Down the Streaming Stream: What to Budget for Cable-Free TV

The revolution toward a streaming television universe is now in effect Viewers have decided to figuratively cut their cable cords or disconnect their satellite dishes in favor of streaming services. In turn, their costs are going way down. Well, perhaps not initially.

Like many other services there are some initial fees to set up a world of streaming. Equipment is needed as well as subscriptions to the streaming services now available. Some of these are one-time payments while others are require monthly deductions from a bank or Paypal account. Nevertheless, once these are paid for the hours of practically ad-free television are worth it. To help you determine the budget for your TV transformation here are a few costs to consider.

Streaming equipment

The ability to stream television shows and movies has gotten smaller and less expensive. Both Amazon and Roku now offer a streaming stick which fits into the USB port of a HDTV. Base price for these devices is $49, which means you could purchase more than one for each TV in the house. More expensive versions of this equipment allow users to listen to music and play games with higher quality and speed. By the way, the standard Google Chromecast streaming stick is around the same price as the other two; however, it’s viewing selections are limited to Google products and their partners.

Streaming subscriptions

Nextflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime are the major players in the streaming universe, although there are many more coming down the pike from folks like CBS and HBO. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime air their shows ad-free. A monthly subscription for Nextflix is around $8.00 while the annual price for Amazon Prime is $99. The upside to Amazon’s cost — it includes items like free shipping on products and reduced costs on items. The downside to Amazon’s cost — not all shows and movies are available for free in the Prime queue.

Hulu Plus is the only one of the three main streaming services with ads. Still, the $8 a month cost for a subscription allows you to watch  first-run shows from ABC, NBC, and FOX the day after they air. And the ads which are shown on some shows are a minute or less.

Other subscription services

Subscription rates for other streaming services vary from $2.99 to $10 a month. With anything, discretion is advised to determine if a subscription is worth it to a certain streaming service. Some channels offer a free trial period to review content in order to decide what to do. Then there are services like M-go which sell television shows by individual episodes or entire series. What you pay depends on the show and how many episodes. Some reality programs are under $20 while scripted shows can run subscribers as high as $35 for an entire run.

Leave a Reply