8 Streaming Bundles to Replace Cable
Our TV experts used their intimate knowledge of live and on-demand streaming TV services to create custom streaming bundles for all kinds of cord-cutters.
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With no contracts and simple-but-affordable packages packed with popular channels, streaming TV is an attractive alternative to cable TV. But streaming’s best quality is customization. It offers the ability to create your own streaming service bundles tailored to your interests, while still saving you money over cable.
But finding the right combination of live TV, on-demand, and add-on streaming TV services takes time to research. We’ve done that for you with this list of eight custom streaming bundles aimed at specific interests and lifestyles.
How we created these streaming bundles
We’re sharing the criteria we used to create these streaming TV bundle recommendations to give you insight into our methods—and also so you can create your own dream streaming TV bundles.
We recommend ad-free plans for the best experience. They’re a little more expensive, but if you don’t mind watching another Flex Seal spot in order to save a few bucks each month, go for it.
- Amazon Prime Video: $12.99/mo.
- Apple TV+: $4.99/mo.
- Criterion Channel: $10.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.
- Disney+: $8.00/mo. or $80.00/yr.
- ESPN+: $5.99/mo.
- Fandor: $3.99/mo.*
- HBO MaxTM: $14.99/mo.
- Hulu: $11.99/mo.
- Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle: $13.99/mo.
- Hulu + Live TV/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle: $78.99/mo.
- Netflix: $13.99/mo.
* Via Amazon Prime Channels
We highly recommend taking streaming TV services for a test drive. Virtually all of the services mentioned above have trials, and the typical period is 3–7 days. You will, however, occasionally stumble upon 14-day or 30-day trials.
If a particular bundle below seems too pricey, don’t worry—they’re suggestions, so you can customize them to adjust the price (and the content). We’ve included customization suggestions at the end of each section.
We default to high-definition (HD) plans even if a standard-definition (SD) plan is available.
Not all streaming TV services advertise how many titles they carry. To avoid legal trouble, we’ll opt out of guessing. But we’ll say this much: most of these services boast libraries in the four-to-five figure range.
It’s tough to avoid overlapping content when combining streaming TV services. But the redundancy is only a small fraction of what the services have to offer.
Most streaming TV apps support several of the same streaming devices, but it doesn’t hurt to check. Where applicable, we’ve linked to our reviews of each service so you can read more about the devices they support.
Now, to paraphrase George Clooney in From Dusk Till Dawn: “Bundlers, let’s get bundlin’.”
Only the Best
The best live streaming service + the best on-demand service
Includes: YouTube TV, Netflix
Live channels: 100+
Total price: $77.98/mo.
If you’re short on time to shop for TV plans, you can go right for the good stuff. CableTV.com named YouTube TV the best live TV streaming service of 2020 and singled out Netflix as the best on-demand streamer.
YouTube has 100+ live channels, three simultaneous streams, six user profiles, unlimited cloud DVR storage (recordings expire in nine months), and a healthy on-demand library (they don’t advertise its exact size). Netflix, of course, is all on-demand TV and movies. It comes with a wealth of licensed and original content, two streams, and five user profiles—but no live channels or DVR.
You’ll have plenty to watch with these two services—all for the price of a mid-tier cable or satellite TV package.
- Upgrade to Netflix Premium and get 2 more streams and 4K UHD support (add $4.00/mo.).
The #9 Combo
Nine top streaming TV services for the couch potato who needs everything
Includes: YouTube TV, Disney+/ESPN+/Hulu bundle, HBO Max, Netflix, Prime Video, SHOWTIME, Apple TV+
Live channels: 100+
Total price: $136.93/mo.
Are you the best couch potato? Do you derive energy from the cool, blue light of your TV? Before you cut the cord, you probably splurged on your cable provider’s top-tier package so you’d have every channel, even the premiums. Our #9 Combo, made up of nine services, has you in mind.
Once more, we’re starting with YouTube TV for 100+ live channels, three streams, and unlimited DVR (nine-month storage limit). With the on-demand libraries of YouTube TV and the other services in this bundle, you’ll have an outrageous amount of top movies and series to watch.
When it comes to price, the #9 Combo costs the same as cable providers’ most expensive plans. The bonus is that you won’t have contracts, equipment rental fees, and other cable hassles. And your “package” will be all killer, no filler.
If the price is still too high, you don’t have to use YouTube TV. Actually, any of the live TV streaming services work with this bundle because they’re the same price—or cheaper—and also don’t have contracts. See below for a supercheap suggestion (Philo) and read our guide to the Best Live TV Streaming Services for more alternatives to YouTube TV.
- Try Philo instead of YouTube TV and get 61+ live channels, 3 streams, and unlimited cloud DVR with a 1-year storage limit (saves $39.99/mo.).
- If you’d rather get the Hulu + Live TV/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle, it has 70+ channels, 2 streams, a 50-hour cloud DVR, and a ton of on-demand content (adds $14.00/mo.).
- Students save 50% ($6.50/mo.) on Amazon Prime and get a free 6-month trial.
- Upgrade to Netflix Premium for 4K UHD support plus 2 more streams (adds $4.00/mo.).
Ready to order this combo?
For users serious about their TV series
Includes: HBO Max, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+/ESPN+/Hulu bundle, Apple TV+, SHOWTIME
Live channels: N/A
Total price: $71.94/mo.
Do you like movies but love devouring TV series like popcorn chicken? Binge-a-palooza gathers the best streaming TV services for prolonged periods of popping. All six services have stacks of highly rated licensed and original series, plus tons of movies for days when you have to, ugh, do something besides loaf around. When you consider that it costs only $72 a month, it’s a steal.
- Get only Disney+ instead of the bundle (saves $5.99/mo.).
- Get only Hulu instead of the bundle (saves $2.00/mo.).
- With Amazon Prime’s student discount, you get 50% off after a free 6-month trial (saves $6.50/mo.).
- Add Philo to get 61+ live channels (adds $20.00/mo.).
- Add Paramount+ for its huge on-demand library and live CBS shows (adds $9.99/mo.).
- Add Peacock Premium for live NBC shows and a larger on-demand library (adds $9.99/mo.).
- With Netflix Premium, you can have two more streams and 4K UHD support (adds $4.00/mo.).
- Pick up an over-the-air (OTA) antenna to get live local channels (one-time fee starting around $30.00).
Ready to binge-watch?
The Endless Film Festival
Because movies = life.
Includes: HBO Max, Netflix, Prime Video, SHOWTIME, Shudder, Criterion Channel, Fandor
Live channels: 3
Total price: $73.93/mo.
There are those among us who would spend all day in a darkened theater, losing ourselves in silver screen magic while shoving nachos into our gobs. For you, I suggest The Endless Film Festival.
With these seven services, you can catch obscure art-house gems, classics from all eras, cult films/midnight movies, newer releases, summer blockbusters, and more. And, just like Binge-a-palooza, the price is right at about $70–$75 a month—but it can get even better (see below).
- Choose annual subscriptions to save on Amazon Prime (saves $3.00/mo.), The Criterion Channel (saves $2.66/mo.), and Shudder (saves $1.24/mo.).
- Go Prime Video–only and save $4.00/mo.—but Amazon Prime is more than worth full price.
- Students save 50% ($6.50/mo.) on Amazon Prime and get a 6-month free trial.
- Netflix Premium gets you 4K UHD support plus 2 more streams (adds $4.00/mo.).
Neutralize the kiddos while you work from home
Includes: Sling Orange w/ Sling Orange 4 Extras Deal add-on (incl. Kids Extra), Disney+, HBO Max
Live channels: 38+
Total price: $70.99/mo.
Are you a parent working from home during the pandemic? Then you know how tough it can be to balance work and parenting duties. I dedicate The Babysitter to you.
Yeah, TV isn’t Mary Poppins—but when you need a couple of uninterrupted hours of work time, that mesmerizing box is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
The Babysitter starts with Sling TV—CableTV.com’s Best for Kids pick. With the Sling Orange plan and its Kids Extra add-on, you’ll have Baby Jr., Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Duck TV, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, and TeenNick. Yes, that creates some overlap with Disney+, but the reason you want Disney+ in this bundle is for its on-demand content.
As for HBO Max, it has loads of family-friendly movies and shows, all organized into age groups and even content “hubs” for networks and studios like Sesame Workshop (Sesame Street), Cartoon Network, Studio Ghibli, and Looney Tunes. You can also create a profile for each child, which lets you customize parental controls according to each kid’s age/maturity level/chore-completion status.
One drawback to this bundle is that Sling TV doesn’t carry a lot of local broadcast affiliates. But you can get those channels by purchasing an OTA antenna. You can get one for as little as $30, but Sling TV will give you one free if you prepay for two months of service.
- Sling Blue is the same price as Orange, but it doesn’t have Disney Channel—fortunately, you’ll still have that huge Disney+ on-demand library. And with Sling Blue, you can add the à la carte Kids Extra pack for $5.00/mo. instead of 4 Extras (saves $8.00/mo.).
- If your budget’s super tight, Sling Free has Cartoon Network, DuckTV, Kabillion, Pocketwatch, and Ryan Friends (saves $35.00/mo.).
- You can bundle Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu for $13.99 a month (adds $5.99/mo.).
The most sports for the best price
Includes: Sling Orange + Sling Blue with both Sports Extra add-ons
Live channels: 68+
Total price: $70.00/mo.
Sling TV is easily the most affordable way to get your live sports fix. The Sling Orange + Sling Blue package ($50 a month) alone gives you access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, FS1, NBC Sports, NBCSN, NFL Network, Stadium, TBS, and TNT. If you prepay for two months, you’ll also get a free OTA antenna so you’ll have sports content from your local broadcast affiliates.
That’s a lot of sportsballs bouncing around, so you could stop there. But sports fans go hard, so they’ll probably want to add both of Sling’s Sports Extra Packs (one for Orange, one for Blue). They’re both $10 a month, and, even with seven overlapping channels, you still get 20 new sports portals: beinSPORTS, FS2, GOLF, MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, NBA TV, NFL RedZone, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, Outside TV, Pac-12, Tennis Channel, and more.
You should also download the free Pluto and Xumo apps to get beinSPORTS Xtra, Big Sky, CBS Sports HQ, FOX Deportes, FOX Sports, fubo Sports Network, NFL Channel, Major League Soccer (MLS), PGA Tour, PlutoTV Sports, UFC, and World Poker Tour.
- Football fans could get only Sling Blue ($35.00/mo.) and its Sports Extra add-on for both NFL Network and NFL RedZone. You’ll lose ACCN, ACCNX, ESPNews, ESPNU, Longhorn Network, SEC, and SEC+, but save $25.00/mo.
- Selecting only Sling Orange ($35.00/mo.) and its Sports Extra add-on won’t include FS2, Golf Channel, NFL Network, and NFL RedZone—but you’ll save $25.00/mo.
The Thrifty Bundle
For when times are tight
Includes: Philo, OTA antenna, Peacock Free, Pluto, Xumo
Live channels: 261+
Total price: $25.00/mo. (plus antenna)
If you’re cutting the cord for financial reasons, you can get a ton of TV on the cheap with The Thrifty Bundle. Philo has 61+ channels, three streams, and unlimited DVR for $25 a month. If you add an OTA antenna (a one-time purchase starting around $30), you’ll get your local channels and subchannels at no extra cost per month.
Then, download the Pluto and Xumo apps for another 200+ live channels—completely free, for a total of 261+ channels plus whatever your OTA antenna picks up.
- Add Netflix ($13.99/mo.), and you’ll get a ton of on-demand content while keeping your payment under $35.00.
You could add HBO Max ($14.99/mo.) and keep your payment under $50.00.
- Xfinity internet customers can add Flex for free to gather Pluto, Xumo, free Peacock Premium, a handful of free channels, and thousands of on-demand titles in one place, with a killer voice remote.
- Cox internet customers with the Panoramic Wifi Gateway can get a Cox Contour Stream Player, basically a clone of Xfinity’s Flex service, for $5.00/mo.
Freebie the Love Bundle
For when times are really tight
Includes: Various free streaming apps
Live channels: 200+ (not including antenna channels)
Total price: Free (except for the antenna)
When your budget’s super tight, there’s a whole lot of free streaming TV out there. Meet Freebie the Love Bundle, which is a fancy name for using all of the free streaming TV services that you can find, along with an OTA antenna for local channels. Almost all of it is ad-supported, but you’ll be able to watch so many movies and shows, live and on-demand.
- B/R Live
- fubo Sports Network
- Midnight Pulp
- Peacock Free
- Roku Channel
- Shudder TV
- Sling Free
- . . . and more
A downside of Freebie is that you’ll watch a lot of ads and do a lot of leapfrogging between apps on your phone and computer. But free is free.
- If you’d like to have your local channels, buy an OTA antenna ($30 and up).
- If you qualify for Xfinity Flex, get it so you can have almost all of these apps in one spot, and a nice voice remote for navigating them.
- Cox internet customers that also have the Panoramic Wifi Gateway can get the Flex-like Contour Stream Player for $5/mo.
- Many streaming devices support most of these free apps. The Amazon Fire TV Stick is one such device.
Our TV experts have logged hundreds of hours researching and testing these streaming TV services. We know which ones have the best plans, pricing, and features—plus how they complement each other in these custom streaming TV bundles. To learn more about our methods, see our How We Rank page.