Many TV watchers cut the cable cord to combat high cable TV subscription costs, then look to streaming services to provide a cheaper option. Of course, if you oversubscribe to streaming services, your monthly TV expense could be even higher than a cable bill.
But TV — even good TV — doesn’t have to be pricey. In fact, there are plenty of options out there for less than $25 a month. To get this low price, you may have to make some sacrifices. For example, many low-cost streaming services don’t offer live channels, and those that do may charge extra for premium features and channels. Still, $25 or less is a low price to pay for hours of programming. Read on for some of the best streaming services you can get for less than $25 a month.
As perhaps the most well-known streaming service, Netflix leads the charge when it comes to affordable TV subscriptions, and this service is popular for a reason. With a well-established library of movies, TV shows, documentaries and more, it has something for almost everyone. Netflix’s original programming is also a huge draw for the service, with titles such as “Queer Eye,” Marvel’s “Daredevil” and “Santa Clarita Diet” providing high-quality exclusives to subscribers.
— Basic package: $8 a month, standard-definition quality, one screen.
— Standard package: $11 a month, high-definition quality, two screens.
— Premium: $14 a month, HD and Ultra-HD quality, four screen.
[See: 10 Steps to Cut the Cable Cord.]
Like Netflix, Hulu has been around for a while. It also features plenty of popular programming, with current episodes and older seasons available. In addition, originals such as Marvel’s “Runaways,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Future Man” provide even more value to the service’s robust library. The live TV version is above that $25-a-month limit, but the on-demand library is an inexpensive way to get great content.
— Basic: $7.99 a month, one screen.
To get some added perks on top of your content, Amazon’s Prime Video is a solid pick. It comes with plenty of movies and TV shows, as well as some exclusive programming of its own, such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Transparent” and “Sneaky Pete.” Beyond its video streaming, though, you’ll also get access to plenty of other perks, such as free shipping on Amazon Prime purchases, access to Prime Day discounts and even music.
— Month-by-month: $12.99 a month, three screens.
— Annual subscription: $119, three screens.
CBS All Access
For fans of CBS shows such as “Survivor,” “Criminal Minds” and “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS All Access is a great way to get all those shows in one place. In addition to offering current and past episodes of your favorite CBS shows, All Access includes exclusive original series. The most buzzy of these is “Star Trek: Discovery.” You can even stream CBS live 24/7 through the service, so you’ll be able to watch the news and live shows.
— Basic: $5.99 a month, two screens.
— Ad-free: $9.99 a month, two screens.
If you’re determined to watch your shows as they air, Philo could be a good choice for you. It features many of the same channels as a typical cable or live-streaming subscription would, with options such as Comedy Central, TLC, History and Food Network available in both packages. The larger package adds channels such as the Cooking Channel and Discovery Family. You’ll notice a few things missing from their lineups, though — sports and local channels are not included on Philo. Still, especially if you like reality and lifestyle TV, Philo is an inexpensive live option.
— 40 channels: $16 a month, three screens.
— 49 channels: $20 a month, three screens.
Coming in right at the top of the $25-a-month budget is Sling TV. Not every subscription option available through Sling falls into this category, but both the Orange and Blue packages do individually. As a live service, Sling TV features access to channels as they air. There’s some overlap in programming between the two packages, so it’s important to look at the full channel listings before making a package choice. One key difference is in the major networks available on each one. Sling Orange provides access to ABC and its affiliates, including CNN, while Sling Blue covers Fox and NBC and their affiliates, including more regional sports.
— Sling Orange: $25 a month, 30 channels, one screen.
— Sling Blue: $25 a month, 45 channels, three screens.
With so many streaming options available, even the choosiest of TV watchers can find what they want. But if you’re on a budget, there are both live and on-demand options available for less than $25 a month.
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The Best Streaming Services for Less Than $25 a Month originally appeared on usnews.com
Correction 08/16/18: A previous version of this story misstated the plan options available to Philo subscribers.