Streaming TV contenders 2017

More than one third of U.S. broadband households had a connected TV early in 2017, 45% had a smart TV, and almost half had a gaming console, according to this Parks Associates study. From the consumer’s perspective, this rapidly evolving internet-video landscape can be roughly divided into media streaming devices you need to get access, services which offer live streaming TV channels (in effect, a virtual cable TV subscription) and the grand variety of video-on-demand programming services which offer movies, TV shows and more for streaming.

Competition reached a boiling point late in 2017 among the key players: Amazon, Netflix, Apple TV, Comcast, Disney, Roku and many others.

Live TV streaming services

DirecTV Now (AT&T) – More than 100 live channels – $35/month
Hulu with Live TV – $8/month
Instant TV (from Comcast, due Sept 2017)
PlayStation Vue – $40/month and up
Sling TV (Dish) – $20/month
YouTube TV – $35/month

Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services

Acorn TV – Best of British TV
Amazon Prime Video – Deep catalog of movies, plus original TV series.
CBS All Access – Live and on-demand CBS shows plus NFL games.
fuboTV Premier– Live HD streams of MLB, NBA, NHL games.
HBO NOWGame of Thrones, Veep, Silicon Valley, Westworld and other HBO titles on demand.
Hulu – On-demand TV with a new slate of original titles including The Handmaid’s Tale.
Netflix – The leading service for streaming TV shows and movies, also offering Netflix Original shows.
Showtime AnytimeHomeland, Billions, The Affair and other original series.
Starz – Original series and movies

Streaming media enabling devices

Smart TV – Most TVs sold today are “smart,” meaning they have internet connections and TV apps installed.
Roku – The leading supplier of connected TV devices supports just about every programming service except iTunes – Roku Streaming Stick (3600R) | Portable HD Streaming Player, Quad-Core Processor, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Point Anywhere Remote (Certified Refurbished)
Amazon Fire TV – Supports Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and many more, at 4K video quality – Fire TV Streaming Media Player or Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
Chromecast – Latest version of Chromecast Ultra supports 4K and HDR quality video.
Apple TV – (Upgrade expected Sept 2017) – Supports Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW and WatchESPN, with Siri Remote

More information

Consumer Reports guide to streaming TV services and Wirecutter recommendations. The Simple Dollar offers a guide to cord-cutting. TV set reviews from Rtings.com or Reviewed.com or CNET labs.

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