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 NOW – Game 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 Anytime – Homeland, 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
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.