As the pandemic increased it reach and severity, most states went to a "shelter-in-place" order. What are people doing at home on the weekends during quarantine? Maybe home improvement projects, hiking, or even binge watching the latest and greatest streaming series! If you have been considering "cutting the cord" on your cable or dish provider, now may be a really good time to revisit this during the "stay home" time. This may allow you a chance to get a better feel for all that is available and with which providers. Here are just a few examples along with helpful information about each.
Free trial is 30 days with a price range of $9-$16 per month after depending on the number of simultaneous streams. One interesting feature, if you use Google Chrome (who doesn't?), is an extension called Netflix Party which allows you to watch the same stream while you social distance with friends. Netflix is good for the binge watcher who would like to catch up on a show before the next season starts. It is ad-free and allows viewing up to 4 different screens at one time. If you want an up-to-date library outside of Netflix original content or live in a region where the selection is not as great (geo-locking) then this may not be the best provider for you.
Amazon Prime Video
Free trial is 30 days (non-Prime members) followed by a price of $13 per month. Amazon's watch party product, called Twitch, appears to be in the beta phase still. With Prime Video not only do you have access to a broad library of original content and popular movies, but users have the ability to download or purchase as well. It can be difficult to decipher what content is or is not included in the subscription cost.
Free trial is only 7 days, unless you have an unlimited data plan with Verizon, then it is one year. Cost after the trial is $7 per month. Yep you guessed it! Disney+ has a watch party extension for Google Chrome as well called Disney Plus Party. Consider looking at the Disney+ bundle as well for Hulu and ESPN! If you have younger children at home, this streaming service should be higher on your priority list with favorites from Marvel, Pixar, and other Disney branded movies. Not ideal for the binge-watcher as original series are released on an episode basis instead of season.
Free trial is 7 days and the price after is $50 per month but one of most robust lineups of all the providers. Unfortunately, they do not have a watch party function. Good for the channel surfer who likes to have everything in one place with high quality streaming of over 70 different channels. The main sticking point is the hefty price compared to others and they do not offer any sort of offline viewing.
Whatever you end up doing, it is important to remember that all providers require a credit card to start your free trial. This means that once your free trial is over, you will automatically be charged. Be sure to set a reminder in your calendar or on your phone so that you are not caught off guard. The list of streaming services and providers is almost endless and growing all the time. If you are trying to cut expenses on your bottom line and a cable/dish provider is the next to go, be sure to spend time evaluating the different offerings and what best suits your needs. Is it watching live TV programs, movies, or binge watching the latest TV series?