TV.

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  • Rucknrun

    Why you guys always pick Direct TV Now over PS Vue blows my mind.

    • Unique_Username99

      more channels cheaper perhaps?

      • Fred Koot

        Not if you want regional sports $60 compared to $45. and still no dvr

        • Unique_Username99

          A) don’t give flip about DVR. coming Q1 2018 anyway

          B) Can I get A&e Network channels or Viacom channels on Vue? nope.

          C) HBO is $5 on DirecTV Now and $15 on Vue so with that factored in DTVN is cheaper.

          • Carl Collie

            Welcome to the 90’s DTVN, you may eventually have a DVR, but it appears it will be an extra cost add-on. Vue has had a DVR since it was introduced. I could care less about Viacom, would like the History Channel but it’s not worth the extra dollars on DTVN. If you must have HBO, DTV maybe the better option. But I like to record my sports and other live events and watch them later, can’t believe this is not included with every tv service in the market. I don’t know how people live around being in front of their tv’s at a specific time, I have not done that since my first Tivo.

          • Unique_Username99

            You know it will cost extra how? Record sports? Yeah let’s watch after we know the result.

          • Carl Collie

            No, I coach sports so I can’t watch live so I record and watch when it is convenient for me. Plus recording all normal shows, but yes mainly sports and news. I don’t watch just for the score, unlike you apparently. I watch to learn, enjoy, and catch up on my favorite teams. It is rumored to be an add-on like SlingTV’s DVR, if it is not I will be pleasantly surprised that someone is giving the customer something for no cost, even if it is a year late to the game. Plus it is nice not to have to watch commercials on a tv show as well, again have not watched commercials since the Tivo introduction, except on live sports or breaking news,

          • Mike Thaler

            I often start watching an hour after event starts. Then can FF thru commercials, half time, etc. and am often caught up by end of game. On east coast, when watching event on west coast that doesn’t start til 10:30PM EST – watch next day — avoiding sport page.

        • Nathan John Ganiere

          really it’s $50 for regional sports as it’s in the just right package, the go big though is $60 if you feel the need to have NBA and NHL league channels though and CBS Sports Network………….

          • Nathan John Ganiere

            I got HBO too which bring price to $55, where PS VUE same thing sport wise and premium wise would be $60 and less channels………

          • Carl Collie

            Plus a DVR though so kind of equals out, and cheaper if you don’t need HBO

        • mnsportsgeek

          *$50.

      • Rucknrun

        It didn’t have an Android app when I tried it and it never worked. No DVR also. PS Vue works. They updated their Roku app too which is now pretty great.

        • Daniel

          when you say Android I’m going to assume you mean Android TV, they’ve been on android phones from day 1, if we are going to talk about device support well neither did Vue when it first launched it was several months after the nationwide rollout (which was a YEAR after the initial market rollout) before Vue added an Android TV , it was even 8 months from the original rollout before they even supported devices other then playstation consoles when they first added Fire TV support in November of 2015 also for that matter even the Android MOBILE app didn’t come till several months after the nationwide rollout for Vue, DTVN had wider device support at launch then Vue had when it went nationwide. YES DTVN has MAJOR issues that need resolving, but for a LARGE majority of the population the assortment of channels available on DTVN is FAR superior to the channel lineup of Vue, honestly for me personally Sling Multi-stream package (I forget which color they call it now) with a single addon is more appealing then Vue at this point, it definitely has more of the channels I watch at a lower pricepoint then Vue and content is king, doesn’t matter how great the Vue service itself is over DTVN (albeit DTVN has better picture quality), without the CONTENT all the fancy app support and DVR is rendered meaningless.

  • Chris Torres

    Sling TV is very unreliable. I had it twice and don’t ever plan on going back to that service. I really enjoy YouTube TV. Playstation Vue is good, but their lack of customer service and their sudden price hike over the summer led me to drop their service. YouTube TV and Netflix for me!

    • Aisu

      I subscribe to Sling TV on and off and it has always been reliable for me over Roku. I can’t even recall any problems at all with it.

    • Daniel

      when Sling first launched there Windows EXE (NOT the Windows 10 app, the version that runs on older computers) it had some audio sync issues, but those where eventually solved and when I returned to Sling several months later the only issue I saw with it was random artifacting during Tosh.o on Comedy Central, aside from that it was a solid service, but then my Boss had it for a few months and he had all kinds of buffering issues with it, I think it comes down to your network hardware, his is a higher end Netgear Router where I had a Buffalo router and now a Linksys, I think Netgear devices simply have issues with live TV streaming services, because we could reset his Router and it would temporarily solve the buffering issue.

  • mr Dave

    I’ve had Sling for 6 months now and find it a very good service. Could it be better of course. It needs to add more options for streaming (content changes daily) and it occasionally errors out -but rarely. Other than that we watch it without issues.

  • RubberBoloney

    I never found DirectTV Now or Hulu to work, Even with a very fast wifi both constantly buffer and lose connection. On the other hand Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Play Station Vue work flawlessly.

    • Joe in Virginia

      I have tried all the services and never had buffering issues with any of them. For me, it all comes down to which one has the content you want and which interface you like. For me, Hulu ended up winning out. They have great channel selection for people who like sports and I really like their interface. It makes it all about the content, not “channels.” Having enhanced DVR also basically opens up their entire catalog to no commercials (with a few very limited exceptions). All of that and I’m still saving about $60 a month from what I was paying for Directv.

  • Bob Geiger

    Great list! If something sounds interesting, single link to the service, way to do it.

  • rljnc1500

    PS VUE for me has always worked well, always had DVR with no extra cost, allows 5 streams. I got in on the deal where I could get all channels including HBO, Showtime etc.. for 54.00 a month, when that goes away will look again, but will most likely stay with them, just lower package. I did try Sling twice with a fast wired connection and it always buffered.

  • Aisu

    “Sling TV is a newer service and still has some issues to work out.” — Why pick on Sling for this? They all are “newer” services and they ALL have “issues to work out?”

    • Rucknrun

      I missed that. Wasn’t Sling TV first? It was out before PS Vue, Direct TV Now and Youtube TV.

      • Aisu

        It’s been around awhile. Sling TV is an American over-the-top internet television service owned by Dish Network. Unveiled on January 5, 2015,

      • Jess

        You’re right. Sling isn’t exactly new in the world of cord cutting services. It was founded in 2015. I was comparing it to some of the other major services – Hulu, founded in 2007, and Netflix, founded in 1997.

  • Jimmy S

    Directv now is by far tbe best… Vue doesn’t even have viacom stations dtv now does sling i had 4 the weekend sucks as well…

    • Carl Collie

      By far, I would not agree with that, I would galdly give up all of the sorry Viacom channels for a DVR that is included. Plus regional sports, the only metric where DTV is better is if you want HBO or are an AT&T subscriber and can live with only watching live TV, which last time I checked has not been a thing since the 90’s.

      • Malignar

        I agree that Vue has the leg up at this time due to the DVR and the recently added guide view for Roku. When DTVN gets a DVR, for all the devices, it will be the clear winner with Viacom channels and everything that Vue has.

        • Carl Collie

          Maybe the clear winner for you, as I and many others could care less about Viacom. It has not been announced but it appears the DVR will be an extra fee for the add-on. I will wait and see, but my $35 plan (maybe $45 sometime in the future) is still better for my family than DTVN. Even at $45 Vue is cheaper than DTVN for comparable channels packages.

          • monte reed

            All of them needs improving, there are a lot of flaws with each and everyone of them. Why can’t at least one of the companies carry all the channels, why must we pick and choose to get what we want to watch? I’m a big soccer fan, Fubo Tv has the best coverage except they do not have espn. PSV, DTVN, HULU, none has beIN Sports. Sling does not have beIN Sports Connect but has espn. Some has limited DVR, PSV has the best DVR. PSV has Discovery channels, none of the others do……. So currently I’m getting PSV and Fubo for my tv needs…….. and it is still cheaper than traditional cable………

          • E Galarza

            There are other options beyond the top ten mentioned. There is an IPTV service called “SET TV Now” that has most US and UK sport channels including all of the premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Epix, Cinemax etc), large assortment of international channels and free PPV sports for only $20 a month. The service can be unreliable at times, particularly the children channels like Nick, but most of the mainstream channels work flawlessly. But for $20 a month, it is hard to beat. They also have an extensive on demand movie library too which also includes Netflix shows. I became aware of this IPTV service after watching another cord cutting Youtube Channel that mentioned it. Google it and see if it is something you might like. They have a free trial period too.

          • Daniel

            SET TV Now is also not a legit service like the others, it is rebroadcasting channels it doesn’t have the rights to distribute as there is no way they could possibly pay for all those streams and make money at the price they charge.

          • E Galarza

            I had my suspicions about them too, but I wasn’t totally sure. It’s good while it last. I did manage to watch a couple of PPV fights live on it for free, including the Mayweather vs McGregor boxing match. But I would caution anyone else of prepaying many months in advance incase they get shut down. PS Vue is my main service and I am grandfathered into their original prices. So I am still keeping PS Vue for the long haul..

    • Daniel

      DTVN wins the CONTENT game in terms of having EVERY channel I watch on it, It also has the BEST image quality of the 3 (Sling, Vue, DTVN), but beyond that the service is garbage, unreliable garbage, 72 Hour Rewind doesn’t function properly on most devices, the OnDemand is slow to update if it even updates and the network app support is very limited, Sling on the other hand has a TRUE 72 Hour Rewind that lets you rewatch ANYTHING that aired on supported networks, not the randomly selected shows of Now and Vue has teh DVR that renders ondemand and 72 hour rewind meaningless, but lacks both Viacom and the A&E networks, without those networks I’m not interested (I used to have both Vue and Sling, but switched to DTVN to consolidate all my channels into 1 service and even add a channel I wanted but would have been twice as expensive to get if I kept the combo on Vue and Sling and bumped Vue up to the plan required for that channel).

  • mnsportsgeek

    Can’t wait to read about all people complain about DTVN being so high.

  • rljnc1500

    Well the good thing is there are options with no contracts, and we can all chose what we like.

    • Rucknrun

      Agreed. More choices is a good thing in the end!

  • SpideyRules

    Almost every one here talking about their personal cost seems to be paying more than an actual cable subscription…

    • Rucknrun

      How do you figure? We can cancel at any time and we don’t have to pay for any equipment on a monthly basis.

      • SpideyRules

        I also could’ve cancelled at any time and I’m not condemning anyone here at all.

    • Malignar

      Wha? You must have had one heck of deal on cable. I’m paying $50 for DTVN have all the regional sports, Viacom channels etc for half the price of cable and a DVR on it’s way.

    • DesignatedJizTowel

      I personally pay $110.00 per month less than I was paying for cable, and I have MORE content.

    • SpideyRules

      I certainly didn’t mean this applies to EVERYone here (Hence, the ‘almost’ portion), however I was only paying $30mo and maybe $10 in equipment rentals, no contract. I cancelled and applied the savings toward faster tier internet. So I can admit that paying $50 wouldn’t have exactly been a savings for me. Didn’t realize you guys were paying over $150 for cable. Holy $&%^ honestly!

    • Daniel

      I would have been paying for Netflix regardless of having cable or not, so I don’t add netflix as an extra cost, the thing to remember is the costs aren’t the same for cable everywhere, for example the most basic cable package here (with no DVR or boxes adding fees) is 48 bucks, to get all the channels I watch on DTVN would be 88 bucks from my local cable company, I pay 35 to DTVN for my channels, I also upped my internet a few tier levels and pay 30 bucks more then I technically HAVE TO, because I like to be able to do other stuff online while streaming and the 30 bucks triples my speeds.

  • GersonT1000

    Hulu has gotten pretty good, but with that atrocious user interface I wouldn’t pay for it. I prefer both DTVN and Sling over it. It also needs to get AMC.

    • monte reed

      I tried Hulu, but the interface was terrible.

    • Daniel

      I had a like month or 2 free trial from buying a Roku based TV last november (so just the basic hulu, no live TV) and honestly there was nothing worth watching on it, I watched maybe 2-3 hours worth of content, for comparison I do that much or more every day on Netflix. the Hulu live isn’t even worth signing up for it’s trial due to the lack of almost any stations I watch, the only place worse is Youtube TV that has NONE of the stations I watch.

  • Gregory Blajian

    To me the best part of any of the live streaming services is the lack of the per outlet charge you get with Comcast. If you have multiple hd tv’s that can be a significant savings on equipment rentals (mandatory digital decoders). With PS Vue you can add in the $10/mo savings on DVR rental too.

    • E Galarza

      I agree wholeheartedly. When we factor in the equipment rental fees and the DVR service fees in a home with four televisions, it easily pays for the high speed service alone.

  • craig2web

    Top two for me and virtually neck and neck are Amazon Prime & Hulu basic, with Netflix a close 3rd. Prime is a terrific value at around $8/month for movies, TV and music, all ad-free. Hulu basic has some ads and doesn’t include music, but does include current content and is only $6/month right now. The premium channels and live streaming services to me just don’t offer very good value. To each his or her own.

  • androidscales

    Is this site paid by DTVN ..I have both PS Vue and Dtvn where PS Vue beats DirecTVN by a mile. Unlimited DVR , great picture quality and supports Android TV. PS Vue app is stable where dtvn app is buggy buffering issue

    • Daniel

      DTVN has far superior picture quality, YES Vue is an excellent app, with it’s DVR and network app access, but without having the CONTENT to DVR or watch with the network app access it doesn’t matter how great those features are, it’s like having an empty fridge plugged in and running with the door welded shut, sure the fridge is a great fridge but if you can’t put anything into it what is the point.

  • Kenneth Farmer

    I feel like your description of Amazon Video is lacking. Amazon Prime (for prime subscribers) has a lot of free content as well as some original content. It also has some of the older HBO shows as well. We use Amazon Prime for the delivery benefits but the Amazon Prime Video is a nice perk.

  • Kenneth Farmer

    Something not to loose track of. You can use multiple services. It does not have to be a only pick one option. Before the last year (and the growth of VUE , youtube tv and sling), if you had asked me what to get as far as services I would of said Netflix for the movies and hulu for the TV . I could add in another service like CBS all access and still be paying less that what I had been paying for cable. I will also be honest. I had Direct TV satellite and my bill kept going up and up, but they always started you cheap . I worry that once they have thier subscribers and a market share they will start to find ways to jack up the prices of their streaming service as well.

  • 4score

    You have “YouTube” but their real entry here is a streaming service called YouTube TV. It has a pretty good channel selection and their cloud DVR stores your shows/episodes for NINE months! It’s only $35/month and you get 6 accounts. I’m sharing with my son and it’s not bad for $17.50/month. We use our phones and tablets to as the interface. We also use Google Home for easy interface via voice.