Cable or satellite packages, excluding promotions, can easily run $70 to $100 a month. That gets you hundreds of diverse channels — ESPN for sports lovers, premium channels like HBO and Showtime, the major networks and niche options. But maybe you can find more cost-effective options online.

Netflix is raising the monthly price for its most popular plan by $1, to $10, for new customers (and eventually all customers). Online services, individually, are still cheaper. Depending on what you like to watch, however, you may need to subscribe to several. And not all of them can play at the same time for several family members.

A sampling of services for different tastes:

For sports fanatics

Dish’s Sling TV

Price: Starts at $20 a month.

Live offering: About 20 channels, including ESPN, ABC Family, AMC and Food Network. No broadcast channels like CBS or NBC, although Univision is available in add-on packages. Add-on packages for sports, movies, kids, lifestyles and world news available for $5 each, and HBO for $15.

On demand: No recording of channels, though some offer older episodes, including HBO. Access to WatchESPN on-demand app.

Restrictions: Can watch only one stream at a time, so members of households will need multiple subscriptions, although HBO content can be streamed on three devices at a time. DVR controls, such as pause and rewind, aren’t available for many channels. NFL blackouts on mobile devices.


Price: $110 for a full season; the price goes down throughout the season. An extra $5 for some postseason games with alternative camera angles — not what’s shown on TV.

Live offering: All Major League Baseball games, subject to hometown blackouts.

On demand: All games.

Restrictions: Lots of blackouts. Extra $20 for season to watch on mobile and streaming TV devices.

This season’s TV

CBS All Access

Monthly price: $6.

Live offering: More than 100 markets.

On demand: Day-after access to shows on mobile devices (on traditional computers, it’s free without a subscription). Full seasons for many shows, not just past five episodes. Past seasons for a handful of shows, including “The Good Wife,” “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and “60 Minutes.”

Restrictions: Some sports blackouts.


Price: About $15 a month

Live offering: New episodes are available through apps about the same time they are shown on TV.

On demand: Current and past seasons of most HBO shows, including “Games of Thrones,” “Girls” and “The Sopranos.” Hundreds of movies.

Restrictions: You must subscribe through a partner like Apple, Amazon or Android. Cablevision and Verizon also offer HBO Now.


Price: $8 a month for Plus, though many shows are free on Windows and Mac computers. $12 a month for a version with no commercials.

Live offering: None

On demand: Next-day access to shows from ABC, NBC, Fox and CW, along with some cable channels. Some movies and original shows.

Restrictions: Fox and CW shows restricted to cable subscribers for first week. ABC requires cable or Hulu Plus subscription during that time. Plus also needed for viewing on mobile and streaming TV devices.


Price: Next-day access to shows for $2 or $3 an episode.

Live offering: None, except for special events such as iTunes music festival.

Restrictions: No Android devices. Apple TV is only streaming device supported.

Binge-watching and movies


Price: $8.25 a month (only through $99-a-year Amazon Prime subscription)

Live offering: None

On demand: Apart from original shows such as “Transparent,” offerings tend to be past seasons, plus movies. Next-day access to shows for $2 or $3 an episode.

Restrictions: Requires a one-year commitment.


Price: The most popular plan will now cost $10 a month for new customers.

Live offering: None

On demand: Apart from original shows such as “House of Cards,” offerings tend to be past seasons, plus movies.

Restrictions: For the most popular plan, you can watch on only two screens at a time.

For kids

Nickelodeon’s Noggin

Monthly price: $6

Live offering: None

On demand: Games and activities created for the service alongside archives of shows no longer on any of Nickelodeon’s TV channels. Aimed at preschoolers.

Restrictions: Available on Apple mobile devices only.


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