Verizon Sunday Ticket deals, Disney+ and Hulu price hikes

This week on TechHive: Is Verizon’s Sunday Ticket deal worth it?

Late last month, Verizon announced an NFL Sunday Ticket deal that sounds great on the surface.

By purchasing an eligible phone on Verizon’s Unlimited Plus data plan, you can get a free year of NFL Sunday Ticket. The deal is available to new and existing customers, and it saves $450 on out-of-market NFL streaming (or $350 if you were planning to bundle it with YouTube TV for local and nationally televised coverage).

But of course, there’s a catch: To get Verizon’s best Sunday Ticket deals, you must sign up for its most expensive data plan, and getting a smartphone deal with it requires at least a three-year commitment. All this could allow Verizon to claw back your Sunday Ticket savings over time.

Read the full column on TechHive →

Weekly rewind

Disney+ and Hulu price hikes: On October 12, Disney will raise prices on most of its streaming options, including the ad-free tiers of Disney and Hulu+, most versions of the Disney bundle, ESPN+, and Hulu’s live TV service. It’s also adding a new ad-free plan that combines Disney+ and Hulu without ESPN+.

A rundown:

  • Disney+ (with ads): $8 per month (no change)
  • Disney+ (ad-free): $11 → $14 per month or $110 → $140 per year
  • Hulu (with ads): $8 per month or $80 per year (no change)
  • Hulu (ad-free): $15 → $18 per month
  • ESPN+: $10 → $11 per month
  • Disney+ and Hulu (with ads): $10 per month (no change)
  • Disney+ and Hulu (ad-free): $20 per month (new option)
  • Disney+ and Hulu (with ads) with ESPN+: $13 → $15 per month
  • Disney+ and Hulu (ad-free) with ESPN+: $20 → $25 per month
  • Hulu + Live TV (plus Disney bundle with ads): $70 → $77 per month
  • Hulu + Live TV (with ad-free Disney bundle): $83 → $90 per month

It’s a lot to take in given the number of plans and packages on offer. Some stray thoughts:

  • As I wrote back in May, the ad-free luxury tax is increasing, with Disney leading the charge. Bundling Hulu and Disney+ without ads costs twice as the ad-supported option.
  • That said, if you were getting the full ad-free Disney bundle before, dropping it for the new Disney and Hulu ad-free plan would keep you at $20 per month, assuming you don’t care about ESPN+.
  • YouTube TV ($73 per month) retakes the lead from Hulu as the cheapest live TV streaming option with local channels, but only because they keep leapfrogging each other.
  • Disney really doesn’t want you to pay for Hulu on-demand by itself anymore, as the cost difference versus bundling with Disney+ is down to just $2 per month, with or without ads. (The company has also said that it will start offering Hulu’s catalog inside Disney+ later this year.)
  • Most of this news stinks, but the new ad-free Disney+ and Hulu option at $20 per month—including 4K HDR—could be a compelling alternative to Netflix’s Premium plan at the same price.

One last gloomy update on top of all this: Disney says it’s eying some sort of enforcement against password sharing, starting next year, but hasn’t gone into detail. Apparently it likes what it’s seeing from Netflix, even those its measures remain easily bypassed.

Standalone Redzone: In more positive news, you’ll no longer need a bloated pay TV package just to watch NFL Redzone on your television. The Sunday whip-around channel will also be available through NFL+ Premium for $15 per month, and will finally support smart TVs and streaming players. Both NFL+ ($7 per month) and NFL+ Premium will include a live feed of the NFL Network, also viewable on TV devices.

As before, NFL+ also offers in-market and nationally-televised games, but only on phones and tablets. The NFL app even blocked people’s attempts to mirror the games onto their TVs. I have implored people not to pay for this.

But the unbundling of Redzone and NFL Network without device restrictions makes a huge difference. Yes, the service is more expensive than last year, but if you can pick up local games with an antenna or your local team plays on CBS, you might be able to avoid a big TV bundle entirely. The offering might even make NFL Sunday Ticket unnecessary for some folks. Too bad the NFL waited through months of Sunday Ticket pre-orders before announcing it.

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Save more money

See what I told you? Peacock is back with another promo code, this time slashing the price by $3.50 per month for three months. Just enter NTSEL3HMWTDP54N at checkout, and you’ll pay $2.50 per month with ads or $8.50 without ads over the three-month promo period.

I’m not sure if this is just for new subscribers or returning ones as well, but a secondary email address might work if the latter group is excluded. A limited-use credit card can also help you avoid getting auto-billed at the regular rate.

Other notable deals:

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