Consumer Reports: Streaming live TV

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Tired of paying a lot for TV, but not ready to cut the cord entirely? Some cable companies now offer skinny TV packages, but another option is an Internet streaming service. (WLS)

Tired of paying a lot for TV, but not ready to cut the cord entirely? Some cable companies now offer skinny TV packages, but another option is an Internet streaming service. Consumer Reports said some of the newest players offer lots of channels for less money.

YouTube has come a long way from cats and PSY. YouTube TV has launched in major cities, including Chicago. It offers 40 streaming cable channels, including Disney, ESPN, even some regional sports networks, for $35 per month.

"That's a great price, but remember there are channel tradeoffs with these slimmer streaming services. So if you can't live without a certain channel, make sure it's offered before you sign up," said Jim Willcox, Consumer Reports.

For example, right now YouTube TV doesn't offer Comedy Central, CNN, HBO, HGTV and a few other channels, though you can pay extra to get Showtime.

Sling TV starts at $20/month, but its $40 "All Channels" package includes 50 channels, add-ons for local broadcast, sports, movies and premium channels range from $5-$15 per month.

Direct TV Now has a promotional price of $35 per month for 60 channels or $60 per month for more than 100 channels.

"One thing to remember: All these streaming services require a smart TV or streaming media player and a decent broadband connection. If your Internet service isn't fast enough, they might not be the best choice," Willcox said.

If you have a lot of TVs, you might have to limit how many people are watching at the same time since each service limits the number of simultaneous streams.

Hulu also just launched its streaming TV service called Hulu Live.

CobbleCord is an easy-to-use website that can help you pick the TV service that's best for your personal viewing preferences.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
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