When internet-based live streaming TV services, which are also known as Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (vMVPD), first hit the market in 2015, they were great inexpensive alternatives to traditional cable and satellite TV subscriptions. Since then, all the popular services, including Philo, Sling TV, FuboTV, YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, and Hulu + Live TV have all continued to climb in price to the point where many of them cost as much or more than the old cable channel packages they strive to replace. Here’s a look at the price history of these services and where you should expect their prices to end up in the coming years.
Monthly cost of the least expensive plan for new customers at the start of each year:
|Start of...||Philo||Sling TV||FuboTV||YouTube TV||DirecTV Stream||Hulu + Live TV|
Streaming TV services that could replace traditional cable debuted in 2015 with Sling TV. By 2018, all of the main contenders in the market today were established, although DirecTV Stream was called AT&T TV Now at the time. With prices ranging from $16 to $40 per month, depending on the channels and features you wanted, these services were a great way to save money without giving up the traditional live TV experience.
As the years have passed, prices for these streaming services have increased by an average of about 16% per year. The biggest single increase was when DirecTV Stream (a.k.a AT&T TV Now) increased by 65% when it went from $40 to $65 in 2019. That was clearly a mistake because the service experienced the one and only price decrease the following year when it dropped down to $55. With the exception of Philo, every service now costs 75%-100% more than it did 4 years ago in 2018.
Philo has only increased by 56%, but if it jumps from $25 to $30, which is most likely its next increase, it too will be in line with the rest of the services and be 87% more expensive than it was in 2018. Hulu + Live TV already announced it will be climbing to $70 in a few days to match DirecTV Stream. Both YouTube TV and FuboTV are on trajectories to also hit $70 in early 2022 if they continue the same pace of price increases that they’ve already experienced.
Predicted cost at the start of each year:
|Start of...||Philo||Sling TV||FuboTV||YouTube TV||DirecTV Stream||Hulu + Live TV|
All four of the large channel-count services, (i.e., DirecTV Stream, YouTube TV, FuboTV, and Hulu + Live TV) are trending to reach or pass $75 sometime in 2022. By the end of 2022, they will likely be around $80 and they are all well on their way to be around $90 by the end of 2023 if they continue increasing prices at the current pace. As for Sling TV, if it keeps up its price increase pace, it will likely be around $40 near the end of 2022 and it will be creeping pretty close to $50 by the end of 2023. Philo increases prices at the slowest rate, so even by the end of 2023, its current price increase pace only puts it at around $30-$35.
Don’t have any of these nor do I plan to. They were too expensive 3 years ago, now just ridiculous. I pulled the plug on Satellite/cable 16 years ago, long before it was envogue, so I may be the exception.
Plenty of content with less or no commercials on Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu (w/o live), Pluto, etc. The only live content I occasionally want is local channels which I get from an antenna (fed into Plex via an HDhomerun box).
You can also get a Tablo box for local television. Just need internet service. It connects with ethernet and provides service to all televisions in your home.
Not Bragging but I think it’s helps to put “real world” costs into perspective so here is my monthly break down:
Live TV Via OTA: $0.00 (Free after $150 worth of three Antenna installs 2 years ago, currently 55 Channels in Crystal Clear HD)
Verizon Fios Internet Service: $39.99 (total, no taxes – Federal Government currently forbids taxes on internet only plans. Invested $200 in a new Wi-Fi router and Ethernet cabling 2 years ago)
Amazon Prime Video: $0.00 (Free, Prime is Included in my Mobile Plan)
Netflix: $17.99 (I still think it’s worth it)
Disney+: $5.83 (I pay for the whole year in advance, $69.99 which Disney honored again for a second year)
Peacock Premium: $4.99 (Kind of worth it but they are lagging way behind in promised new shows like the Battlestar Galactica reboot)
Hallmark Movies Now: $5.00 (My Wife has to have it; $59.99 I pay for the year in advance)
My total Monthly cost: $73.80 (going on 2 years now)
Very Happy with my setup, we have more than enough to watch.
Obviously, everyone’s needs are different.
Live sports are still the driving factor for us to pay for a service. If ESPN+ actually showed major college sports I would happily get rid of YouTube TV.
Ageee. Unfortunately we may need to make a decision tomorrow on where to switch…
That’s my biggest dilemma, sports. If I could stop watching sports, I’ll get rid of Sling, keep Philo and watch whatever on regular television.
lol those are expensive
I don’t see Hulu, YouTube, or Fubo rising their prices that dramatically. Their price increases typically come with an expansion of their base channel line ups. And at this point, there really isn’t too much for these services to add. And the NBCUniversal negotiations showed that channels really don’t have as much leverage as they used to.
Compare to cable paying Almost 200 a month from Optimum / then leaving Cable In the dust I Am paying for Amazon prime 5.99 a month, then Hulu with have a Bug problem they can’t seem to fix it takes you off Another channel and you think your bugging like what the Hell!!! I didn’t change that channel, So now I’m leaving Hulu going’s to YouTube paying what a little less Hopefully No Bug Problem… I had Pluto but I love watching other channels that Pluto Don’t have… so Total once the Verizon finish putting up wiring in my building I’m dropping Optimum Wi-Fi like The chemical plant they are I left them 6 year’s Ago but because I moved I was forced to get them Back again that’s All they had in this Building.. so All together I will be paying 165. A month including prime, YouTube, and Verizon…way better than cable and Wi-Fi and prime ohh and I have peacock for free.. so I’m happy
Currently still much cheaper than old cable.
Got on Comcast Internet promotion after switching to uverse for one year. Comcast has good in extending follow-up promotions to their $20 mo. Internet, first $30 and next $40 each adding higher speeds. Never had problem with 25m $20 streaming two tv’s and two browsers. Next price increase if over $50, will hopefully I will have t-mobile fixed wireless option available.
Happy with youtube and youtubetv (tmobile price $55 and now better with ABC/ESPN credit $15). For now, bundle has live channels we desire for live sports, business/news/local channels, and couple misc cable legacy. Recently added paramount plus for free first year. Live/free channels usually ~1/2 hour delayed watch to allow skipping commercials.
Had and dropped Prime and Netflix, too hard to find content worth watching.
Future could be one company for all, phone/internet/TV, in my case tmobile. $40 for each seems to be about right, all in no extra fees.
Left Cable for Hulu Live after a year I switched to Sling. I Love Sling $35!! I also have Prime already (6.99), Filmrise free and Roku stick was 20.00 and all the free Roku channels. OMG I am so happy and never lack having things to watch. My wifi/internet is 30.00/ mo and to think I was nervous leaving my 200.00 month cable that it took me a year to finally jump ship.
Looks like YouTube TV just lost ABC, ESPN and Disney (according to CNN and others). That will hurt their bottom line and cause a loss of confidence with their subscribers. Nowadays everyone needs OTA as a back AND to subscribe to individual networks whenever possible. Internet based providers are still too unreliable when it comes to negotiating with major networks. But at least they lowered the price…
Sadly it is still cheaper to bundle with internet Service from your local cable company than to use most of these services, There really is no cost-effective way other than IPTV to get the stations you want at an affordable price.
You can use alternatively “BCE Premium TV” as well.