Just as internet providers have come into the entertainment market, cable companies caught on to digital technologies, and together they realized there is still demand for live broadcast television. Between two differing industries of competing companies experimenting in a new marketplace, we as the viewers are granted a lot of choice. Some networks make themselves available for new media through their website, but most online live TV comes as part of a larger service. So the question is no longer what to watch, but how to watch it.
Premium channel bundles have always been the big addition to any programming package, so understandably Cinemax, Epix, HBO, Showtime, and STARZ are the most offered by programming providers. Each can be purchased directly through Apple Channels, Amazon Channels, and Roku; services which act as hubs for collecting “a la carte” channels through app stores. Case in point, Apple TV Channels is an app for Apple users to purchase individual channels.
Amazon Channels is similarly an extension of Amazon Prime allowing its members to purchase from more than 100 of them. However, most all these channels are collections of On Demand content curated by a television network, not the broadcast network itself. Outside the premium bundles mentioned above, live TV options are generally news and sports coverage from a few Amazon Channels and maybe a dozen Roku Channels. Roku offers the only other live a la carte entertainment channels available: ABC, Bravo, ESPN, and USA. There is, however, one exception. Embed from Getty Images
CBS All Access is a network specific subscription service which quickly became the most accessible way to watch CBS shows, sports, and news both on-demand and live. As a direct-to-consumer platform, it exists as its own app for existing streaming devices from Roku, Amazon, and Apple, as well as Android, Chromecast, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. CBS All Access may change the way a la carte channels will one day be offered, as HBO and NBC are following suit with their own services this year. Still, the vast majority of streaming live TV is found through digital streaming providers. Embed from Getty Images
Depending on how you count them, there are 8 services which function like On Demand subscriptions but act like cable bundles. Finding the show or network you want to watch becomes a matter of which service or services carry it. Just like with cable and satellite providers, each one offers different collections of popular channels. For instance, FOX and NBC are available on Sling TV’s Blue package, but not their Orange option. Fubo TV adds ABC and CBS to the first two, Hulu+Live brings in the CW, and AT&T TV Now adds MyNetwork TV to the other five. But YouTube TV is the only service providing all the broadcast networks by including PBS. This becomes even more complicated when trying to find a specific cable network as each service offers different packages, upgrades, and add-ons.
Unfortunately, there is no short answer to find the right streaming service with the particular network playing your favorite program. The best course of action is to visit the websites for AT&T TV Now, AT&T Watch TV, Fubo TV, Hulu+Live, Philo, Sling TV, and YouTube TV looking for that network’s logo in their advertised roster. Before getting caught up in the different numbers, deals, and bonuses each one offers, keep in mind, you already know what you want to watch. What has to be figured out is how you want to watch it. Thankfully, each of those streaming subscriptions comes with a free trial to help answer that question.
About The Author:
Kevin Allen is an on-camera actor, AfterBuzz TV host, and occasionally a guest panelist in psychology and philosophy’s relation to popular culture.
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