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According to a recent report, American cord-cutters — those who have severed ties with traditional cable or satellite plans — now number about 50.4 million. But even if you haven’t fully taken the plunge, you probably subscribe to at least one streaming platform, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Netflix. The streaming revolution has led to an explosion of new content and saved many of us big bucks on cable bills, but let’s face it: It can get complicated! Which services can you watch for free? And which are worth your money? Should I be bundling? What is bundling? Are there any deals I’m missing out on? These seven tips will help you make sense of the streamers, learn about niche services to add to your bingeing repertoire and, we hope, save you some bucks.
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1. Consider bundling
Much like shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club, there are deals to be had when you buy in bulk. Take, for instance, the Disney Bundle, which gets you access to Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $13.99 a month. If you subscribed to each separately, that would cost $21.97, so bundling results in a savings of 36 percent. Similarly, you can bundle Paramount+ and Showtime for only $9.99 a month or $12.99 for the premium plan, which also includes live access to your local CBS station and no ads on streaming content.
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2. Check if streaming is included with your cable subscription
If you haven’t officially cut the cord, there’s a good chance that you may already have access to a few great streaming services. HBO, for one, offers HBO Max access to most of its existing customers (you can check the handy “Do I already have access to HBO Max?” guide to confirm). Showtime, similarly, provides most traditional subscribers access to its Showtime Anytime app.
3. Cut costs by sitting through a few commercials
We’re sure you’ve heard of the big three streamers (Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix), but did you know there are a ton of free ad-supported options out there? So while you may have to watch a few commercials, you don’t have to pay a dime. Think of the following sites as noncombatants in the streaming wars.