American Dad

Three Cord Cutting Services That Deserve a Second Try


Cord cutting is still in its infancy and is only just growing up. And with all growing services come growing pains…

Several services that started off “rough” recently have grown up. Here are my top three services that deserve a second look.

#1 Hulu

Hulu has been stuck in third place behind Amazon and Netflix for many years. It has struggled with complaints about ads and poor catalog; however, Hulu has been busy recently growing with new shows and a new app.

Not that long ago Hulu brought in a new CE, Mike Hopkins, and things started to change. Hulu now offers the much demanded ad-free option and has been locking down content deals. Slowly Hulu has been taking shows from Netflix and other places and growing its back catalog. No longer is Hulu a place to just get the last few episodes of a show. Now you can find full seasons.

Hulu is also releasing ever improving original content. Most notable is this month’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

If you hated the user interface in the past, Hulu also has a new app coming with a brand-new look and feel. Hulu is even working on an option to allow downloading for offline viewing.

#2 Sling TV

Sling TV was the first live TV service to become successful in the United States; however, with all new things it had some rough spots at launch. Now Sling TV has greatly improved the quality of its stream and apps.

Sling TV has also recently started to roll out a DVR to all of its devices. This missing feature now allows Sling to be competitive with other live TV streaming services.

#3 Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video was one of the early video streaming services to come out; however, its Prime service has come a long way. From an exclusive deal to get access to the back catalog of HBO shows to new deals with the BBC and others you will find an ever-growing list of shows and movies.

Amazon Prime also has the largest catalog of movies on any subscription streaming service. From newer movies such as 10 Cloverfield Lane and Iron Man to classics such as Top Gun and Indiana Jones, you will find something to watch.

Do you have a legal streaming service you think deserves a second look? Post it in the Comments for all to see.

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  • George Shiflett

    Amazon is mostly a waste , comparing them to netflix and the others , is useless , every time u turn around with amazon what u want to watch has to be paid for , Prime is a joke , the only thing its good for is 2 day shipping , Paying 103 dollars a year for less than what netflix gives u and then they even have the nerve to charge u for e books

    • Richard smith

      I signed up after I bought a 4k tv to watch prime content. 90% of the content is geared toward stay at mom’s. The shows I like get a pilot episode and I have to wait a year and subscribe again to see the rest. The 2 day shipping and prices are the same elsewhere, so that’s not a deal

    • Gerry Allen

      You must be one of those folks who thinks everything should be free. Maybe you should work for free?

    • AstroMonster

      I have had Amazon Prime for a long time, I even have a FireTV. While I love Prime for the shipping and sometimes they offer Prime member only pricing, RARELY do I watch Amazon Prime Video content and I rarely use their music service.

      Far too many times I have had movies in my watchlist become a pay-to view item over night, or the first couple of episodes of a season be Prime, but the rest pay-to-view.

      I am NOT one who expects everything to be free, as I pay for YouTube Red (and use their Google Play Music service all the time), I pay for Hulu Plus and Netlfix, and I buy a ton of content from Vudu.

    • notsofastnow

      I need many ways I prefer Prime content to Netflix. There’s a far bigger catalogue, there are far more documentaries, and the original content is at least the equal of Netflix. Plus the X-ray feature, if you have Fire TV, is something no other service offers.

      So quite frankly I would cancel Netflix before I canceled my Prime Membership. But the service I use far more than Amazon Prime or Netflix combined is YouTube, which has a huge library of documentaries and specialty movies, many of them in high definition.

  • Gerry Allen

    Amazon Prime is a fabulous video service. From excellent classical concert videos to Amazon original series (Man in the High Castle, anyone?), this service also has a terrific movie catalog like Netflix had a long, long time ago. We subscribe to Sling TV for its low-cost bundle and great DVR service. Dumped DirecTV and never looked back. A good word for Tablo, too.

  • Norman

    I’m looking forward to trying Hulu again, but I’m waiting for them to go live. The soon they do that, the sooner I’ll, and maybe many others, will give them a second try.

  • Brian @chatlegion.com

    Did Sling pay you for this review? I’ve tried them 3 times and nothing has improved. Their customer service is also still terrible. Testing Sling vs. Direct TV Now vs. PS Vue… PS Vue still takes the prize by a long shot. Great channel selection.. Price is right and loving the cloud DVR. 5 devices at once kinda rocks also. Runs perfect on 4 TVs with PS Vue app on Firesticks.

    • That really depends on what you want. Each service is right for someone. It really comes down to who has the right channel for you. PS Vue is missing Viacom Channels. (A huge hold up for people with kids.) Sling is Missing Fox News, BTN, and MLB.

      Pick the one that is right for you.

      • notsofastnow

        Sling is hampered by its slow frame rate for many sports broadcasts, making playback choppy. PlayStation Vue supports 60 frames per second for all sports. For me, this is the biggest difference between the two services — one that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

  • EJ95835

    We subscribe to these three plus Netflix. Much of the Amazon Prime Video original content is superb. We enjoy Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, and The Man in The High Castle. My wife uses Hulu to catch up on major broadcast network shows.

    We subscribe to SlingTV Blue + 4 Extras. The Cloud DVR stopped working for us and it hasn’t been fixed. But that’s not a problem because we can catch up on our favorites like The Expanse and Better Call Saul on demand. I’m keeping Sling for those two shows, MSNBC, and the Hallmark Channels AND they recently added SF Giants games. I agree with those who have commented on SlingTV’s weak customer support. Almost completely worthless. Hoping they’re reading this.

    • Bruce Wayne

      You should try PS Vue.

      • EJ95835

        Thanks. I checked it out, but they don’t offer the Hallmark Channels my wife has to have. If I was alone I wouldn’t even have SlingTV. I can live without the RSN, and wait for my programs to hit Netflix and Amazon. I would be okay with just Netflix, Prime and OTA.

  • Daniel

    And here we go again.. we’ll never get away from the traditional channel bundling.. SMH. Who needs 30-40 channels? Overkill. A la carte is the goal. Give us what we want, when we want it, without the bloat. I’ll be checking in occasionally for progress. From the looks of things it’ll be a while. We went from cable bundling to stream bundling..

    • Anthony L Peña

      Exactly

    • Bruce Wayne

      Which is cheaper. I pay $30 a month and I get tons of sports, movies and on-demand content. You pay for Netflix at $10 a month or even more and you don’t even get any sports, nowhere near enough decent movies and TV shows a year or even more later. That leaves you wanting more and paying more.

      • Daniel

        I’m not interested in Vue. That’s bloat to me. And I’m definitely not interested in Netflix.. I want certain content when I want it. Not a line up of channels for a particular show, or pay a fee to get a million movies for a particular show. Just give me the show. A la carte. Netflix isn’t a la carte. Close, but it’s missing too many components. Vue, Sling, DTV Now, that’s all cable 2.0. Not interested. And I couldn’t care less if it’s cheaper, that’s not the point. The point is bloat. I want a la carte.

        • AstroMonster

          Then just buy the season passes for the shows you want through a service like Vudu

          • Daniel

            That’s good if you need a whole season, but not good if you only need certain episodes. Besides, that’s not what I need in a la carte. I need individual choices of anything, not platform original content, or certain options.. I want to be able to choose from ALL CONTENT. Also, this opens a whole new conversation. All shows should be available to anyone either by season or episode- including the latest episode. As for me, I don’t watch anything but football and movies. No seasonal shows.

          • AstroMonster

            You can buy individual episodes.

            I don’t think there will ever be a true a la carte the way you want it for the price you​ are willing to pay.

            To mix and match items will result in something like Sling TV, which gets very expensive very quick when you start adding in packages.

            Or you wind up with stuff like CBS All Access.. where one channel costs 5 to 6 bucks starting. I can see more stations doing that.

            Just my opinion…

          • Daniel

            I think it’s coming, it’ll just take a while. Sling isn’t in any way a la carte. It’s cable 2.0- just like Vue, DirectTV Now, etc, only cheaper. I envision a platform where we type in what we want in a search and it pops up.. no limits to content.. movies, shows, sports games, whatever you want is available. Maybe you buy a season, saga, or entire season of a certain sports team, or maybe just a single show or game. Then after you choose, you pay for your choice/s. Of course, prices will vary- and they should. But if I had this platform, I’d be willing to pay.

    • notsofastnow

      The big difference is that you can cancel a streaming service whenever you want without penalty. So I subscribe to bloat like PS Vue for half the year when there are sports I care about, and the rest of the year I’m on a lean streaming diet that runs $21 a month.

      • Daniel

        Yea that’s about the only thing I like about any of it so far.. no contact.

  • Donald Roberts

    I agree with 2 out of 3 selections unless you do a lot of purchasing from amazon, prime is a waste of money. I recently got sling and have been very impressed with the streaming have tried all four streaming services sling, ps vue,directtv now and fubo tv, overall I like sling mostly cause the only channels I watch are espn tnt and tbs all on sling for $20 a month the only other channel I need would be comcast sportsnet chicago everything else I can get free with an antenna. Hulu does the job for me if I watch anything on network tv. My 3rd choice would be CBS all access here I get my survior and amazing race fix if I miss the live broadcast.

  • Blake

    Amazon needs to open up their app more. No official Chromecast, Apple TV and the Android TV box that has it isn’t cheap.

  • BigO

    Hulu: This is the last of the three services we pay for to be added (Netflix & Amazon). Originally, it was just as an extra DVR since a DVR cost so much via TWC. But, since our OTA reception is not great, we kept it when we cut the cord. Plus, I do agree the originals have gotten much better, and there is more and more cable content available. I recently finished watch MARS (NatGeo) and Barbarians Rising (History) – both were excellent.

    Amazon: We have subscribed to Amazon for years – and it was a couple of years before we realized streaming video was even an option. Now, we watch quite a bit of content via Amazon (not as much as Netflix). Considering we were already paying for it, the video is almost a bonus.

  • Bruce Wayne

    As long as Amazon insists on being stupid with their device support, they will continue to lag behind Netflix. Their half-assed support of Android is stupid. They have an Android app but it’s not on the Play Store, you have to download the Amazon App Store to get it. They also don’t support Android TV. Why would I watch on my phone when I can watch on my 75 inch 4k TV…

    • Rucknrun

      I am with you on that. The lack of Android TV support is terrible. I can’t watch it on my Mi Box which is on our main tv. For some reason they now have it for the Shield but nothing else.

    • UberCrew

      They do support Android TV on both the Shield Android TV and Sony Android TVs The Shield is the best Android TV box on the market so at least they do support that. Other devices do work with the Sony Android TV app sideloaded. I agree that they should support all Android TV devices. Just like DirecTV Now & Youtube TV (casting is not the same IMO & there is no reason for Google not to support their own TV OS) should.

      • Bruce Wayne

        I have a Sony 4k Android TV and it’s definitely not supported. I’ve tried many times.

        • UberCrew

          Which model do you have? I know that newer model Bravia TVs do come with an Amazon Video App installed. Actually a few people have pulled the Amazon Video Apk from their Sony TVs then shared it on various sites. Before the Shield Android TV had an official Amazon App, I had the Amazon App that had been pulled from a Sony Android TV running on my Shield. I was also able to install the Sony Android TV Amazon app on a LeEco Android TV.

          • Bruce Wayne

            I have the 2016 65 inch version.

          • UberCrew

            What is the issue? Does the app not run correctly or don’t you see the app installed? All 2016 Bravia models support Amazon Video.

          • Bruce Wayne

            When I search in the Play Store, it doesn’t show up.

          • UberCrew

            Yeah it won’t be in the Play Store since it is not an official Google apk. Sony made a deal with Amazon to make an app specifically for their TVs. Nvidia made a similar deal for their Shield Android TV box. The Amazon Video app should have come pre-installed on your TV. It is included with Sony’s version of Android TV. If you haven’t already registered your TV with Amazon & Sony you might have to do this before you can access the app.
            https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/ontv/braviasteps

          • Bruce Wayne

            Thanks for the details and help, man. I’ll see if that works.

  • Rucknrun

    My problem with Prime is the interface. It is a pain to find the Prime only free content sometimes. I realize their goal is to sell me stuff.