Tech Savvy: More bang for your buck


Naming all the deals available on the market for phone, TV and music services would take much more room than I have to write this column and more more time than I have to work in a week, so I’m going to stick with a few notable ones I came across through my research involving phone plans and streaming services.

AT&T and DirecTV

Because of AT&T’s partnership with DirecTV, two of the company’s unlimited phone plans include 35+ TV channels for customers to stream on their phones, along with on-demand, which offers episodes of certain shows on included channels to watch any time, much like a streaming service. The Unlimited and More Premium plan also lets customers choose from one of the seven following premium entertainment services: Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, STARZ, VRV, Amazon Music or Pandora Premium.

The Unlimited and More plan is $70 per month for one line, while the Unlimited and More Premium is $80 per month. Prices per line decrease as more lines are added.

Sprint and Hulu

At Sprint, an unlimited plan includes a subscription to the streaming service Hulu. The basic Hulu package, valued at $5.99, provides users with select TV shows, movies and Hulu original series/movies. The caveat, however, is advertisements. Hulu’s main competitor Netflix does not have advertisements with its subscriptions; however, the price is higher as well. But if you happen to like the choices on Hulu better, a Sprint Unlimited plan—for $60 a month for line—might be the way to go.

Or if you’re big on music and are willing to spend a little more cash, Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan—for $10 more a month—includes a subscription to Tidal, a music, podcast and video streaming service. I’ll admit, before writing this column, I had never heard of Tidal, which just goes to show how many options are available for similar services. Separately, a basic Tidal subscription is $9.99 per month, while a higher quality sound version goes for $19.99.

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T-Mobile and Netflix

But for those who prefer Netflix, a T-Mobile plan could get you one for free. Two or more lines of the T-Mobile One unlimited plan includes a complimentary Netflix subscription. One step up from the basic plan, this Netflix subscription is akin to the $10.99 plan, allowing streaming on two devices simultaneously. Of course, this deal doesn’t work for those of us on a plan by ourselves, but it’s an option for families or those who have joint plans. In addition to Netflix, starting March 26, this deal will include MLB.TV, a service allowing baseball fans to watch any and all professional games all season long on phones, tablets and other compatible devices, and even up to four games at once with a multi-view option.

Two lines under this plan are $60 each per month, with the price decreasing as more lines are added.

Verizon and Apple Music

If you’re not much of a TV person but would rather have more options related to music, Verizon may be your best bet. The company’s three unlimited plans include six months of free Apple Music for both Android and Apple users. Regularly priced at $9.99 a month, Verizon customers can get access to Apple Music for $40 per line per month with the Go Unlimited plan, $50 with the Beyond Unlimited plan or $60 with the Above Unlimited plan. As far as I can tell, data speeds and international services make up the differences among the three plans.

Apple Music allows users to stream songs online ad-free or download for offline listening, too.

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Galaxy S10 and Spotify

For those who might not be particular about a plan, but are interested in the latest technology, well, that has its perks, too. Just released March 8, the phones in the Samsung Galaxy S10 series are perhaps the newest on the market. The series contains the Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+, with prices ranging from $749.99 to $999.99 for a 128 GB phone, and all the way up to $1,599.99 for a 1 TB S10+. Those prices might sound steep, but among the new features they include is six free months of Spotify Premium and four free months of YouTube Premium.

For those unfamiliar, Spotify is a music streaming service available for free with ads. The Premium version, however, allows users to download songs to listen to offline and does not include ads. The premium version of YouTube works in much the same way—videos available ad-free with the possibility to watch offline.

Coming soon in a future Dispatch Tech Savvy will be a product review of the Galaxy S10.

Google Pixel 3 and YouTube

Similarly, Google’s new Pixel 3 phone, available for $799 or $899 for a bigger screen, comes with six months of free YouTube Premium. A product review of the Google Pixel 3 can be found in the Sunday, Feb. 24, issue of the Brainerd Dispatch or online at

bit.ly/2ETPrsE.

class=’subhead’>Spotify and Hulu

If you’ve already got a phone and plan you’re happy with, but are still looking for more entertainment options, a $9.99 Spotify Premium subscription now includes basic Hulu services—usually costing $5.99—for free. Again, Hulu’s basic package includes ads, so if those aren’t your thing, one of the more expensive packages or even a Netflix subscription would probably be the way to go.

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Again, these deals are just a snapshot of what’s available on the market right now. Of course, checking in with phone companies and streaming services directly is the best way to learn about the latest deals. So whether it’s music, TV, movies or even podcasts you’re looking for, consider starting with your phone or service provider to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.



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