Disney isn’t the only TV network in town. Universal Kids is not only widely available now but offers a wide array of quality programming your entire family can enjoy together. Launched in 2005 by NBC as a cable-only network, you can now watch Universal Kids without cable thanks to low-cost internet TV services.
Let’s take a closer look at your top 5 options to watch Universal Kids without having to deal with the high cost and lengthy contracts that come with traditional cable TV.
Low-Cost Options to Get Universal Kids Without Cable
NBC’s Universal Kids TV network offers a wide selection of kids programming, including classics like Barney, and interesting new additions, such as American Ninja Warriors Junior. All of this programming can be accessed using low-cost “skinny bundle” internet TV services. There are 5 internet TV services that offer Universal Kids without cable:
You’ll get quite a few benefits from internet TV compared to cable, such as no long term contracts (you can pay month-to-month without any fee for canceling), no need to buy or rent additional equipment, and a host of useful features, such as simultaneous streaming and cloud DVR.
For comparison’s sake, if I wanted to get Universal Kids through Comcast in my area, I’d have to sign a year-long contract for “$59.99/month at a minimum for 140+ channels”. But when you look at the details, that advertised cost also includes a $10/month Broadcast TV Fee, $8.25/month Regional Sports fee, equipment installation fee, taxes, and other fees. My total cost would be closer $80 per month the first year, and much more after Comcast’s “introductory” price.
Meanwhile, I could instead opt for a cord-cutting service like fuboTV and get Universal Kids and 80+ other channels for $44.99 per month. That comes without special fees and no long-term contracts.
With those benefits in mind, let’s look at each of these cord-cutting services in more detail.
Once primarily a streaming service for international soccer fans, fuboTV now offers much more. You’ll get a healthy mixture of sports, news, and entertainment channels from fuboTV, including Universal Kids and other kid-focused networks.
Channels and pricing
Those interested in fuboTV will find a very simple selection of channel packages. For most customers, your options are between the “fubo” or “fubo Extra” packages:
If you’re trying to save as much money as possible through fuboTV, you’ll want to opt for the lower-cost “fubo” package. This package includes 80+ channels, depending on your geographic location. However, Universal Kids comes with the package regardless of your location.
You can get Universal Kids for $44.99 per month through the “fubo” package. You’ll also get popular sports networks like NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and Fox Sports, as well as several local broadcast networks. The “fubo” package also includes must-have entertainment channels like Discovery, History, AMC, and HGTV.
The upgraded “fubo Extra” package costs an $5 per month and adds about 20 channels to your package. The additional channels cover a mixture of sports and entertainment.
With fuboTV, you’ll get a cloud DVR, simultaneous streaming options, and the option to stream on quite a few different devices and platforms.
Your fuboTV account comes with a 30-hour cloud DVR and a 72-hour rewind feature. The cloud DVR lets keep your videos indefinitely, or until you start running out of space. The 72-hour rewind works on a selection of channels and lets you watch live broadcasts you may have missed and forget to record. You can increase your DVR to 500 hours with a $9.99 per month upgrade.
If you want to share your account, you can easily do so thanks to fuboTV offering 2 device streams per account. And if 2 isn’t enough, you can add a third stream for $5.99 per month.
For those who want to use fuboTV on more than one device, the service has a large number of functional apps. You can stream directly from your computer’s web browser, or on your iOS or Android device. There are also apps for TV devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Apple TV.
fuboTV offers a 7-day free trial for new subscribers interested in giving it a shot.
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Hulu + Live TV is a joint venture between several major media companies to help compete in the market. While Hulu has been available for several years now, their Live TV service is still relatively new, and a good option for cord-cutters.
Channels and pricing
As of February 2019, you can get Hulu + Live TV for either $44.99 per month or $50.99 per month. All Hulu + Live TV subscriptions include Hulu’s on-demand library. The $44.99 per month option will display ads through the on-demand library, while the $50.99 per month plan removes on-demand ads. You can’t remove ads on for the Live TV channels, however.
Both packages come with the same line-up of channels, including Universal Kids. There are add-on channel packages, as well, but the basic lineup comes with the channel you want, as well as popular networks like ESPN, Disney XD, Animal Planet, History, and more.
As stated earlier, access to Hulu’s full on-demand library is the biggest feature with Live TV. However, you’ll also get a quality DVR, simultaneous streams, and wide device support.
Your subscription price includes a 50-hour cloud DVR with unlimited recording. You’ll only lose older videos when you choose to delete them, or when you start hitting your storage limit. You can also increase your storage limit to 200 hours with a $9.99 per month add-on.
If you want to share an account, Hulu + Live TV is a great choice. By default, you get 2 simultaneous streams per account. However, you can also increase that limit with Hulu’s Unlimited Screens plan for $9.99 per month. Unlimited Screens lets you watch on as many devices as you want so long as they’re all on the same Wi-Fi network and up to 3 devices that are not on the same network.
If you’re considering both the DVR and simultaneous streaming upgrades, you can combine them for $15.99 per month to save a few bucks.
If Hulu + Live TV is a top consideration for you, you’ll be glad to know it also has extremely wide device support. Web browsers work, as do most iOS and Android devices. You can also stream directly on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, and more.
YouTube TV has one of the most interesting services on the market, mostly because of the high-tier features it offers at no additional cost.
Channels and pricing
YouTube TV keeps its pricing option simple. You can watch 60+ channels for just $40 per month. That option includes Universal Kids, as well as many popular networks you and your kids will enjoy together, like Disney XD and Disney Channel. You’ll also get a wide selection of sports networks and more local broadcasters than most other services offer.
Outside of its rock-bottom cost, YouTube TV is a good option for Universal Kids without cable because of the features.
To start, you’ll get a huge cloud DVR. YouTube TV offers unlimited cloud DVR recording with a 9-month expiration date on your videos. And for those sharing an account, the service also lets you create up to 6 individual user profiles, all of which get their own unlimited cloud DVR as well.
You can stream on up to 3 devices at a time with YouTube TV, more than most services on the market. You also won’t pay an extra fee for that third stream.
YouTube TV has good device coverage. You can stream on iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and some smart TVs. The biggest limitation is the lack of a native app for Amazon Fire TV devices.
PlayStation Vue is a great service, but as an option for Universal Kids without cable, its pricing gets dangerously close to traditional cable. Nevertheless, a host of useful features and the lack of a long-term contract make it an option to consider.
Channels and pricing
This service’s channel package options are a bit more cable-like in their approach. There are 4 packages to choose from:
- Access: 45+ channels, $45/month
- Core: 60+ channels, $49.99/month
- Elite: 80+ channels, $59.99/month
- Ultra: All Elite channels plus HBO/Showtime, $79.99/month
If you want Universal Kids, you’ll need to opt for the “Elite” channel package. That’s nearly $60 per month for 80+ channels, depending on where you live. Obviously, the channel package includes a large number of popular, must-have networks, but it is among the most expensive options you’ll find on this list for access to Universal Kids.
If PlayStation Vue seems like a no-go, due to its cost, the features might draw you back in.
With PlayStation Vue, you’ll get an unlimited cloud DVR recording, with a 28-day expiration date on videos. That’s similar to what YouTube TV offers, although with a noticeably more limited expiration date.
However, PlayStation Vue offers far more than YouTube TV does if you want to share an account. You can stream on up to 5 devices at the same time, which is the most in the industry without paying extra for the privilege. You can also create 10 unique user profiles, and each profile user gets their own cloud DVR storage.
Despite the name, PlayStation Vue is not exclusive to PlayStation consoles. While there is a dedicated app for those consoles, you can also stream on iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and directly through your web browser.
If PlayStation Vue’s features and service sound interesting, Sony offers a 5-day free trial.
DirecTV Now rounds out the bottom of our list, mostly because of how much you’ll pay to access Universal Kids without cable through this service, and because of its somewhat lackluster features.
Channels and pricing
At present, DirectTV Now has 4 channel packages to offer:
- Live A Little: 65+ channels, $40/month
- Just Right: 85+ channels, $55/month
- Go Big: 105+ channels, $65/month
- Gotta Have It: 125+ channels, $75/month
Note that these channel packages may be changing in the near future. DirecTV Now has announced that it plans to shake things up a bit with its channel packages and lower its top price. For now, however, if you want Universal Kids through DirecTV Now, your best option is the $65/month “Go Big” package.
Yes, that comes with 105 popular (and some less-than-popular) networks, but it’s also painfully close to what you’d pay through traditional cable.
That said, unlike with traditional cable, you won’t be stuck with a long-term subscription package through DirecTV Now, and you don’t have to worry about hidden price increases after the first year, or those hidden fees that make traditional cable a headache to deal with.
Since it first launched a few years ago, DirecTV Now has struggled to compete when it comes to features. That said, it’s made notable progress in a few areas in the past year.
With DirecTV Now, you can stream on up to 2 devices at the same time, with a third stream available for an additional $5 per month. The service also includes a 72-hour rewind feature for many channels, which is a boon for those that may forget to record using the DVR.
The cloud DVR is, however, DirecTV Now’s weakest spot. You’ll only get 20 hours of storage space with this service, and a 30-day expiration date. DirecTV Now is, in fact, the only major cord-cutting service that includes this kind of double limitation on its cloud DVR.
On a more positive note, though, DirecTV Now has some good device coverage. Most devices you may want to use are available, including iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, several smart TVs, and Xbox consoles, among others.