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Jennifer Van Grove: A streaming TV state of the union

Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Science & Technology News

When I started this streaming TV column one year ago, we were at a tipping point in TV and entertainment. Today, the pendulum has swung to the side of streamers, who have more choice and customization options, including sports and local stations, than traditional pay TV customers.

As a result, more people than ever are ditching their providers. In fact, eMarketer estimates that the proportion of U.S. adults with a pay TV subscription will fall from 78 percent in 2017 to 69 percent by the end of 2021. Many are migrating to over-the-Internet alternatives.

Of course, you don't need a streaming skinny bundle to get by -- an antenna plus a few subscription digital video services will suffice for extreme bargain hunters. But if you want one, you've got a wide spectrum to choose from.

Last year at this time, you could pick from Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, all of which were still sorting through their local licensing agreements. Since then, the list has more than doubled (and will continue to grow), and the lineups have improved considerably.

As a reminder, here's an overview of what's available now:

Sling TV -- Starting at $20 p/mo.

--Sponsored Video--

Sling TV, from parent company DISH, offers cheap, minimalist bundles with upgrades for people who have niche interests. The $20-per-month plan, called "Sling Orange," gets you around 30 cable networks, including ESPN, HGTV, Food Network and CNN. Just be advised, this package doesn't include local broadcast affiliates.

The $25-per-month package, called "Sling Blue," is a nice step up with more channels and the local Fox station (in select markets including San Diego), NBC on demand, as well as regional sports networks Fox Sports and NBC Sports. What's absent are Disney-owned stations.

Extras: A cloud-based DVR costs $5 more per month. Sling TV also has a variety of add-on packages, costing between $5 and $10 each, to round out service.

Available on: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Roku, Xbox One and some smart TVs.

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