Netflix password-sharing crackdown: What to know, plus 5 affordable streaming alternatives to try
Outrage and confusion over a new password-sharing policy at Netflix is dragging on this week, but the news isn't all bad. A since-deleted document detailed plans for the super-streamer to issue a password-sharing crackdown -- a new policy against password sharing. But Netflix has assuaged worries that users could be locked out of their accounts as soon as March.
Even so, the end of password sharing remains near.
Don't like the new policy? Or has the confusion over the fate of your Netflix access turned you off? Fortunately, there are plenty of cheaper options for streaming and watching TV In 2023. Keep reading to find the one that's best for you.
The top products in this article:
Paramount+, $5 and up per month
In a recent statement, the once-iconic DVD-rental subscription service addressed yesterday's Netflix drama, explaining "for a brief time yesterday, a help center article containing information that is only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, went live in other countries." The streaming giant is currently trialing a lockdown on Netflix account-sharing in Chile, Peru and Costa Rica.
However, Netflix has not indicated any intention to reverse its plans to implement password-sharing restrictions in the U.S. later this year. Between the looming threat of losing access to shared accounts and recent Netflix price hikes, subscribers may be searching for a new streaming platform.
If this latest shake-up with Netflix's password-sharing policy has you searching for a more budget-friendly way to watch TV, you're not alone. We've rounded up some of the most affordable streaming subscriptions and alternative TV solutions below.
If you love Paramount content such as MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon or anything related to "Star Trek," then Paramount+ might be for you. The platform is the exclusive streaming home for all things Nickelodeon, boasts five Paramount+ original series in the "Star Trek" universe and boasts big blockbuster titles, like "Top Gun: Maverick" and "The Lost City." Paramount+ also has a slate of exciting upcoming projects, including several new "Yellowstone" spinoffs and reality series, coming to the platform in 2023. You can see what's new on Paramount Plus this month here.
Paramount+ and CBS Essentials are both subsidiaries of Paramount.
How much does Paramount Plus cost?
Paramount+ currently has two subscription tiers available: The Essential plan is ad-supported and costs $5 per month, granting access to the platform's entire library, plus NFL on CBS and UEFA Champions League available via separate live feeds. The Premium plan is ad-free and includes access to your local live CBS station for $10 monthly. You can also try Paramount+ free for one week.
Paramount+, $5 and up per month
Peacock is NBCUniversal's streaming service that, unlike other streaming services on this list, offers a totally free, ad-supported tier that grants access to a limited number of titles in the Peacock library. The platform is now the exclusive home to some popular, binge-worthy sitcoms such as "Parks and Recreation" and "The Office," as well as the streaming hub for any major sporting event airing on NBC, such as "Sunday Night Football" and Premier League games. Sports are a huge part of Peacock's appeal, with live Premier League, WWE and golf games all available for Peacock premium subscribers.
How much does Peacock cost?
Peacock has two tiers -- an ad-supported premium tier for $5 monthly or $50 annually, or an ad-free premium tier for $10 monthly or $100 annually.
While they started out as a streaming underdog, Apple's platform for original shows, movies and even documentaries has now firmly established itself as a low-cost contender for your go-to streaming subscription.
Apple's "CODA" took home the Best Picture title at last year's Oscars, "Ted Lasso" remains one of the internet's darling comedies and newer series such as "Bad Sisters" and "Shrinking" continue to keep viewers coming back to Apple TV+.
Not sure what to watch during your Apple TV free trial? Check out our guide to what to watch on Apple TV+.
How much does Apple TV+ cost?
Apple TV+ costs $7 monthly, but you can check out the platform free for 7 days first. You can also score three months of Apple TV+ free when you purchase a new eligible device from Apple. Apple TV+ is also included in an Apple One subscription.
Sign up for Apple TV+, $7 monthly
Amazon Prime Video
For pre-existing Amazon Prime subscribers, using Prime Video as your go-to streaming platform is practically a no-brainer. The streaming service comes at no extra cost to Amazon Prime subscribers and boasts tons of titles, including Amazon Originals such as "The Boys," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."
Prime Video makes renting any titles that aren't available for free on the platform fairly easy and hassle-free; that function is already connected to your Amazon account. Right now, you can rent many of the 2023 Golden Globe winners for best picture, including "The Banshees of Inisherin," "Everything Everywhere All At Once" and "The Fabelmans" on Prime Video.
How much does Amazon Prime Video cost?
If you aren't already subscribed to Amazon Prime and just want to gain access to the Prime Video library, a membership to Prime Video is available for $9 monthly. Prime Video also offers a 30-day free trial.
Prime Video, free with Amazon Prime
Disney fans can finally rejoice, because their favorite titles are now all in one place. Disney+ has everything from nostalgia-filled Disney Channel Original Movies, to (almost) every Marvel title, including the incoming "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." The platform is jam-packed with kid-oriented content but also has plenty of documentaries, such as "Free Solo" and "If These Walls Could Sing," plus a backlog of adult-geared ABC shows, including "Once Upon A Time."
How much does Disney Plus cost?
An ad-supported Disney+ subscription costs $8 per month, while the ad-free counterpart will run you $11. Currently, Disney+ does not offer a free trial.
Other alternatives to streaming subscriptions
Sick of streaming? Here are some other budget-friendly (and even free) ways to watch TV.
Philo is a great budget-friendly option for the TV watcher looking for a little bit of everything. The platform has more than 60 channels available to watch live or record on unlimited DVR space, including HGTV, History, Discovery, AMC, BBC America, World News, the Hallmark Channel, the Lifetime Movie Channel, plus kids channels such as Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Nicktoons. Philo also has a substantial library of on-demand titles and the option of add-ons including Epix and Starz.
How much does Philo cost?
Philo is available for $25 monthly. New subscribers can try Philo free for one week.
While Sling TV is a great, budget-friendly streaming option for sports fans., it also offers access to a wide range of more than 40 channels, including ESPN, Disney, BBC America, Comedy Central, Discovery, MSNBC, NBC Sports, Syfy, FS1, TBS, and Fox (based on your local available channels).
How much does Sling TV cost?
Sling TV plans start at $40 monthly, with the most expensive base plan starting at $55 monthly. You have the option to add on special packages for an extra fee. New subscribers to Sling TV can try any plan free for three days.
Sling TV, $40 and up per month
Best free live TV streaming service: Pluto TV
Pluto TV is your free trip back to the good old days of surfing those free TV channels in your living room. The fully free streaming service offers more than 200 channels to stream, including content from Comedy Central, MTV, Fuse, the Paramount Movie Channel, Food TV and even kid's channels like Nick Jr. and Pluto TV Kids. There are channels devoted entirely to popular shows as well, so you can always catch an episode of "CSI," "Survivor," "Star Trek," "Dr. Phil" and more.
The platform boasts an ever-changing (and growing) selection of channels, shows and movies to stream live or on-demand, so if you're one of the few who truly miss the opportunity to endlessly scroll, Pluto TV might be right for you.
Indoor HD digital TV antenna
For a flat $29, the U Must Have amplified, indoor HD digital TV antenna will deliver the live content from any free digital channels in your area. No subscription, no monthly fee. Just connect the U Must Have to your set, and watch. It's the 20th century TV-viewing experience with 21st century technology.
Keep in mind that part of the reason cable TV became so popular is that some areas get poor TV reception. Today's digital antennae are far better than the rabbit ears of yore, but even they can only do so much if your home is reception-challenged.
U Must Have indoor HD digital TV antenna, $29
Related content from CBS Essentials:
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- Family streaming guide: The best PG shows and movies including 'Secret Headquarters,' 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' and more
- New on Paramount Plus in January 2023: 'Mayor of Kingstown,' 'Teen Wolf: The Movie' and more
- What's new on Disney Plus this month: "Willow," "Chasing Waves" and more
- Best live TV streaming services: Which one is right for you?
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