It’s no secret that more and more people are moving away from traditional cable and using stream alternatives to watch their favorite television shows. So I’ve taken it upon myself to try out some of the other options that exist.
During the last six months, I’ve subscribed to Hulu Live, Youtube TV, Sling TV, and Pluto.
Hulu Live has an excellent interface. It’s clean, has an understandable directory, and clear indicators of how to select content to place on your on-demand list. Hulu Live also has an extensive array of content available as a result of their partnerships. For instance, they have a partnership with Funimation, so seasonal anime is released in addition to the timeless favorites. They also have a live sports option. You’ve probably seen the commercial. The price is just under $60 per month. While not the most inexpensive option, you still get a great catalog for your monthly rate.
Youtube TV: While I do not personally feel that the interface is the easiest to understand. The interface is not much different from Youtube itself, but I did find it someone challenging to navigate the live channels. Once I figured it out, it wasn’t too bad. I initially played around with it on my Fire TV. However, it is easier to navigate on your computer.
Sling TV: The interface of Sling TV wasn’t much of a concern. Like Hulu Live, it’s clean and easily managed. If you find a show you’d like to keep up with while browsing, you can tap on it and either chose start, record, or favorite. It allows you to make up your OnDemand list as you go, which I liked.
However, Sling TV offers package setups. They span from $20 to $35, plus individual premium channels. On the one hand, it’s more affordable than Hulu Live, but on the other hand, you have to piece together your perfect package, and even then, you may not have access to all of the channels you want. Still, Sling TV is a viable option.
Pluto: This is the biggest melting pot. I think it’s best atribute is its “binge-ability” on shows you wouldn’t even think about. One day, I got caught up binging on 007 movies starting from the 60’s. And another time, I got caught up binging Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. Ask me if I would have picked those to watch on my own, and the answer is no.
Pluto does have an On-Demand section, but it feels like the greatest hits. You’ll find some gems in there, but I’ve yet to find anything that is super recent. But you can’t complain because it’s free.
My overall conclusion is that all of the options that I’ve tried have their positives. However, you get what you pay for. While I won’t say one choice is better than another, I will say that a broader range of customization and content comes along with a higher price tag.
Therefore, If you want an On-Demand experience, you’ll pick a Hulu or Youtube TV. But if you’re going for a more traditional melting pot of content, you could go for Pluto or Sling TV.
I will try out more options available over the next few months to see what other viable alternatives exist.