Over the last two years, cutting the cord has become easier than ever. As cable bills continue to rise, Sony’s Playstation Vue and one of our personal favorites, Sling TV, have served as the only two legitimate cable TV replacements. Both services have revolutionized streaming as we know it, offering live feeds of popular cable channels over the internet with no contracts.
However, times are changing; 2017 is slated to bring us several new live linear streaming services, offering more options to break away from cable contracts. Let’s take a look at what’s on the horizon.
#1 DIRECTV NOW
AT&T launched DIRECTV NOW at the tail end of 2016. And as 2017 moves on, it’ll likely be a legitimate cable cutting contender. The service works like many others — you pay a monthly subscription cost to live stream a set of popular cable channels.
The starting price for DIRECTV NOW is $35 per month for about 60 channels to watch. There are additional packages that feature even more channels for a higher monthly price. It’s got a strong lineup, featuring ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, FS1, AMC, TNT, TBS, and even network channels like NBC and FOX in certain locations.
As of January, DIRECTV NOW is not available on Roku devices and doesn’t have DVR functionality, but look for both of those to change as 2017 progresses.
In 2017, FuboTV will expand to become another great choice for cable cutters. It was previously focused on mainly streaming soccer matches from around the world. But there have been some major changes recently, and it is primed to become a full cable alternative with a strong list of streaming channels.
The full release has not been publicly announced, but the beta launch for their full-blown offering will soon begin. There will still be a heavy focus on sporting events, but there should be plenty to stream for everyone with channels from networks like FOX and NBC being added to the list. Early details suggest the monthly cost will be $34.99 for about 70 streaming cable channels.
Vidgo is another service that should be hitting the market shortly. There have been tons of rumors around the service after it was introduced during CES 2016. But the interesting piece will be when (and if) Vidgo can deliver on the early promises.
Early releases suggested a wide blend of streaming choices like entertainment channels, news channels, and even channels like ESPN and NFL Network for sports fans. There are even some rumors network channels like CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS could be offered.
#4 Hulu Live
While it was one of the earliest streaming services on the market, Hulu has only recently made a foray into live streaming. Hulu Live is currently in beta and seems to have promise.
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins recently said the service secured deals with the four major networks on the market – CBS, FOX, NBC, and ABC. He also said the service will be a “sports-centric” offering. New information is slowly but surely trickling out on Hulu Live, but no true release date has been announced.
#5 YouTube TV
It comes as no surprise that Google is looking to get into the live streaming market as well with its own service, YouTube TV. Early rumors say we can definitely expect a launch this year, but an official timeframe hasn’t come out yet.
This service makes plenty of sense as YouTube already has such a strong name and platform, plus the financial backing of Google should help in the early days. The only concrete bit of news that has come out so far on the service is its desire to start at less than $35 per month. This starting price has become a sweet spot for new services.
The big takeaway is 2017 will be the year that live streaming TV options really take off. But of course — one thing to keep in mind is the quality of any streaming service is reliant on having a fast internet connection and solid WiFi setup no matter where in your home you want to watch. This sounds simple, but is a huge gap for many. eero can be your answer to this problem, ensuring you get fast streaming throughout your entire house after cutting cable.