- Getty/Dave Kotinsky
One of the big knocks against cord-cutting, the act of ditching your $100-plus cable package forever, has been that you won’t actually save any money.
If you have to subscribe to everything a la carte, those $10-a-month subscriptions add up – plus you still have to pay for internet.
But with the release of DirecTV Now, AT&T’s new streaming TV service, it’s now possible to construct an ultimate entertainment bundle for about $63 a month. This includes services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime that many people pay for on top of their big cable packages anyway.
That’s a game changer.
This cord-cutter plan isn’t a skinny bundle of channels, but a robust lineup that will satisfy even the most voracious consumer of media. And it requires minimal up-front equipment costs to boot.
Here’s a rundown:
DirecTV Now 100-plus-channel package: $35 a month. This package normally costs $60 per month, but if you order during the promotional pricing period, this lower price is locked in unless you cancel your subscription. The channel lineup is what you’d expect from a premium cable package – including FX, CNN, ESPN, and regional sports networks. HBO add-on to DirecTV Now: $5 a month. This gives you access to all HBO content on all your devices. It would cost you $14.99 a month if you bought it via HBO Now. Netflix: $9.99 a month. With Netflix diving deeper into original shows – 1,000 hours in 2017! – you’re going to want to have an account moving forward, even with a TV package. Amazon Prime: $8.25 a month (at $99 a year), but let’s say $4 is the value of the TV shows and movies. Prime also gives you things like free two-day shipping, music streaming, and an e-book library. Amazon has said it’s ramping up its investment in original TV, and it just released Jeremy Clarkson’s “The Grand Tour.” Showtime add-on to Amazon Prime: $8.99 a month. This gives you access to all of Showtime’s content, including series like “Shameless,” “Homeland,” “The Affair,” and “Billions,” as well as movies and documentaries. Broadcast channels: free. One bad thing about DirecTV Now is that AT&T hasn’t yet signed up CBS, but you can still watch it for free with a digital antenna.
Digital antenna: about $25.Apple TV: free with three-month subscription to DirecTV Now. If you sign up for three months of DirecTV Now, you get an Apple TV free. One month gets you an Amazon Fire Stick.
Final cost: around $63 per month
This all means that a cord-cutter can now reasonably construct an impressive entertainment bundle for about $63 per month, plus a $25 up-front investment for the digital antenna. Split it with a friend, roommate, or significant other, and that’s $31.50 per month. (Note: You still have to pay for internet and have a TV, but these costs vary widely, so I won’t try to estimate them here.)
There are also a few caveats to DirecTV Now, and it’s definitely still a work in progress. For instance, there is no cloud DVR yet – in the next iteration, according to AT&T – or 4K support. But DirecTV Now lets you watch many shows on-demand and has a feature called “72-hour look-back” for watching shows that aired in the last 72 hours.
If you want a full list of all the limitations of DirecTV Now, we wrote an entire post on it.