If you were busy chasing kids around during this month’s CES trade show, you may have missed the buzzy launch of Sling TV. The streaming service made headlines by announcing a deal with just one channel that has so far eluded potential cord cutters: ESPN. But there’s another channel Sling serves up that will make your kids stop running around and take notice, too: The Disney Channel.
Sling TV launches next month and, for $20 a month, will stream a limited channel offering that includes CNN, the Food Network, TNT and HGTV (see the whole lineup here). With a la carte providers like Netflix and Amazon offering increasingly compelling original content to go with their on demand archives, and the major sports league packages available for streaming as well, Sling TV makes it worth asking: Is it time to part ways with the cable and satellite behemoths that are likely sucking $100 dollars or more out of your wallet every month?
Using Slate’s handy cord-cutter’s calculator, we priced out a few streaming packages to see how they stacked up.
The “Up To Speed Around The Water Cooler” Package
Amazon Prime + Hulu Plus + Netflix + Sling TV = $542.76/year
This package gets you your House Of Cards andTransparents, along with Hulu’s epic back catalog, plus Sling’s offering of food and home-related reality programming, for nearly half of an average cable bill.
The “My Kid’s College Plan Is Pegged To A 3-Team Parlay” Package
NBA League Pass + MLB.tv + NHL Game Center + Sling TV + a digital antenna for over-the-air football broadcasts = $574.94/year
This is more live games than you could watch in a lifetime, plus all the screaming ESPN talking heads you can handle. For a cable package that gets you more than just home-market NFL games (and nothing else), you’ll pay more than double.
The “My Wife Is Very Suspicious Of This Cord Cutting Thing” Package
Amazon Prime + Hulu Plus + Netflix + Sling TV + CBS All Access + HBO Streaming (available April 2015) = $794.64/year
Consider this the “I can’t believe it’s not cable” plan. Now you’re catching Game Of Thrones, Steven Colbert’s debut in Letterman’s seat and all 375 CSI‘s, and still coming in several hundred dollars less than the average cable plan.
There are 2 fixed costs to keep in mind with Sling TV. First, you still need to pay for high-speed internet every month. Second, if you want it streamed to your television, you need to purchase a Roku ($100), which is currently the only set top box that supports the service. Then again, streaming to your phone and tablet might be all you need — watching TV peacefully from a couch is for guys without kids to chase all over the house.