"But how do you watch …"

That's the question we're asked the most when it comes to cutting the cord and ditching cable TV (or satellite, if that's how you roll) and switching to an all-streaming setup. The good news is that the answer is pretty easy. There's almost nothing that was on cable TV that you can't watch through streaming services. All you need is an internet connection, an email address — and, yeah, probably a credit card.

Streaming services can come individually — think HBO Now or Watch TBS — or together as something that looks and feels more like a traditional cable experience. Multiple channels, multiple packages, with premium add-ons.

A couple of things you have to figure out before you get started, though: What do you want to watch? Which channels are actually important to you, and which ones can you live without? Not every streaming service has the same channels. There's some overlap, and some have exclusives.

What's on which service? Check out the Cord Cutters Channel Matrix!

And how much do you want to pay each month? The math is important, and it's easy to sign up for a half-dozen services without realizing how big the total monthly cost will be.

It's also important to know that most (if not all) streaming services have free trials, so you can try before you buy. And they also don't have contract lock-ins. So if something doesn't work for you, just switch to another.

That said, let's take a quick spin through the major streaming services. All prices listed are monthly.

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now is the streaming side of the satellite television provider. (Both of which are subsidiaries of AT&T.)

The Good: DirectTV Now has one of the larger selections of channels and is available on most major platforms. Its real-time programming guide is simple to understand and is easy to use. Free 7-day trial.

The Bad: Inexplicably not available as a download for Android TV. You can use Chromecast to stream it from phone, though, and some sets that use Android TV as an operating system may have it preloaded. No DVR yet.

To Come: AT&T says support for 4K streams is coming, as is a cloud-based DVR.

DirecTV Now plans

  • Live a Little ($35): More than 60 channels
  • Just Right ($50): More than 80 channels, plus regional sports networks
  • Go Big ($60): More than 100 channels, plus regional sports networks
  • Gotta Have it ($70): More than 120 channels, plus regional sports networks

Devices that work with DirecTV Now

  • Apple TV (4th generation and newer)
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • iOS
  • Android (but not Android TV)
  • Chromecast

Subscribe to DirecTV Now

Sling TV

Sling TV

Sling TV is an offshoot of satellite provider Dish and is the most popular streaming service. It dubs itself "A la carte TV," which gives the connotation that you'll have more control over what you pay for. And you do, though the individual costs can start to add up.

The Good: You can watch Sling on pretty much any device you've got. It has a diverse selection of channels from which to choose, including a base set that you get no matter which package you go with. Free 7-day trial.

The Bad: Sling's "Orange" and "Blue" set of plans can be a little confusing, particularly once you get to its on-screen guide, which isn't the best. You'll also have to choose from a number of additional add-ons, which start at $5 each. Cloud DVR is an additional $5 a month.

Sling TV plans

  • Base plan ($5, mandatory): Includes AMC, CNN,m Comedy Central, Food Network, HGTV and more.
  • Orange ($20): Adds ESPN and Disney channels, Freeform.
  • Blue ($25): Adds BET, Fox, FS1/2, NBCSN, SYFY, USA and more.
  • Orange & Blue ($40): Combines the two plans with a slight discount.
  • Extras: Sling has a HUGE number of add-on packages (starting at $5 a month) that include sports, news, kids content and more.
  • DVR ($5): Sling's cloud-based DVR is an extra charge.

Devices that work with Sling TV

  • Apple TV
  • Android ITV
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Chromecast
  • LG TVs
  • Samsung TVs
  • iOS
  • Android
  • AirTV
  • Xbox One

Sign up for Sling TV

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue

You don't have to own a PlayStation console to use PlayStation Vue (aka PS Vue) as your streaming service. That's a common misconception. But what you do get is an excellent multi-channel streaming service.

The Good: Lots of channel options, with an excellent on-screen guide. Can add in premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime as well. Cloud-based DVR is included. Free 5-day trial.

The Bad: Not the least expensive service, and prices have risen slightly over the past couple of years. Roku and Fire TV apps are slow. Occasional live TV blackouts on certain events or shows.

PlayStation Vue plans

  • Access ($39.99): The basic PS Vue plan, including AMC, CNBC, CNN, DIY, Fox News and more.
  • Core ($49.99): Adds NFL Network, NBA TV, MLB Network and regional sports.
  • Elite ($54.99): Adds EPIX and Machinima movie channels, and more.
  • Ultra ($74.99): Includes HBO and Showtime, and more.
  • Add-ons: Premium movie channels and extra sports can be added, but may require one of the higher-tier plans as well.

Devices that work with PlayStation Vue

  • PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets
  • Apple TV
  • Android TV
  • Web browsers
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Chromecast

Sign up for PlayStation Vue

YouTube TV

YouTube TV

YouTube TV (yes, that YouTube) is the latest live-TV service, and it's definitely one worth considering. YouTube TV also includes streams of local TV channels, a single plan, and a single price.

The Good: A great on-screen menu that's easy to read and easy to use. The inclusion of live local broadcast channels is fun. Free unlimited cloud-based DVR. Accounts can be shared with up to 6 others in a household, and each gets their own DVR. Has a 7-day free trial.

The Bad: Not available in all markets, still a relatively limited number of channels. Local broadcast streams don't have the same quality as over-the-air broadcasts.

YouTube TV plans

One plan, one price — $40 a month for everything YouTube TV offers, including YouTube Red original programming. Premium add-ons: Showtime, Shudder, Sundance Now and Fox Soccer Plus.

Devices that work with YouTube TV

  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Xbox One
  • Roku
  • Samsung TVs
  • LG TVs
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Chromecast

Sign up for YouTube TV

Hulu & Hulu Live

Hulu

Hulu is one service, but with two major options. There's the traditional Hulu service — video-on-demand, with scores of TV shows and movies and original series. And then there's Hulu Live, which as the name suggests is live TV from a good many of the channels you'll find elsewhere. You'll also get live local channels and regional sports (in select areas).

The Good: Hulu has a gorgeous, modern user interface. It looks spectacular. It's easy to use, and the plans are mostly easy to sort through.

The Bad: You're not going to find quite as many live channel options here as you will elsewhere. But that always comes down to what it is you want to watch.

Hulu Plans

The short version is there's Hulu (VOD) with commercials (for $7.99 a month) and Hulu (VOD) without commercials ($11.99). Add in Hulu Live and jumps to $39.99 a month and $43.99 a month, respectively. There are add-on channels and features (like DVR and more simultaneous streams) for additional fees.

Devices that work with Hulu

Everything. Yes, everything. OK, not everything. But pretty darn close. You'll be hard-pressed to find any modern device that doesn't have access to Hulu. Period.

Sign up for Hulu and Hulu Live

Amazon Video

Amazon Video

Amazon Video actually is made up of three components. There's "Amazon Video," which has all kinds of movies and TV shows available to rent or purchase. Then there's "Amazon Prime Video," which brings you a world of content — including some excellent Amazon Originals — for free with your Amazon Prime membership. And finally there's "Amazon Prime Video Channels" — a large contingent of add-on channels (there's a separate subscription fee for each) that includes some interesting niche and international content.

The Good: Pretty much everything you could ever want in an on-demand video service is here. Movies, TV. And if you're a Prime member, there's a ridiculous amount of stuff to watch.

The Bad: The price of being a Prime member has increased 50 percent over the past eight years, landing at $119 a year starting May 11, 2018. But that just means you have to watch more to get your money's worth, right?

Amazon Video Plans

Everything you watch is a la carte with the regular Amazon Video. Amazon Prime Video requires the annual $119 Prime membership. And Amazon Prime Video Channels vary in their monthly price.

Devices that work with Amazon Video

Everything. Amazon Video is pretty much available on anything these days. OK, not a Nintendo Switch. Yet. But everything else.

Sign up for Amazon Prime Video

Netflix

Netflix

You know Netflix. You've seen Netflix. You probably have Netflix. It's a world of on-demand movies and TV shows, along with some really good original content. The lineup changes every month, so there's always something fresh.

The Good: Netflix is ubiquitous. You can watch it on anything, anywhere. And it's also pretty affordable, with a few plan options.

The Bad: There's not enough time in the day for everything. You forget to take care of your children. Seriously, there's no real downside.

Netflix Plans:** Prices range from $7.99 for the most basic service to $13.99 a month if you really want things to look good. And, yes, Netflix still does DVDs, if you're into that sort of thing.

Devices that work with Netflix

Everything. Yes, that too. Everything.

Pluto TV

Pluto is free, and it's got more than 100 channels, many of which you won't get without using a web browser. Basically there's no reason not to hook this one up. Especially if you're, say, under 40 years old.

The Good: Did we mention it's free? Because it's free. And from the moment you first see the activation video, you get the sense that this is something different. (Seriously, you'll want to try this yourself.) Also includes a number of music channels.

The Bad: Lacking most channels you're probably already familiar with. (Unless you're of a younger generation.) No DVR, but plenty of video on demand.

Pluto TV plans

Just kidding. It's free. All you have to do is sign up and activate.

Devices that work with Pluto TV

  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Chromecast
  • Vizio TVs
  • Samsung TVs
  • Sony TVs
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows 10
  • Mac OS
  • PlayStation

Sign up for Pluto TV

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