In the ongoing streaming wars, the deciding factor between winning streaming services and losers will always come down to the quality of content offered by each service. While big-name original series get most of the attention, especially during this Emmy season, streams of live TV channels are being offered by more and more streaming services which aim to be more of a cable replacement than a mere on-demand library. Among these streaming services, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV are stepping up to become forces to be reckoned with thanks to their flexibility and low cost. Now, thanks to a new deal with Discovery networks, Hulu Live and Sling TV just got a huge boost as five new Discovery channels and thousands of new on-demand episodes head to these two streaming services. Will live channels be the feature that brings down Netflix?
Over the last few years, services like Sling TV and Hulu have been busy making deals with cable networks to secure live streams of cable and local channels for cable cutters who want to retain access to cable programming and a cable-like experience. As more streaming services add more live channels, that experience is easier than ever to obtain for a much lower cost than cable. This new deal between Discovery, Sling, and Hulu will see Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Motor Trend, and Animal Planet join the lineup of live channels available to stream on the two streaming services in addition to the three Discovery networks which were already available: HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel.
In addition, the on-demand libraries of both Sling TV and Hulu will pick up thousands of episodes of popular Discovery programs like Deadliest Catch, MythBusters, Say Yes to the Dress, Naked and Afraid, Property Brothers, Gold Rush, Street Outlaws, Chopped, Chopped Jr., Fixer Upper, and House Hunters. Just the kind of educational, informative content you’d expect from Discovery.
In a Hulu press release, Discovery’s President of Affiliate Distribution Eric Phillips says that the deal will continue to expand discovery’s commitment to offering family-friendly entertainment spread across a variety of platforms:
At Discovery, we are committed to bringing our portfolio of high-quality, safe family friendly brands and content to viewers across every screen, service and device around the world. Our new agreement with Hulu affirms the strength of our brands and their value to viewers in a marketplace with an increasing array of options.
One of the most popular features currently appearing on more and more streaming services is a selection of live TV channels, formerly only available to cable subscribers. I just have to wonder, though: is streaming merely becoming the new cable? Sure, the prices are lower and packages smaller, but might that change as more cable cutters opt for these live TV streaming packages? What’s the real difference in watching cable programming over an internet connection as opposed to a coaxial cable?