Cord-cutters rejoice! Hulu is planning an online cable-style TV service

If successful, this could add a powerful new option for cable-free households that still want live TV.

  • close
    The Hulu logo on a window at the Milk Studios space in New York (June 27, 2015). Hulu will offer a live-streaming service in 2017 that will offer a mix of cable and broadcast programming as well as news, sports and events. That pits the streaming service against similar offerings from Sling TV and PlayStation Vue as more and more Americans shift to watching TV online.
    Dan Goodman/AP/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

Hulu, long known as the destination for TV episodes a day or two after they air, wants to get into live broadcasting. They announced an online streaming package last week that would include broadcast and cable channels. If successful, this could be a game changer, as cable-free households could have a new, perhaps better option for live TV.

Most Networks, Some Cable, and Even DVR for $40 a Month

Customers would be able to stream entire channels in the package for a monthly fee. Partners include 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Company, and Comcast's NBCUniversal, so their channels are likely to be part of the deal. Hulu wants to introduce the package early next year, and while there aren't exact pricing details yet (that's something still being discussed), executives do expect the new service package to cost about $40 per month.

There are rumors the new service could also include a "cloud-based digital video recorder". This would be a huge selling point for users who miss having such an option via cable or satellite subscriptions.

Personalized Viewing, Targeted Ads

The new service reportedly won't resemble a regular cable channel. Instead, it's going to offer a more intuitive, personalized experience. The bad news (or good news, depending on how you feel about commercials), is that it would also allow for more targeted ads. You wouldn't be able to completely do away with commercials, but at least the ones you see might be more relevant.

Rivalries Could Lead to Similar Services

This is a bold move from Hulu, but there's a chance that traditional cable and satellite providers might see this move as a declaration of war. Additionally, any networks left out of the new package could band together and form a rival service.

Traditional cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable are customers of Disney, Fox, and other TV networks. If Hulu is able to license live content from these networks as part of its digital service, Disney and Fox could end up competing with their own biggest customers.

Get Live TV Now With These Other Options

Though Hulu is the biggest name to throw its hat in the ring for live TV streaming, it's not the only choice. The cheapest option is probably investing in a digital antenna. It'll only set you back the cost of the antenna, which can be as low as $10. Once you hook it up, you'll be able to receive digital broadcasts of your local affiliates, plus other channels like MeTV, depending on where you live.

If you want more than local channels and old movies, you can also invest in Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. Subscriptions start at $20 per month and $30 per month, respectively; you can add even more channels to both services for additional monthly fees.

This article first appeared at DealNews.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.




Save for later


Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items