The Best Live TV Streaming Services for Cord Cutters in 2020

The Best Live TV Streaming Services for Cord Cutters in 2020

Live TV Streaming Services Comparison

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

For 2020, 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 locals, 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 that 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 channels you watch, try out our Channel Finder.

Best for Cord Cutters

Hulu Live TV
$55/ month

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

Best for Regional Sports

fuboTV
$55 / month

  • Only service with RSNs like MSG & AT&T SportsNet
  • Includes NFL Network, NBA TV, Big 10 Network, Pac-12 Network, & beIn

Best Skinny Bundle

Philo
$20/ month

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

Best for Budget

Sling TV
$30+/ month

Best for DVR

YouTube TV
$50/ month

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

Don’t Subscribe

AT&T TV NOW
$55+/ month

  • Fewest Top Cable Channels
  • Add HBO For $10
  • 500 Hour DVR

Plans & Prices

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

Sling TV is currently offering $10 OFF your first month, so you can get Sling Blue or Orange for just $20 (normally $30). Alternatively, you can choose to get a free Amazon Fire Stick ($40 value) if you prepay for 2 months of service.

While we previously recommended, the PlayStation Vue “Core” ($50) plan, since it was the best option for sports fans — they shut down the service in January 2020. We have put together a list of the best alternatives to PS Vue.

PlanFree TrialOffers
AT&T TV NOW$55“PLUS”Sign Up-
$80“MAX”
fuboTV$55“fubo”7-Day Free Trial-
Hulu Live TV$55“Hulu Live TV”7-Day Free Trial-
Philo$20“Philo”7-Day Free Trial-
Sling TV$30“Sling Orange”Sign UpTake $10 Off Sling TV
Get the Deal
$30“Sling Blue”
$45“Sling Orange + Blue”
YouTube TV$50“YouTube TV”Sign Up-

Channels

The Philo ($20) 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, you will get channels like A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, Hallmark, HGTV, and MTV at a fraction of the cost.

Hulu Live TV ($55) 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 ($55) recently added Discovery and Viacom channels including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and VH1. If you can live without ESPN, with the new channels they will have 29 of the Top 35 Cable channels, more than any other service. As of January 2020, the service recently lost Disney-owned FX, Nat Geo, and Sinclair-owned Fox Sports RSNs and Fox affiliates in smaller markets.

The YouTube TV ($50) and AT&T TV NOW PLUS Plan ($55+) have the weakest selection of cable channels. However, YouTube TV currently has the lowest price of the comprehensive cable bundles that includes national sports, regional sports, locals, and entertainment channels.

AT&T NOWfuboTVHuluPhiloSling TVYouTube
Sign UpFree TrialFree TrialFree TrialSign UpSign Up
$55$55$55$20$30$30$50
Total Channels40/50907058304060
LocalABC
CBS
Fox
NBC

CBS
Fox
NBC
ABC
CBS
Fox
NBC








Fox
NBC
ABC
CBS
Fox
NBC
Top 35 Cable23–24
of Top 35
29
of Top 35
26
of Top 35
18
of Top 35
16
of Top 35
25
of Top 35
25
of Top 35
National Sports6–757-447
College Sports0–736---6
Pro Sports-1---12
Regional Sports (RSNs)$80--

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 NOWfuboTVHuluPhiloSlingYouTube
Sign UpFree TrialFree TrialFree TrialSign UpSign Up
$55$55$55$20$30$50
Video Resolution720p+
60 fps
720p
60 fps
720p
60 fps
720p
30 fps
720p
30/60 fps
720p
60 fps
Streaming ReliabilityAverageBelow AverageGreatAverageBelow AverageGreat
On Demand ReliabilityBelow AverageAverageGreatAbove AverageAverageGreat
AudioStereo
Some Surround
StereoStereoStereoStereoStereo
Live Delay20 sec15 sec30 sec25 sec55 sec25 sec
Channel Switching2.5 sec3.5 sec3.5 sec4.5 sec5.5 sec1.5 sec

Features

Every service offers a cloud DVR, which lets you record streaming content to watch at a later time. Sling TV is the most limited which includes 10 hours of recording capacity, or 50 hours with a $5/month upgrade.

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 NOW are the only services that have parental controls.

AT&T NOWfuboTVHuluPhiloSling TVYouTube
Sign UpFree TrialFree TrialFree TrialSign UpSign Up
$55$55$55$20$30$30$50
Cloud DVR
Cloud DVR Capacity300 hours
30 days
30 hours50 hoursUnlimited
30 days
10 hours10 hoursUnlimited
9 months
Simultaneous Viewing3
streams
2
streams
2
streams
3
streams
1
stream
3
streams
3
streams
On Demand
TV Everywhere App Access
Parental Controls---

Cloud DVR

While most services offer a DVR, each one 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 NOW

300 hours

30 days

fuboTV

30 hours

Hulu

50 hours

Philo

Unlimited

30 days

Sling

10 hours

YouTube

Unlimited

9 months

fuboTV includes 30 hours of recording space, but offers a $10/month upgrade for 500 hours of storage. Sling TV now includes 10 hours of recording space, but offers a $5/month upgrade to 50 hours of storage.

Oddly enough, 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.

Simultaneous Viewing

All of the services allow you to have at least 2 simultaneous viewers, with the exception of the Sling TV’s “Orange” $30+ plan (it only allows a single stream).

AT&T TV NOW and 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 2 viewers, but will allow you to add a third simultaneous viewer for $6/month — or as part of the $59.99 Family Plan (which also includes a 500 Hour DVR).

While new subscribers to AT&T TV NOW includes 3 viewers, those on legacy DIRECTV NOW plans can add a third simultaneous for $5/month.

Concurrent Devices

More is better.

AT&T NOW3 streams
Philo3 streams
Sling “Blue”3 streams
YouTube3 streams
fuboTV2 streams
Hulu2 streams
Sling “Orange”1 stream

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 NOW. Videos will often fail to start or spontaneously freeze during playback.

AT&T TV NOW 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.

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, Fox Sports Go, FX, WatchESPN, etc.).

PlayStation Vue and AT&T TV NOW connect to the most channel apps, with access for up to 56 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.

fuboTV51 apps
AT&T NOW37 apps
YouTube35 apps
Hulu33 apps
Philo33 apps
Sling19 apps

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 $4/month, you can watch their streaming library without commercials.

Parental Controls

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

Hulu Live TV lets you create a “Kids Mode” profile. Sling TV and AT&T TV NOW 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 NOWfuboTVHuluPhiloSlingYouTube
Sign UpFree TrialFree TrialFree TrialSign UpSign Up
$55$55$55$20$30$50
Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV
Google Chromecast
2nd Gen+
-
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--
WebOS 3.5+ (some 3.0)
-
WebOS 3.0+

2016+ Models

TV Devices

Most services are available on Apple TV (4th generation and later), Roku, and Chromecast.

If you own an Amazon Fire TV, you will be able to stream all services including YouTube TV which was added in September 2019.

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

Game Consoles

PlayStation
Since the shutdown of PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV is 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. Depending on the service you will need to install Microsoft Silverlight or Flash.

Other Streaming Services

CBS All Access

CBS All Access is a streaming service that offers original shows like Star Trek: Discovery, The Twilight Zone, The Good Fight, and live streaming of your local CBS affiliate for news, college football, and NFL.

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 which includes new original and classic shows and movies from Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geopgrahic, 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.

AT&T WatchTV

AT&T WatchTV is a live streaming service that lets you live stream 37 channels for $15.

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

The Streamable Pages