Column: In a sea of streaming services, here’s a paddle through the rough waters

A short breakdown of some popular streaming services. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

In a period so flooded with streaming services, it can be hard to navigate and decide which programs to pay for and which ones to pass on. Here’s a list of my recommended packages catered toward the content that you enjoy most.

The best overall deal for penny pinchers

As a broke college student, I really try to cut costs wherever I can. I used Spotify’s free version with ads every 30 minutes, which is much more bearable when listening to hour-long podcasts (the ads don’t run until after the “track”).

However, over the course of the break, I discovered the best deal that I could find from any of the streaming giants. For $4.99 per month, with student identification, I was able to get Spotify, Showtime, and Hulu (ad-supported) for 12 months. Hulu and Spotify are probably the most used of the bundle, as I haven’t found much use from the Showtime subscription (however, some titles like Dexter and Homeland are offered from the service). For the price, it really can’t be beaten.

However, there are some stipulations that might come in the way of that sweet digital content. According to the advert’s page, the package is only available for “higher education students who haven’t already tried Premium.” While I’m not sure exactly how they judge this, I know that I had Spotify Premium for a brief period in high school when the price was $0.99 per month. However, it might not be available for current Premium subscribers, which is a bummer for those already listening to tunes ad-free.

The best deals for sports fans

It’s a harsh, cold world for sports fans today. The cable companies, which have long controlled the airwaves, are still holding monopolies on the sports streaming markets. It’s almost impossible to access live sports content without an expensive cable subscription.

However, there are a few ways (although not ideal) where a sports junkie can get their fix. If live sports isn’t important to you, there’s always ESPN+, coming in at $5.99 per month (combo with Hulu ad-supported and Disney plus for $12.99 per month) which offers sports-related streaming content, like their famous 30 for 30 series. However, when college football season comes around, I prefer live TV, and that’s where the costs get higher than single digits.

From my analysis, the best deal is with YouTube TV, but it’s important to look around at channels offered.

YouTube’s reach into the live television market offers a lot for sports fans, giving big channels like MLB network, NBA TV, ESPN, ESPNU, and the NFL network for $64.99 per month.

While that’s a lot on one budget, split between 3 roommates in one apartment, and the cost can fall to around $22 per month. Still fairly pricey, but might be worth it depending on how much you value live sporting content.

It also offers no cancellation fees, so when you finish watching the final week of games, you can give your budget a break before the season rolls around again.