You love the idea of cutting your cable company loose, but you just can’t give up your favorite extended cable channels. And where would you be without the bliss of a full DVR at the end of a long week? The good news is that streaming services aren’t what they used to be, and that’s a good thing. Thanks to modern TV streaming services, like Sling TV and Philo, you don’t have to sacrifice what you love about cable to switch to a cordless option.
Live TV streaming services are different from on-demand streaming platforms. While streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO Max offer a selection of on-demand programming, TV streaming services combine previously aired content with a line-up of live major networks. Live programming line-ups on streaming services often include a blend of local networks like ABC and NBC and national networks like ESPN, CNN, Bravo, and TV Land. Some streaming services, including Roku, have their own branded streaming devices. But you can access nearly any streaming service on your tablet, laptop, smartphone, smart TV, and other internet-connected gadgets. You may even be able to log into your streaming service from a gaming console. Once logged in, you can see your full channel line-up and access your cloud DVR (when applicable).
Read on to compare the best streaming service for your budget and specific content needs.
What are the best live TV streaming services?
Streaming services run the gamut of super affordable platforms with limited channels to more expensive options with line-ups that have hundreds of channels. On some services, like Hulu for example, you can even upgrade your existing account to add live TV so you don’t have to sign up for a brand new service. What we’re saying is, in the world of live TV streaming, there is something for everyone.
Today there’s a long list of services to choose from, but here are the best live TV streaming services of the bunch:
Compare live TV streaming services
Live streaming TV online has never been easier. You’re spoiled for choice. We’ve taken all the features you care about and compared each streaming service in one convenient place. Is the best live TV streaming service for you an option with a low monthly payment, or do you need a service that maximizes your simultaneous streaming potential?
See what the best TV streaming services have to offer in terms of price, titles, channels, DVR space, and more.
|AT&T TV||fuboTV||Hulu + Live TV||Philo||Sling TV||YouTube TV|
|Monthly starting price||$70-95/mo.||$65-80/mo.||$65/mo.||$25/mo.||$35/mo.||$65/mo.|
|Number of titles||40,000+||30,000+||3,000+||25,000+||50,000+||50,000|
|Number of channels||65+||100+||65+||59||50+||70+|
|Number of simultaneous streams||3||2||2||3||1-4||3|
|DVR storage||500 hours||30 hours||50 hours||Unlimited||10 hours||Unlimited|
|Ad-free streaming||No||No||Yes (on-demand content only)||No||No||No|
|Free trial length||None||7 days||7 days||7 days||None||7 days|
How to choose the right live TV streaming service for you
Searching for that special live TV streaming service needn’t be difficult. Know what you want, and you’re halfway there. Consider which channels you need to have access to and which ones you can do without. Next, turn to DVR storage. Do you need hundreds of hours to store tons of episodes? Or can you make do with less?
Do you need a lot of on-demand content to binge all winter? All TV streaming services have thousands of on-demand titles, but some have tens of thousands of titles. And speaking of on-demand content, can you make do with ads? If not, prioritize services with the option to upgrade to an ad-free experience.
Last but certainly not least, think about streaming limits. Does every member of your household like different things? Are you likely to have arguments if people can’t watch what they want when they want? If the answer to both of those is a resounding “yes,” you’ll need a service that offers ample simultaneous streams.
Best for premium networks: AT&T TV
AT&T TV plans and pricing
If Cinemax and HBO are your go-to networks, you’ll love AT&T TV. It’s the only streaming service to include the channels for free — others charge an additional monthly fee on top of the regular subscription price. To pay nothing extra for these two premium networks, you’ll have to choose AT&T TV’s Choice plan. It costs $85/mo. and boasts 90+ channels.
Outside of the Choice package, AT&T TV has three other packages to choose from. The Entertainment plan is the cheapest. Costing $70/mo., it comes with more than 65 TV channels. There’s also the Ultimate package, which will set you back $95/mo. for over 125 channels and the Premiere package for $139.99/mo for 140+ channels. Each comes with a mixture of news, sports, entertainment, and kid channels. Plus, you can personalize each package with add-ons, ranging from movie packs to Spanish-language specials.
Pros of AT&T TV
No matter which package you choose, you’ll get 3 simultaneous streams and AT&T TV’s True Cloud DVR. This allows you to record a whopping 500 hours of content with each movie, game, or episode remaining in your library for 90 days.
Cons of AT&T TV
AT&T TV is not a good option for streamers on a budget. It may be out of the price range for people who are trying to save money by ditching cable. Plus, the picture quality is capped at 720p.
What to watch on AT&T TV
If you opt for a plan that includes HBO (or choose to add the channel), you’ll be able to catch new and recent episodes of popular shows like Insecure and Westworld. With any plan, kids can enjoy cartoons from Disney and Nickelodeon, while adults can soak up the hilarity found on Comedy Central.
Best for sports fans: fuboTV
fuboTV plans and pricing
Sports fans will find their home in fuboTV. A streaming service that started with a soccer focus, fuboTV now features all kinds of content. But it’s never lost its love of sports. In fact, it still airs more than 30,000 live games and events every year. Some are even shown in 4K.
fuboTV has several add-on options. Its standard $65/mo. plan gives you access to over 99 channels, but the service prioritizes personalization. You can add NFL RedZone and 23 other sports channels via the Sports Plus package ($11/mo.). For individual monthly fees, premium networks like AMC Premiere and Showtime can each be added to your package.
Pros of fuboTV
Customizing your fuboTV experience is pretty easy with add-ons. You can even upgrade the service’s DVR and simultaneous stream capabilities. The service offers 30 cloud DVR recording hours, which can be upped to a family-pleasing 500 hours for $10/mo. And another $6 will increase 2 simultaneous streams to 3, so everyone can watch what they want when they want. You can try the service for free for 1 week.
Cons of fuboTV
Some of the most popular features of fuboTV, including unlimited screens, require an additional cost. This can quickly increase monthly costs. Their premium channels don’t include HBO, so you’ll still need an additional subscription if you can’t go without new episodes of Succession.
What to watch on fuboTV
Stay up to date with your favorite international teams, with fuboTV’s extensive soccer coverage. You’ll find English Premier League, German Supercup, and Argentine Superleague games. There are also countless on-demand movies to kick back and relax to. The current list includes Oscar winners like Green Book, titles from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and kid-friendly choices like How to Train Your Dragon.
Best for original on-demand content: Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV plans and pricing
Hulu combines an impressive live TV list with a Netflix-worthy catalog of on-demand titles. And it does it all for one price. Get more than 65 news, sports, kids, and entertainment channels and thousands of on-demand programs for $65/mo. Plus, the package includes all of Hulu’s award-winning original shows.
You can enjoy ad-free on-demand content with the live TV plan for $71/mo. It also gives you the chance to download titles for offline viewing — ideal for frequent travelers.
Opt for the $10/mo. Enhanced DVR add-on to boost Hulu’s storage space from 50 to 200 hours. The same extra monthly cost will also give you every family’s wish: unlimited simultaneous streams. Also, the standard plan only allows 2 people to watch at once. With Hulu + Live TV, a 7-day free trial is available if you want to give it a try before fully committing.
Pros of Hulu + Live TV
Upgrading to Hulu + Live TV is easy if you already have a Hulu account. Plus, you can add the Hulu app to your Roku, Fire TV stick, and many other streaming devices for easy access to your content. You can also add Spanish language content or additional entertainment channels with add-ons that cost under $10.
Cons of Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV does not include any premium channels as a part of its standard line-up. Users may not find the regular Hulu interface to be as intuitive as some other streamers.
What to watch on Hulu + Live TV
Longing to keep up with your favorite sport? Catch every major championship from the worlds of basketball, football, golf, and more with Hulu + Live TV. And if you’re looking for a Hulu original, try dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale or the supremely funny Shrill.
Best for households on a budget: Philo
Philo plans and pricing
Philo is one of the cheapest live TV streaming services around. So if you’re on a budget, you’ll want to take a look at its $25/mo. plan. Offering almost 60 channels, including AMC, Comedy Central, Discovery, and Nickelodeon, it’s designed with pure entertainment in mind. Keep in mind that you won’t find local channels or sports networks, but you will find plenty of on-demand titles to while away the hours.
Pros of Philo
The fact Philo comes with unlimited DVR storage may be a shock. But it’s true. The cost-effective service allows you to record as much as you want, and each title is saved for 30 days. Plus, you can instantly catch up on anything that’s aired in the past 72 hours.
Philo doesn’t offer add-ons, but it does allow up to 10 profiles per account and 3 simultaneous streams. So if you love history documentaries, your partner’s into reality TV, and your kids can’t get enough cartoons, you can all watch your faves with the click of a button. Why not start a 7-day free trial to see what it’s really like?
Cons of Philo
If you like to personalize your experience, you may not like that Philo doesn’t offer add-ons. And the lack of focus on sports programming can be a real downer for some users.
What to watch on PhiloFans of The Walking Dead will find all their needs satisfied with a Philo subscription. Not only will you be able to watch the original show, but you’ll also have access to the spin-offs like Fear the Walking Dead. Reality TV comes in the form of lifestyle shows such as House Hunters and dating dramas like 90 Day Fiancé. When it comes to kids, Paw Patrol will keep young viewers entertained.
Best for personalization: Sling TV
Sling TV plans and pricing
If you only need a select few channels and aren’t bothered by a lack of local stations, try Sling TV. Both the Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans cost $35/mo. The Orange package comes with 32 channels, including Disney and ESPN, and 1 simultaneous stream. The Blue has 47 channels, featuring FOX and NBC, and 3 simultaneous streams. Sling Orange + Blue costs $45/mo. and provides 4 simultaneous streams.
Don’t worry if you feel you’re missing something. Sling has many ways to customize your subscription. Add extra kids’, comedy, or news channels for $5/mo. and add sports networks for a further $10/mo. Give yourself more precious storage space by paying another $5/mo. to increase the standard 10 hours of DVR storage to 50.
While you may occasionally spot a week-long free trial, Sling TV tends to offer $10 off the first month.
Pros of Sling TV
The main advantage of Sling TV is the low price. You can either get one package or get both the Blue and Orange plans for a discount. Users have access to most of their favorite networks, even a handful of local channels.
Cons of Sling TV
The main drawback of Sling TV is the limited channel line-up with a single plan. It’s hard to get a healthy line-up that combines sports, news, and entertainment on the same plan. The DVR space is also more limited than with other live TV streaming services.
What to watch on Sling TV
With a Sling TV subscription, you can catch the brand new season of BBC America’s darkly funny Killing Eve and Bravo’s drama-filled The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. American Dad! fans will be happy to hear they won’t miss out on the series’ 17th season or guest appearances from Jane Lynch, Bill Nye, and The Weeknd.
Best for unlimited DVR storage: YouTube TV
YouTube TV plans and pricing
For a simple, no-nonsense package, opt for YouTube TV. Its sole plan is $65 and features over 70 channels, including local channels that usually cost extra, such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.
There’s also the option to add premium networks for an additional monthly fee. Showtime costs $7/mo., while NBA League Pass is $40/mo.
Pros of YouTube TV
YouTube TV’s cloud DVR capabilities are truly impressive. Each account comes with unlimited storage, and recordings can be kept for up to 9 months.
Up to 3 people can use the service at once to help curb TV-related family disputes. And 1 account can house up to 6 profiles, so each member of your household can view personalized recommendations. New subscribers can try a 7-day free trial.
Cons of YouTube TV
The recent and significant price increase for YouTube TV means it’s no longer cheaper than cable for many users. And you won’t find original content on the service — though, to be fair, you won’t find that on most live TV streaming services.
What to watch on YouTube TV
You can catch long-running hit shows like The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy with YouTube TV. The service also has much-loved series like Friends. There are also plenty of sports and reality TV options to keep you busy, including the likes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Bachelor.
The final cut
Using a popular service such as fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, or Sling TV to live stream TV online is a cost-effective way to say goodbye to cable. With all the most popular channels and plenty of premium options, you won’t want for much more. While many of these services offer access to local channels such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, some don’t. Serious local sports fans might consider using an HD antenna to enjoy free local sports action. If you are looking for an affordable way to boost your entertainment library, think about pairing your chosen live TV subscription with a free streaming service. Some offer thousands of classic and contemporary titles for no extra cost.