Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Cable déjà vu? Look who's bundling streaming services (and what it's going to cost you)

Comcast's 'Xfinity StreamSaver' package includes Peacock Premium, Netflix, and Apple TV+ at a discount. Many more bundled services are on the way. But will they save you money over the long haul?
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
A glowing TV with hand holding remote in front of it
Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

A few years ago, I saw streaming services already following in cable TV's footprints with higher rates and similar packages. Now, old-school cable company Comcast is rolling out Xfinity StreamSaver, a package of Netflix Standard with ads, Peacock Premium with ads, and Apple TV+ for $15 per month, with no annual contracts.

This StreamSaver bundle is available for current and new Xfinity Internet or TV customers. You can also combine the bundled streaming services with NOW TV for an all-in-monthly price of $30. That's a discount of over 30% compared with subscribing to the services separately.

Also: 6 ways to save money on TV streaming without losing the shows you love

NOW TV is Comcast's lightweight live TV streaming service. It comes with 40+ live TV channels, including AMC, A&E, Hallmark, History Channel, and Lifetime, plus over two dozen integrated FAST channels. These are primary regional streaming channels such as AccuWeather, NBC News, TODAY All Day, and Xumo Movies. Unlike Sling TV and YouTube TV, it does not come with local network channels.

In any case, you can only get this service if you're an Xfintiy Internet or TV customer. Comcast Xfinity also handles all the billing for the separate services. You'll just pay the one bill, and you're done. 

All these apps are integrated into Comcast X1, Xumo Stream Box, and Flex devices. Comcast is also providing StreamSaver apps for other streaming devices, such as Apple TV and smart TVs. 

This is only part of the new trend of streaming service bundling. Disney and Hulu started packaging their services together this March under the cumbersome name Hulu on Disney+. With ads, this package costs $9.99 a month. Without them, it's $19.99 a month.  

Also: The best live TV streaming services of 2024

You can also add ESPN+ to this combo for $14.99 a month with ads or $24.99 without them (except on ESPN+ which will still have ads). Before you get too excited, remember this is just the Hulu streaming service, not Hulu + Live TV. If you want Hulu + Live TV and Disney and ESPN+, that will run you $76.99 with ads or $89.99.

There's still more, though. Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery will soon offer a bundle that combines Disney Plus, Hulu, and Max. We don't know what this bundle will cost yet, but we'll know soon. It should be made available this summer. It will also offer ad and ad-free versions. This as-of-yet unnamed service will also include BBC, CNN, DC, Discovery, Food Network, FX, HGTV, Marvel, Pixar, Searchlight, and Warner Bros. networks.

But wait! There's yet another bundle from Disney and Discovery coming. In this one, they join forces with Fox to launch a new streaming sports online service: Venu Sports. It will include the ESPN channels, FS1, and FS2, ACC Network, Big Ten Network,  SEC Network, TBS, TNT, and TruTV. It will not include CBS and NBC, so most NFL games will not be available on the new network. Venu is expected to arrive before the college football season, so I expect to see it debut in August. We still don't have a price for this sports bundle. Guestimates, though, have Venu coming with a monthly bill of just over $40 a month

Subscribers will also be able to bundle Disney+, Hulu, and/or Max with Venu. This appears to be simply a matter of adding on the services at their usual prices, rather than offering them as a discounted bundle. 

Also: Apple Vision Pro's big assist from Marvel, Disney, and ILM is coming May 30

It's possible Veru won't launch that soon, though. Fubu, the streaming service that has staked its flag as being the best all-sports streaming service, has sued all the companies involved and may yet stop this plan in its tracks. 

What all this means for you, dear reader and TV watcher, is that deciding which streaming services to subscribe to is becoming an ever more complicated question. I expect other streaming services to join the bundling services ring as well.  

In the short run, we'll probably all save some money. To do that, take a long, hard look at what streaming services you're using now, what ones you want, and how much their individual bills add up to. For example, if you're a Comcast customer and you have or want Netflix, Peacock, and Apple TV+, StreamSaver will save you money. It's as simple as that. Indeed, if you're in an area where you have a choice between Comcast and other internet service providers (ISP), Xfinity Internet starts at $25 a month for 300 Megabits per second (Mbps) a month or $50 a month for a Gigabit per second (Gbps). Those are good prices for good broadband. 

Also: 4 ways to connect to the internet for less after the Affordable Connectivity Program expires

We'll have to wait and see what the other bundled services offer and their final price tags. If you're a fan of Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel shows, any package that includes Disney+ will be worth a look. Venu will be good for sports fans, but NFL fans will need to look elsewhere.

In the long run, though, well, we all know what happened with our cable and satellite TV bills over the years. We may yet see a rerun of those ever-increasing bills in our future TV bills. Mind you, we're already seeing that anyway over all the online streaming services. That said, for now, these bundles deserve your attention.

Editorial standards