Confused about cutting the cord? This free tool will help you
One of the most important decisions to make in cable cutting is whether to include a pay TV channel package on your transmission line.
While live streaming packages like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and Sling TV offer many of the same channels you get with cable, they’re also much more expensive than standalone services like Netflix, which don’t offer traditional cable channels. . absolutely. If you’re okay with sacrificing those channels, you can save a lot more money.
That’s why MyBundle.TV is such an interesting resource. Like other bundle selectors like The Streamable’s Matchmaker and Suppose.TV, MyBundle is a free website where you pick your favorite channels and get a list of matching streaming packages. The difference is that MyBundle also suggests alternatives à la carte based on your preferences.
I first wrote about MyBundle.TV a couple of years ago, shortly after its initial launch. Since then, the site has become much more polished and has added some new features to help you manage your subscriptions. As the cost of streaming live TV continues to rise, the unbundled approach is worth revisiting.
To group or not to group?
MyBundle.TV’s bundle selector works much the same as it did a couple of years ago:
Visit the site and click the “Find my package” button.
Answer a few basic questions about your viewing preferences along with any streaming devices and services you already have.
Choose the channels you want from the list. (You can also search for specific channels or filter them by genre.)
The site will then give some recommendations: the main selection spares no expense and includes all your favorite channels, assuming they’re available without cable, while a second “value” option removes some channels in search of further savings.
Below those options is where things get interesting, as MyBundle suggests cheaper a la carte options based on the channels you chose. Discovery+, for example, becomes an alternative to the Food Network or Discovery Channel, while Peacock becomes an alternative to NBC. If you bookmark all your local channels, the site will even suggest using an antenna instead of paying for an expensive streaming package.
A starting point
The MyBundle tool isn’t perfect yet. I was surprised that it didn’t suggest Paramount+ or Noggin even when Nickelodeon was on my channel lineup, and it’s not clear enough about what you sacrifice by going the unbundled route. Peacock, for example, doesn’t carry a live NBC feed, and the programming on ESPN+ is mostly different from what you get on ESPN’s cable channel, but MyBundle doesn’t explain any of those caveats.
Still, automated tools like these always work better as starting points, rather than one-stop shops. And MyBundle, to its credit, offers some additional tools to take your research further.
The “Shows and Movies” section of the website, for example, allows you to search for specific shows to see what streaming services they’re on. If you create an account on the site, you can also add programs to a watchlist, which can help you decide which services are worth paying for.
And if you’re worried about the cost of all these subscriptions, the “My Apps” section of the site lets you create a list of all your services and shows you the total cost. You can also edit the price of each service, which is useful to take into account promotions and gifts.
How does MyBundle make money from all this? Like most sites of its kind, it charges affiliate fees when you sign up for streaming services through its website. But the startup has also partnered with cable companies to offer a co-branded version of the service, CEO Jason Cohen told me in a recent interview. (CenturyLink, for example, offers the package selection tool directly on its website.)
While you may think cable providers don’t want you to cut your cord, Internet service is much more profitable for them than TV service anyway. Having seen the writing on the wall for traditional TV, they prefer to help customers find a streaming plan, especially if they can get a cut of sales commissions.
Cohen also has more ideas in store. MyBundle will soon offer direct billing for some services (it declined to say which ones) so customers can manage subscriptions without leaving the site, and will add a catalog of free (ad-supported) movies and shows as an alternative to sites like Pluto TV. and Tubi. Native mobile apps are also on the way, followed by apps for streaming TV platforms, similar to those offered by Reelgood and JustWatch. The apparent goal is to create an all-encompassing service for figuring out how to cut the cord, manage your subscriptions, and decide what to watch.
Still, meeting that vision will take a lot of work. I’d love it, for example, if MyBundle could analyze your viewing habits to help you decide which services to add or remove, and your My Apps page would benefit greatly from having links to account pages for each service. Even the main bundle creation feature could be refined with better explanations of what each streaming service offers.
For now, though, it’s still a helpful first step in understanding your cord-cutting options, as you recognize that you may not need a huge TV package after all.
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Jared Newman covers personal technology from his remote post in Cincinnati. It also publishes two newsletters, adviser for technical advice and weekly cable cutter for help getting rid of cable or satellite TV.