A New Sports-Free Live TV Streaming Service is on the Way


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Sports channels are a must-have for many television viewers, but for those who aren’t interesting in watching any sporting events, their inclusion in a television streaming plan can drive the price up. Now The Wall Street Journal reports that a few networks are in talks to launch a streaming service for non-sports watchers that will come in at $20/month or less.

The service will supposedly have a soft launch in the next few weeks, and will include cable channels owned by Viacom, AMC, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Discovery Communications.

Given that it hasn’t officially been announced, the actual list of stations you’ll be able to stream live isn’t exactly clear. However, presuming that all those companies are on board, viewers would have access to channels like The Food Network, HDTV, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, AMC, and A+E. Subscribers would have to have an antenna in order to get programming from major networks like ABC, CBS, and FOX.

It’s an interesting proposition for $20 (or less), but is it worth it?

Right now you actually have a lot of options when it comes to streaming live TV. Sling already offers live TV streaming starting at $20/month, which includes around 30 channels.

For $35/month, you can get a lot of the same channels as the proposed “sports free” option through Directv Now. The baseline program includes 60 live channels including ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX as well as channels like Cartoon Network, CNN, FX, Oxygen, and Bravo. Yes, you’re also getting some sports programming in there such as NBC Sports, but with the $35 subscription, you also have the option to get HBO for just an additional $5.

If you’re already subscribed to HBO Now (which runs $15 on its own), then that in a way brings the cost of the subscription service down to just $25. $5 for all those extra channels (including sports) and the ability to stream major networks seems worth it, at least for me.

YouTube TV starts at $35, as well, but doesn’t includes offerings from Viacom, Turner, or Discovery.

Hulu also has a pretty decent television offering these days. It’s a bit more expensive, at $39.99 per month, but includes most of the same channels as Directv’s offering as well as access to Hulu’s full streaming library for that price. And PlayStation Vue’s Access Plan starts at $49.99 and includes access to 45 stations, many of the same channels as Directv.

The difference between all of them is a little much to explain in detail here, but Business Insider recently did a really great comparison of all six, explaining what you get in each and what you’re missing out on. The “best” one is likely the one that offers the channels you want to watch. Not every service has every channel.

To me, given all the options out there, a $20/month non-sports streaming service doesn’t really seem necessary.

What do you think? Is the proposed service something you would be interested in, or do you think the current live TV streaming services have the space pretty well covered?



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