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Video streaming services that let you cut cable TV

Services like FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV try to replicate cable TV with lower monthly bills—but prices are rising.

While some streaming services, such as Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Netflix, are really designed to be additions to the channels you get with a pay-TV service, a number of streaming services aim to let you cut the cord on a traditional pay-TV package by giving you access to familiar channels.

These include AT&T’s DirecTV Stream, the sports-focused FuboTV service, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and Google’s YouTube TV. All combine at least a few live local channels with a smattering of cable networks, at prices that typically range from about $35 to $70 per month. Most services let you add genre-based channel packs, plus premium networks such as HBO Max or Showtime, for an additional monthly fee.

The content can vary by region, especially when it comes to local channels. So before signing up, you should go to each company’s website, plug in your ZIP code, and see what’s available in your area. In general, video streaming services have been adding more local broadcast channels, such as ABC and CBS, but these are not always available in smaller communities.

If you’re missing some local channels, consider adding an antenna to get free over-the-air broadcasts. When we tested indoor models, some testers received dozens of channels and subchannels at their homes, and the picture looked even better than what they were getting from cable.

Many—but not all—of the cable-replacement services offer a free trial period. Because most require a credit card number, you’ll have to keep track of when the trial period ends and cancel if you don’t want to continue the service.

Prices for many packages have been rising. Because the details can change often, it’s important to check the latest offers before signing up. Consumer Reports

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