For as long as I can remember, I’ve had some sort of cable TV package. For the last couple of years, it’s been YouTube TV, but the recent battle with NBC made me look at what YouTube TV has to offer that I don’t already get elsewhere—as it turns out, not much.
When I first signed up for YouTube TV (and long before), there were specific reasons I “needed” a live TV or cable package. Some content just wasn’t available anywhere else; shows that my wife and I have been watching for years. The Walking Dead was only available on AMC (unless you wanted to watch it a season behind on Netflix), American Horror Story was exclusive to FX, and so on.
I’m also a huge basketball fan—nay, a huge Chicago Bulls fan—so I wanted access to ESPN, TNT, ABC, and NBA TV. I got all of that and more from YouTube TV, and the price when I first signed up was the best on the market. There was truly a lot to love about YouTube TV, especially for my family and me, when I first signed up.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and it’s just something I haven’t thought about in a long while. Despite YouTube TV raising its prices from $49 to $65 over a year ago, I didn’t reassess what we were actually using YouTube TV for.
But something happened along the way: I also signed up for other services. At first, we had YouTube TV and Netflix because it seems like we’ve had Netflix since the dawn of time. We later added Hulu, which evolved into the Disney+ bundle and also includes ESPN+. Then we subbed to HBO Max, AMC+, and Discovery+.
The whole thing happened over a long timeline, so I didn’t notice the overlap in content. That is until last week when YouTube TV and NBC were going at it. I asked myself, “Do we even watch anything on these channels?” —as it turns out, yes. I watch a lot of bike racing, which comes on The Olympic Channel. I looked into where else I could get access to that in case the pair couldn’t come to a deal (they did), and there’s an easy answer there: NBC’s Peacock TV.
But that made me realize something: Between Hulu, Discovery+, AMC+, ESPN+, and NBA League Pass, I already have access to everything we initially subscribed to YouTube TV for. At that moment, I realized I could ditch our YouTube TV subscription and save $70 a month. I’ll add Peacock during bike racing season (just like I do for NBA League Pass during basketball season), and I’ll have access to pretty much everything we watch.
While YouTube TV started as the most economical way for us to get access to the programing we care about, the introduction of dedicated streaming services has muddied the waters to the point where YouTube TV no longer offers the value it once did. This is especially true when you consider that we subscribed to these other services regardless of our YouTube TV status—the exclusive and on-demand access offered by Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and others is something my family has come to rely on.
We can watch everything we care about whenever we want. As an added bonus, we also get everything else on the service—more on demand content than we could ever watch. The entire Disney catalog, Hulu exclusives, Shudder’s service bundled with AMC+, and so much more.
And that’s the crux of the whole situation: We’ve slowly added various streaming services as they launched, but I never took the time to evaluate why we still kept access to YouTube TV. The same could be said for almost any other live TV service, too. If you have access to multiple services, it’s probably a good idea to re-evaluate your services occasionally.
If I were to break this down by price, it looks a little something like this:
- The Disney+ Bundle: $13.99/mo
- Netflix: $17.99/mo
- AMC+: $8.99/mo
- Discovery+: $6.99/mo
- HBO Max: $15.99/mo
- NBA League Pass: $17.99/mo
- Peacock TV: $5.99/mo (with ads)
Getting rid of YouTube TV basically pays for most of those services—it’s a price difference of just $21 ($65/mo for YouTube TV, $86 for all other combined services). If I switch some of these services to yearly instead of monthly, I’ll save even more money. I usually start with a monthly subscription to see if we’ll actually use and enjoy the service, then pivot to a yearly sub if it seems worthwhile.
All this is to say one thing: While we’ve all complained about every network and channel seemingly launching its own service, there’s something to say for the convenience of having everything you watch on demand (save for live sports) without the need to sort through a guide, set up recordings, and other minor hassles that come with a live TV service.
This is probably the closest we’ll come to true a la carte TV, so it’s time to embrace it.