Your complete guide to video streaming service costs

Joe Supan
JS
Joe Supan
Jun 26, 2019

One of the major appeals of streaming services is they’ll save you money. Compared to a cable bill north of $100, a Netflix subscription seems like a steal. 

Unfortunately, a lot of streaming services have less-than-straightforward pricing structures. Netflix “starts at” $8.99/mo., but how many people actually want to stream in Standard Definition (SD)? 

In this guide, we’ll comb through the fine print to show you what each streaming service costs, so you can make the most of your budget. 

How much is Netflix?

Netflix costs $8.99 for its base plan, but that’s a bit misleading. You’ll only be able to stream in SD on this plan, which is outdated, to say the least. For reference, TV shows haven’t aired in SD since 2014, and it’s impossible to buy a new TV that’s not at least High Definition (HD) today. None of Netflix’s competitors even offer SD plans. 

What most viewers end up paying for is Netflix’s HD plan at $12.99, which also allows you to stream on two devices at the same time. If you want to upgrade to 4K resolution — and access Netflix’s impressive 4K library — you’ll need to pay $15.99/mo. This plan also comes with four simultaneous streams.

PlanPriceSimultaneous streams
Standard Definition (SD)$8.99/mo.1
High Definition (HD)$12.99/mo.2
4K Ultra HD$15.99/mo.4

How much is Hulu?

Hulu costs $5.99/mo. for its plan with ads and $11.99/mo. if you want to skip the commercials. If you want to add live TV channels to Hulu’s on-demand library, the price jumps to $44.99/mo. Again, you can upgrade to Hulu without ads for an extra $6/mo. Keep in mind, the “no ads” only applies to Hulu’s on-demand library — you’ll still have to watch commercials on live TV.

PlanPrice
Hulu$5.99/mo.
Hulu (no Ads)$11.99/mo.
Hulu + Live TV$44.99/mo.
Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV$50.99/mo.

There are several more add-ons available with Hulu as well. You can include premium channels like HBO, STARZ, Cinemax and Showtime for an additional $10/mo., and there are a number of perks like extra DVR storage and simultaneous streams that can be added to the Live TV plans.

HuluHulu + Live TV
HBO$14.99/mo.$14.99/mo.
Cinemax$9.99/mo.$9.99/mo.
Showtime$10.99/mo.$10.99/mo.
Starz$8.99/mo.$8.99/mo.
200 hours of DVRN/A$9.99/mo.
Unlimited screensN/A$9.99/mo.
DVR + unlimited screensN/A$14.98/mo.
Español add-onN/A$4.99/mo.

How much is Amazon Prime Video?

Prime Video costs $8.99/mo. on its own, but most people typically get it as a part of their Amazon Prime membership, which includes a number of other perks like free two-day shipping. Amazon Prime costs $12.99/mo., or $119 per year if you want to pay it all upfront, which we’d recommend if you can afford it. Paying the annual price will save you $36.88 over the course of the year.

Monthly priceAnnual price
Amazon Prime$12.99/mo.$119 ($9.92/mo.)
Amazon Prime Student$6.49/mo.$59 ($4.92/mo.)
Prime Video$8.99/mo.N/A

If you have an active college email address ending in “.edu,” you’re eligible for Amazon Prime Student, which cuts the price of membership in half. What’s more, you’ll get the first six months completely free.

How much is HBO Now?

HBO Now costs $14.99/mo., no matter where you get it. It has the most straightforward pricing of any streaming service, with one plan and no hidden fees or add-ons. You can subscribe to HBO Now through Prime Video, PlayStation Vue, Hulu or directly through HBO, but it costs the same everywhere. 

How much is DIRECTV NOW?

Starting at $50/mo. for its Plus plan, DIRECTV NOW is one of the more expensive live TV streaming services around. That said, it does include HBO in all of its plans, a $15/mo. add-on everywhere else. You can also upgrade to three simultaneous streams — DIRECTV NOW includes two in its base plans — for an extra $5/mo.

PlanPriceNumber of channels
Plus$50/mo.54
Max$70/mo.70
Entertainment$93/mo.71
Choice$110/mo.97
Xtra$124/mo.124
Ultimate$135/mo.135
Optimo Más$86/mo.106

How much is Sling TV?

Sling TV is one of the cheapest live TV streaming services available, with its Orange and Blue plans costing $25/mo. If you want to combine those plans together, Sling discounts them for $40/mo. You can also add on a package of sports channels for an extra $5/mo. to the Orange plan, and $10/mo. for Blue. Unfortunately, Sling is the only major live TV streaming service that doesn’t come with DVR storage — you’ll have to pay an extra $5/mo. for 50 hours of cloud DVR. 

PlanPriceNumber of channels
Sling Orange$25/mo.33
Sling Blue$25/mo.48
Sling Orange + Blue$40/mo.55

How much is YouTube TV?

YouTube TV’s pricing is supremely simple: It has one plan that costs $50/mo., with no hidden fees or add-ons. Along with its 85 channels, you’ll also get unlimited DVR storage and three simultaneous streams. You can add premium channels like Showtime and Starz for a slight discount, but other than that, YouTube TV is a true one-size-fits-all streaming service.

How much is PlayStation Vue?

PlayStation Vue’s plans start at $45/mo. and go all the way up to $80. It also has a number of premium channels you can add like HBO, Showtime and Cinemax. Aside from that, there are no additional charges or features you can add to customize your package. All of PlayStation Vue’s plans come with unlimited DVR storage that saves programs for 28 days and five simultaneous streams.

PlanPriceNumber of channels
Access$44.99/mo.50
Core$49.99/mo.75
Elite$59.99/mo.96
Ultra$79.99/mo.98

How much is fuboTV?

At $55/mo., fuboTV has the highest starting price of all live TV streaming service costs. You can upgrade to several other plans for more channels, cloud DVR storage and simultaneous streams. Extra DVR storage and simultaneous streams can also be added to any plan for $9.99 and $5.99/mo. respectively.

PlanPriceNumber of channelsDVR storageSimultaneous streams
Standard$54.99/mo.96302
Family$59.99/mo.965003
Family Deluxe$64.99/mo.1265003
Premium$74.99/mo.1355003

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