Why NFL+ isn’t worth it, new Hulu + Live TV review for 2022

NFL Plus app on an iPhone

This week on TechHive: The case against NFL+

You’ve got to admire the National Football League’s chutzpah as it begins charging for football coverage that used to be free.

With its new NFL+ streaming service, you can watch all in-market and nationally televised football games for $5 per month, but only with a phone or tablet. You can’t access live NFL games on your TV, not even with workarounds such as Chromecast, AirPlay mirroring, or an HDMI adapter.

From the 2018 season through last year, the NFL partnered with Verizon to offer this exact same service at no charge. Now that their partnership is over, the league is hoping you’ll pay up, even if you can’t watch on your TV.

I’m imploring you not to do it. Instead of rewarding the league’s greed with yet another subscription, consider the ways you can get nearly all the same on-the-go NFL coverage at no extra cost. Read the full column on TechHive.

Also on TechHive this week: I’ve updated our review of Hulu + Live TV, reflecting its recently-expanded DVR service and mandatory inclusion of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu’s on-demand catalog—collectively known as the Disney bundle.

At $70 per month, Hulu + Live TV is a strong value if you’re already paying for Disney’s other streaming services and want a bundle of cable channels to go with them. Otherwise, it’s a tougher sell compared to YouTube TV, which has a simpler interface and lower base price. I’ve also run into a strange issue on Roku devices, where ad-skipping doesn’t always work for DVR recordings. Check out the full review for more details.

Weekly rewind

Comcast schadenfreude: Comcast’s share price took a dip this week after reporting no growth in its home internet business last quarter. For years, the cable giant has compensated for cord cutting by signing more customers onto its highly profitable home internet service; this is the first quarter in which it didn’t happen.

You can thank competition for that. With Verizon and T-Mobile both offering affordable 5G home internet with no data caps, Comcast is suddenly feeling the heat where little to none had existed.

While the company is insisting that wireless home internet isn’t a long-term threat, the carriers have only just started ramping up their marketing efforts, and Comcast doesn’t exactly have customer goodwill on its side after repeatedly raising prices and enforcing data caps. I’m hoping Comcast will have to rethink some of that behavior in the long term, but for now, I’m just savoring Comcast’s setback as a small victory for competitive pressure.

Yankees’ standalone streaming plans: In a radio interview this week, New York Yankees President Randy Levine hinted that the YES Network may launch its own streaming service “very soon.” Levine didn’t give any further details on pricing or timing, and neither have the YES Network or the Yankees.

Still, the unbundling of regional sports is already well underway elsewhere. NESN launched a $30 per month service for Boston sports last month, and Bally Sports+ launched for $20 per month in a handful of markets a few weeks later. MSG is also working on its own streaming service for later this year.

Although Amazon Prime is streaming 21 Yankee games in the New York area this season, that’s more of an annoyance for cable customers than a proper solution for cord cutters. With the Yanks in the running for a historic season, the team ought to figure things out sooner than later.

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Save more money

The Today Show website is currently offering a one-year subscription to Peacock Premium for $22, down from the usual price of $50. After making the purchase, you should get a code to redeem via email, but note the fine print: It’s only available for new subscribers. And as always, you’ll have to cancel to avoid being charged full-price after the first year.

I’ve also been told that American Express cardholders can get $7 off the Disney bundle for six months through the Amex Offers website, though I haven’t verified this myself. (Thanks for the tip, Ray D.!)

One other notable deal: Woot has Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K for $19 with coupon code SAVE4. This version has Amazon’s older remote, with no app shortcuts or live TV button, but the hardware is otherwise the same as the current model.

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