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The Best Live TV Streaming Services for Cord Cutters in 2021

The Best Live TV Streaming Services for Cord Cutters in 2021

Live TV Streaming Services Comparison

Millions of cable and satellite subscribers are replacing their subscriptions with an online live TV streaming service.

For 2021, we did the most comprehensive review of live streaming services to find the best Live TV Streaming Subscription. If you’ve decided to cut the cord and stream TV online, this review is for you. We will help you find the best Live TV Streaming Service and easily try them out so you can start saving on your cable bill.

While some people find that on-demand video services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or Amazon Prime Video are good enough, sometimes you just can’t give up watching major networks, live local channels, or live sports on ESPN and Fox Sports. The good news is that you can now watch streaming TV, so you won’t have to miss your favorite live shows or movies.

We compare live streaming services and pick the best service for you. Learn how to stream live TV including your favorite shows and sports online without a cable subscription.

We’ll give our top picks and show how to get up to a 7-day Free Trial on each service.

Streaming video services are a great cable alternative, but with the benefit that they’re month-to-month (with free cancellation), no cable box is required, and you’ll save a lot of money.

Which is the Best Live TV Streaming Service?

After ongoing testing the six live TV streaming services for thousands of hours, we found that each service is great for different reasons.

Most of the interfaces are well designed, they nearly all offer a DVR and shows on demand, and have minimal buffering with a good internet connection.

Depending on if you want locals, sports, entertainment, or news — we think there is a great pick for you. If you want to find the best service based on the channel lineups you prefer, try out our Channel Finder.

Best for RSNs

AT&T TV
US$ 69,99+/ month

  • Only service w/ Bally Sports RSNs, MASN, Altitude, ROOT Sports, & AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
  • Most Top Cable Channels
  • Unlimited Streams & 20 Hour DVR

Best for Sports

fuboTV
US$ 64,99 / month

  • Least expensive for RSNs like MSG & AT&T SportsNet
  • Offers NFL Network, NFL RedZone, NBA TV, MLB Network, NHL Network, Big 10 Network, Pac-12 Network, & beIn

Best Skinny Bundle

Philo
US$ 25/ month

  • Includes A&E, AMC, BET, HGTV, Hallmark, MTV, Discovery, Comedy Central, & Nick
  • Pairs well with Hulu Live TV

Best for Cord Cutters

Hulu Live TV
US$ 64,99/ month

  • 32 Top Cable Channels
  • Locals in almost every market
  • Channels include ESPN, FS1, NBCSN, Pro & College Sports
  • Includes Hulu Originals

Best for Budget

Sling TV
US$ 35+/ month

Best for DVR

YouTube TV
US$ 64,99/ month

  • 31 Top Cable Channels
  • Includes locals in almost every market
  • Great interface
  • Unlimited DVR

Plans & Prices

You can try Hulu Live TV, Philo, fuboTV, and YouTube TV each with a 7-day free trial.

Sling TV frequently offers extremely deep discounts for new subscribers, so it’s worth seeing what’s available.

AT&T TV is currently offering 1-Year Free of HBO Max ($180) when you sign-up for their Choice Plan ($84.99).

Plan Free Trial
AT&T TV US$ 69,99 “Entertainment” Sign Up
US$ 84,99 “Choice”
US$ 94,99 “Ultimate”
US$ 139,99 “Premier”
fuboTV US$ 64,99 “fubo” 7-Day Free Trial
Hulu Live TV US$ 64,99 “Hulu Live TV” 7-Day Free Trial
Philo US$ 25 “Philo” 7-Day Free Trial
Sling TV US$ 35 “Sling Orange” Sign Up
US$ 35 “Sling Blue”
US$ 50 “Sling Orange + Blue”
YouTube TV US$ 64,99 “YouTube TV” Sign Up

Channels

The Philo (US$ 25) base plan is the cheapest option to get a wide variety of high quality entertainment content. While it doesn’t come with locals or sports channels, you will get access to A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, Hallmark Channel, HGTV en MTV and other channels at a fraction of the cost.

Hulu Live TV (US$ 64,99) is the cheapest bundle that includes locals, regional sports, national sports (ESPN, FS1, NBCSN) and top cable channels from A+E, Discovery (Discovery, Food Network, HGTV), Disney (Disney Channel, FX, & Freeform), NBC (Bravo, E!, MSNBC), Warner Media (TNT, TBS, CNN, Adult Swim), and Fox (Fox News).

fuboTV (US$ 64,99) has 30 Top Cable Channels. You won’t have access to Turner-owned channels (TNT, TBS, CNN, etc.). They have some hard-to-get Regional Sports Networks like MSG in New York, NESN in Boston, and AT&T Sportsnet Southwest in Houston.

Sling TV’s is a great option for budget streamers, as it includes up to 24 top cable channels Top Cable Channels for just (US$ 35+) a month. This is a great option for those that want some sports, some news, and some entertainment content for a low price.

YouTube TV (US$ 64,99) recently added channels from Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, VH1), so they now offer 31 Top Cable Channels – more than any other service. At US$ 64,99, it’s not a bargain, but it is fairly comprehensive. They are missing channels from A&E, History, Lifetime, and Hallmark.

AT&T TV is more expensive than the others (US$ 69,99+), but include 34 of the Top 35 Cable Channels. The biggest reason to subscribe is that they have many hard to get Regional Sports Networks (Bally Sports RSNs/Fox Sports RSNs, AT&T Sportsnet, Altitude, MASN, ROOT Sports) that aren’t available on other services as part of their Choice Plan ($84.99)

If you want to see if a specific TV Show or Movie is available on a streaming service, you can use our TV Show Finder or Movie Finder tools.

AT&T TV fuboTV Hulu Philo Sling TV YouTube
Sign Up Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Sign Up Sign Up
US$ 69,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 25 US$ 35 US$ 35 US$ 64,99
Total Channels 65/90/130/140 90 70 60 30 40 60
Local ABC
CBS
Fox
NBC
ABC
CBS
Fox
NBC
ABC
CBS
Fox
NBC








Fox
NBC
ABC
CBS
Fox
NBC
Top 35 Cable 34–35
of Top 35
30
of Top 35
32
of Top 35
18
of Top 35
16
of Top 35
24
of Top 35
31
of Top 35
National Sports 6–7 5 7 - 4 4 7
College Sports 0–5 4 6 - - - 6
Pro Sports 0–3 1 - - - 1 3
Regional Sports (RSNs) ≥ US$ 84,99 - - -

Compare Channels Across Live TV Streaming Services

Streaming Experience

All of the services have relatively similar video quality. Hulu Live TV, fuboTV, and YouTube TV have the most reliable connections.

AT&T TV fuboTV Hulu Philo Sling YouTube
Sign Up Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Sign Up Sign Up
US$ 69,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 25 US$ 35 US$ 64,99
Video Resolution 720p+
60 fps
720p
60 fps
720p
60 fps
720p
30 fps
720p
30/60 fps
720p
60 fps
Streaming Reliability Average Below Average Great Average Below Average Great
On Demand Reliability Below Average Average Great Above Average Average Great
Audio Stereo
Some Surround
Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo
Live Delay 20 sec 15 sec 30 sec 25 sec 55 sec 25 sec
Channel Switching 2.5 sec 3.5 sec 3.5 sec 4.5 sec 5.5 sec 1.5 sec

Features

Almost every service lets you stream content to at least 2 devices at the same time. “Sling Orange” is the one exception; it only lets you stream on 1 device.

Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and AT&T TV are the only services that have parental controls.

AT&T TV fuboTV Hulu Philo Sling TV YouTube
Sign Up Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Sign Up Sign Up
US$ 69,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 25 US$ 35 US$ 35 US$ 64,99
Cloud DVR
Cloud DVR Capacity 20 hours
90 days
+ US$ 10
unlimited
250 hours
+ US$ 5
1000 hours
50 hours
+ US$ 10
200 hours
Unlimited
30 days
50 hours
+ US$ 5
200 hours
50 hours
+ US$ 5
200 hours
Unlimited
9 months
Simultaneous Viewing 20
streams
3
streams
2
streams
3
streams
1
stream
3
streams
3
streams
On Demand
TV Everywhere App Access
Parental Controls - - -

voicemail icon
Cloud DVR

Every service offers a cloud DVR, which lets you record streaming content to watch at a later time. 

Each has slightly different restrictions on what can be recorded, when the recording will start, and whether commercials can be skipped. For instance, some will let you record from the beginning of the episode even when you tune in after it starts. Others will let you watch while the episode is still recording.

Recording Capacity

AT&T TV

20 hours

90 days

fuboTV

250 hours

Hulu

50 hours

Philo

Unlimited

30 days

Sling

50 hours

YouTube

Unlimited

9 months

fuboTV includes 250 hours of recording space, but offers a $5/month upgrade for 1,000 hours of storage. Their DVR content never expires, so you can keep it on the service as long as you have available space.

Sling TV now includes 50 hours of recording space, but offers a $5/month upgrade to 200 hours of storage.

Oddly, fuboTV and Sling TV are the only services that offer a way to record a single episode. Every other service makes you create a “series” recording, in which every episode of a show will be recorded.

You can generally fast-forward through shows that you recorded to the DVR (unlike most on demand content) with some exceptions.

Hulu Live TV requires you to upgrade to the $10/month “Enhanced Cloud DVR” if you want to skip commercials and to upgrade to 200 hours of recording space.

Recently, Sling TV and YouTube TV removed DVR restrictions, which prevented users from skipping ads on recorded shows from certain networks.

Some services like Philo and YouTube TV offer unlimited DVR storage, but the content will be removed from your DVR after 28 days and 9 months respectively.

AT&T TV offers a 20 Hour DVR, which can be upgraded to Unlimited Storage for $10 a month. Content will be removed from your DVR after 90 days.

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Simultaneous Viewing

All of the services allow you to have at least 2 simultaneous viewers, with the exception of the Sling TV’s “Orange” US$ 35+ plan (it only allows a single stream).

YouTube TV allows 3 simultaneous viewers, with YouTube TV offering “Family Profiles” so up to six users can have a personal account.

Some offer the ability to add an additional viewer to your plan.

Hulu Live TV includes 2 viewers, but offers a $10/month “Unlimited Screens” upgrade, which allows unlimited devices to stream on your home network or 3 devices outside your home.

fuboTV includes 3 viewers, but will allow you to add up to five simultaneous viewers for $9.99/month — or as part of the $79.99 Elite Bundle (which also includes a 1,000 Hour DVR).

While subscribers to AT&T TV includes 3 viewers while traveling (20 on your home network), those on legacy DIRECTV NOW plans can add a third simultaneous for $5/month.

Concurrent Devices

More is better.

AT&T TV 20 streams
fuboTV 3 streams
Philo 3 streams
Sling “Blue” 3 streams
YouTube 3 streams
Hulu 2 streams
Sling “Orange” 1 stream

download icon
On Demand

All of the services offer video on demand (VOD), but require you to watch commercials (usually 5 minutes per half hour) during playback.

Hulu Live TV, fuboTV, and YouTube TV make it the easiest to search for and watch on demand content. They have great show detail pages, which bundle the live, upcoming, and on demand episodes in one place.

Sling TV has improved their on demand experience, but sometimes their guide data will be inaccurate for on demand content. We have lots of issues playing on demand content from AT&T TV. Videos will often fail to start or spontaneously freeze during playback.

AT&T TV and fuboTV also offer a “catch-up” feature, giving access to show episodes that aired within the last 3 days—that may not normally be available on-demand.

infinity icon
TV Everywhere

Similar to traditional cable and satellite subscriptions, these cord cutting services provide “TV Everywhere” logins to certain channels’ apps (e.g.: AMC, CNBC, FX, WatchESPN, etc.).

fuboTV and AT&T TV connect to the most channel apps, with access for up to 51 and 37 channel apps, respectively. The other services offer access to about 30 channels.

View All TV Everywhere Apps

TV Everywhere App Access

More is better. App count may vary by plan tier.

fuboTV 51 apps
AT&T TV 37 apps
YouTube 35 apps
Hulu 33 apps
Philo 33 apps
Sling 19 apps

star ribbon icon
Original Content

Some of the services include additional content that is only available to their subscribers.

For example, Hulu Live TV subscribers get access to the entire Hulu streaming library, including full seasons of many TV shows, movies, and its original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale. For an additional $6/month, you can watch their streaming library without commercials.

parent and child icon
Parental Controls

Surprisingly, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV are the only services that offer parental controls.

Hulu Live TV lets you create a “Kids Mode” profile. Sling TV and AT&T TV allow you to restrict content playback based on its rating level.

Media Streaming Devices

The services are available on most smartphones, tablets, TV streaming devices, computers, and video game consoles.

AT&T TV fuboTV Hulu Philo Sling YouTube
Sign Up Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Sign Up Sign Up
US$ 69,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 64,99 US$ 25 US$ 35 US$ 64,99
Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV
Google Chromecast
2nd Gen+

Android only
Roku
Android TV
iPhone/iPad
iOS 9+

iOS 9.1+

iOS 10+

iOS 9.3+

iOS 9+

iOS 9.1+
Android Phone/Tablet
4.4+

4.1+

5.0+

7.0+

4.4+

5.0+
Web Browsers
PlayStation - - - -
Xbox - -
Nintendo - - - - -
Samsung Smart TV
2017+ Models

2016+ models

2016+ Models
-
2016+ Models

2016+ Models
VIZIO Smart TV - -
2016+ Models
-
Those with Cast support

Select SmartCast TVs
LG Smart TV -
2018+ models

WebOS 3.5+ (some 3.0)
-
WebOS 3.0+

2016+ Models

TV Devices

Most services are available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV (4th generation and later), Roku, and Chromecast. As of June 2021, Roku was fighting with YouTube TV, so you would need to access that within the regular YouTube app.

If you own an Android TV device like NVIDIA Shield, you will be able to use it with AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Philo, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

Game Consoles

PlayStation
Since the shutdown of PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV are the only service available on either the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4.

Xbox
On Xbox One, you can use .
Hulu is the only service that supports Xbox 360.

Nintendo Switch
If you have a Nintendo Switch, you should consider Hulu Live TV because it’s the only service that works on that device.

Smartphones & Tablets

You will be able to live stream from your mobile device on iOS and Android using the streaming service’s app. Generally, you will need at least iOS 9+ or Android 4.4+, but check your specific service.

Web Browsers

You can stream via web using Chrome with every service. Some offer streaming in Safari and Firefox.

Other Streaming Services

Paramount+

Paramount Plus is a streaming service that offers original shows like Star Trek: Discovery, The Twilight Zone, The Good Fight. The service’s “premium” plan offers live CBS viewing.

Hulu

Hulu is a video streaming service that gives access to thousands of full seasons of exclusive series, hit movies, kids shows, and Hulu Originals like The Handmaid’s Tale.

Disney+

Disney+ is a streaming service that includes new original and classic shows and movies from Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and the entire Disney Vault.

CuriosityStream

CuriosityStream is a subscription streaming service that offers 1,800+ documentaries and series on science, space, technology, nature, history, health, and more.

ESPN+

ESPN+ is a live sports streaming service which offers a daily out-of-market game from MLB and NHL, live MLS games, college sports, as well as exclusive ESPN original series.

DAZN

DAZN is a live sports streaming service which offers weekly boxing and MMA content from Matchroom USA, Bellator, Golden Boy Promotions, and more.

NCAA March Madness Live

One of everyone’s favorite college basketball apps for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament is NCAA March Madness Live. It lets you track your brackets, follow stats, scores, highlights, and stream all 67 March Madness games.

XFINITY Instant TV

XFINITY Instant TV is a live TV streaming service for Xfinity Internet Subscribers. It allows you to add channel packages that can be watched from the Xfinity App, even if you don’t have cable.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is a subscription streaming service that includes high-quality originals shows and movies. While the quantity of content is limited for now, the service plans to add additional content every single month.

HBO Max

HBO Max is a subscription streaming service that gives access to content on HBO, but with additional original shows, movies, and a library of classic shows like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and The West Wing.

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription streaming service that gives access to on-demand content from NBC, Bravo, E!, but with additional original shows, movies, and a library of classic shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Law & Order.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue was a live TV streaming service that offered local TV, sports, news, and entertainment content. While it was previously our top pick for sports fans, Sony, unfortunately, shutdown the service in January 2020. You can learn more about PlayStation Vue here.

Video Review of Live TV Streaming Services

AT&T TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $75 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for AT&T TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.