Streaming TV is getting pricier by the minute

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Apple TV service facing competition
Unfortunately, Streaming TV cost has gone up for all of the biggest players in this market.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

People looking to trim their cable bill turn to a variety of services that offer a smaller selection of channels streamed live over the internet. These streaming TV services go for a substantially lower cost than a traditional cable package.

But many of these aren’t as cheap as they once were. DirectTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV have all hiked prices recently.

Streaming TV cost increases

The latest to increase fees is AT&T’s DirecTV Now. It’s charging $5 more a month, making its cheapest plan $40. This change was made quietly, with no announcement by the company. (These aren’t the only fees AT&T has surreptitiously raised recently.)

Not to left out, Sony’s PlayStation Vue also just bumped up the cost of all its plans by $5. That means the most affordable option just went to $44.99. “We must increase the price of our multi-channel plans to keep pace with rising business costs,” Sony said in a statement.  The change takes effect July 24.

Sling TV was a pioneer in the business of streaming a small collection of live TV channels for a reduced cost. And it still offers the best deal, even if it did raise prices by $5 last month. That makes its lowest-cost offering $25.

YouTube TV started the trend this spring with a (you guessed it) $5 increase. This service is now $40 a month.

Live streaming TV isn’t cable TV

Although they offer cable channels, DirectTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV shouldn’t be confused with cable services. They are streamed over the internet, and the subscriber must purchase internet access separately.

Also, the live TV services are just that: live. They don’t provide any way to watch programs that already aired. It’s now or nothing, like the Neanderthals used to watch TV.

There are iOS apps for all of these services, allowing them to be watched on an iPad or iPhone. There are also Apple TV apps, naturally.