Why streaming’s still cheaper than cable, more Sunday Ticket packages


This week on TechHive: Streaming still saves money

Did you hear the news? Streaming TV has finally become more expensive than cable.

Vox explains:

Recently, Gizmodo ran the numbers and concluded that if you subscribed to every streaming service collecting most of the TV shows and movies you’d likely want to see (and thus excluding niche services like horror-centric Shudder or anime-centric Crunchyroll or etc., etc., etc.), your monthly bill would be more expensive than an average cable bill on its cheapest tier.

There you have it. Cord-cutting had a good run, but it’s time to admit that the cost of all those streaming services is really adding up, to the point that you’re no longer saving money.

There’s just one problem: The passage quoted above is nearly seven years old, an ancient example of the same tired arguments we keep hearing today. If cable has been a better deal this whole time, people wouldn’t be dropping it in record numbers.

Read the full column on TechHive →


Weekly rewind

More Sunday Ticket options: With a few weeks to go until football season, Google has announced a monthly installment plan for NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube. It still costs $399 total, but it breaks the payments into four mandatory installments at $99.75 per month. (Google says it won’t allow this option in seven U.S. states due to “local requirements.”)

Google also now says it will offer student pricing, after previously saying it would not. Details on that front are coming next week.

In the meantime, YouTube TV subscribers who’ve pre-ordered Sunday Ticket have started getting offers for four free months of (HBO) Max. But it’s yet to actually document this anywhere, and as The Streamable reports, customers who sign up before August 23 are getting charged a pro-rated rate until that date, at which the four-month trial begins.

I’m glad Google has offered various ways to defray Sunday Ticket’s high costs—including the Verizon offers I covered last week—but the slow drip of conflicting details and competing offers has been a mess from the start. More than ever, I keep wishing Apple had won the rights instead.

Don’t bet on rebundling: Over at Vulture, Josef Adalian floats the theory that we’ll see more streaming services bundle themselves together, like cable all over again.

But while some TV execs seem keen on the idea, there’s still little evidence of it happening in a big way. Most bundles we’ve seen so far involve companies packaging their own services together, or streaming platforms running subscription marketplaces that usually don’t save you any money. Meanwhile, a startup called Struum that tried to bundle lots of niche streaming services together is shutting down.

I’m not against bundles as a concept, but it’s hard to see streamers working together on packages that are both flexible and significantly cheaper than their a la carte offerings. Cord cutters shouldn’t accept anything less.

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Save more money

Sling TV is offering a healthy discount for new subscribers who pay for five months up front. Its “Season Pass” deal includes Sling’s Orange and Blue tiers along with its Sports Extra add-on for $274, versus $350 at the regular $70-per-month rate.

Sling does not include local broadcast channels outside of some major cities, and it doesn’t include CBS anywhere. But if you can pick up those channels with an antenna, Sling makes for a nice complement. See my review for more details.

Other notable deals:



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This was cool: On Sunday, Houston Chronicle tech columnist Dwight Silverman wrote about his favorite tech newsletters, and both Advisorator and Cord Cutter Weekly made the list! Thanks for including me, Dwight!

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Until next week,
Jared

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