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.