Verizon's new 'custom' pay-TV bundles are one step closer to a la carte

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

verizon breaks pay- bundle competition mounts amazon netflix verizon fios dvr verizon fios set-top box hulu plus sports channels a la carte pay tv sling tv channel packs add-on packs

Verizon has become the first major pay-TV provider to radically modify its programming bundles. The new plan, which starts at $54.99 per month, will consist of a base package of 36 channels and two add-on “channel packs.”

The core package is comprised of major networks including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, AMC and CNN. Verizon’s channel packs will add anywhere between 10 to 17 additional channels grouped in the following categories: Lifestyle, Entertainment, News & Info, Pop Culture, Kids, Sports and Sports Plus. Customers will be able to mix and match channel packs each month if they so choose.

The new programming plan can also be bundled with Internet and phone service for additional savings.

verizon breaks pay- bundle competition mounts amazon netflix verizon fios dvr verizon fios set-top box hulu plus sports channels a la carte pay tv sling tv channel packs add-on packs

Verizon’s move is an obvious answer to the rapidly changing broadcasting landscape. Many longtime pay-TV customers are dropping traditional cable providers in favor of cheaper and more flexible alternatives that include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Instant Video and others.

Verizon’s offering is similar in structure to Sling TV which also includes a core package of channels as well as add-on bundles that incur an additional fee. Each offering, however, has its own pros and cons.

As a standalone service, Verizon’s latest is rather expensive at $54.99 per month but bundled with Internet service, things become much more attractive. For example, the base TV package, two add-on packs and 25/25 Mbps Internet service can be had for just $64.99 per month.

Going through a traditional cable provider like Verizon also means you’ll have access to a DVR (which usually incurs a monthly hardware rental fee) and no simultaneous user limitations. What's more, watching television won't count against your month data cap. But again, you’re going to pay for those extra amenities.

With Sling TV, you can save a good bit of money each month and are free to add or drop packages whenever you want. Pricing starts at a flat rate of $20 per month for 20 channels with no hidden fees. There’s no DVR, however, and only HBO offers simultaneous streaming.

Verizon’s new package is set to go live on April 19 to its 5.6 million video subscribers. It’s still not a la carte but it’s yet another step closer.

Image via Variety

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That's what Canal + has being doing in Europe since the past century.

Guest doesn't have traditional DVR capability, but it does provide the ability to watch shows that have already been broadcast. By just scrolling the program list to earlier in time, you can re-watch what you want or missed.


TechSpot Chancellor
If they don't offer any sports channels then they're not really putting up anything different.


TS Evangelist
This is about what I pay now for an ISP, Netflix, Hulu+, and Prime. IF it were available in my area, I still doubt that I would subscribe. I also have 4 OTA tuners and MediaPortal which gives me DVR capability. The extras are just not that much of a draw to me as I only have so much time to watch TV. Plus, I can wait for original series that appear on one of the channels in the package to appear on one of the services I currently have. I may not be able to watch them first-run, but I can watch them none-the-less.

The pdf file linked above - for those who missed it ( describes the packages. It does include sports, however, the document is a bit misleading in that it looks like the extended sports pack incurs an additional fee for "regional sports networks" and you must subscribe to the base sports pack to get the extended sports pack - although the graphic in the document itself implies that you can get the extended sports pack for $10 more.

If this doc came from Verizon, I would think that they should clean this up since my bet is that they will get called out on it because it is misleading.

For me, sports is not a draw, and as I see it, even with this, for me, subscribing to the NHL's streaming service is still a better deal if I were to be drawn to sports programming.

Its a bit better than what I have seen, but it still looks like damage control rather than a real effort to give their subscribers what they want at a price that is reasonable.