Live TV Streaming Services: Comparison

Which Live TV Streaming Service is the Best?

We spent more than a thousand hours testing these live TV streaming services. This is what we liked and didn't like with each live streaming service.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue is the closest thing to still having cable, without the high price. They are the best value for cord cutters with wide range of locals, cable channels, live sports, and includes an unlimited DVR. Streams are rock solid and look good in 720p at 60 fps.

  • Best value, especially for sports fans.
  • Rock solid streaming that looks good in 720p at 60 fps.
  • Unlimited cloud DVR storage, for up to 28 days.
  • Does not offer BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, or VH1 channels.
  • Channel guide scrolls horizontally, which feels weird.

The “Core” $50 plan includes local channels, RSNs, national sports networks, 3 of the 4 major pro sports networks, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, and ESPNU. For $10/month, you can add NFL RedZone, MLB Strike Zone, Longhorn Network, national Comcast Sports Networks and NESN.

Despite its name, PlayStation Vue doesn't require a PlayStation console and works across Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Android TV. The apps have a personalized home screen and great show listing pages, which display recorded, on demand, and upcoming episodes. PlayStation Vue was only service with a remote control shortcut to quickly jump to your last channel.

We dislike that the channel guide scrolls horizontally through channels because it feels very odd with a long list of channels.

Read more in our full PlayStation Vue Review.


fuboTV

On most platforms fuboTV has a great user experience across all platforms and are constantly innovating. They are the only service that offers 4K streaming of live sports like MLB, College Football, College Basketball, and Premier League.

The fuboTV app includes a dedicated screen showing live sporting events, on demand TV shows and movies, and a standard channel guide.

  • Great user experience.
  • Only service with RSNs like MSG and AT&T SportsNet
  • Quality channel selection for soccer fans (Fox Soccer Plus and beIn).
  • Only service with 4K streaming
  • Does not include ABC, Disney, or ESPN channels.
  • Cloud DVR only has 30 hours of storage (but can upgrade to 500 hours for $9.99/mo).

fuboTV includes Regional Sports Networks, NFL Network, NBA TV, and beIn. You can add Fox Soccer Plus as part of the International Sports add-on for $5.99 (a $15 add-on with other services). If you don’t need ABC, Disney, or ESPN—this is a good option for sports fans.

Read more in our full fuboTV Review.


Philo

Philo is a great entry-level option for those who want entertainment channels and can get their locals via antenna.

  • Cheapest entry level option for entertainment TV.
  • Includes channels from A&E, AMC, Discovery, Scripps, and Viacom.
  • Unlimited cloud DVR storage, for up to 30 days.
  • Recently added a grid guide
  • Does not offer any locals or sports channels.
  • Does not have some cable networks like Bravo, TBS, TNT, & FX.

Philo includes a lot of the major entertainment channels, but offers no news, sports, or local channels.

This service is a great option for those who want some live entertainment content, but nothing else. It is the cheapest way to get some live TV at just $16/month.

Read more in our Philo Review.


Hulu Live TV

Hulu Live TV shows promise, but needs a design overhaul to make it an ideal experience for live TV viewers. Search works incredibly well, but needs a better channel guide.

  • Offers locals in nearly every market
  • Great channel selection for college sports fans.
  • Includes Hulu streaming library and original shows.
  • Does not offer AMC, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, VH1, or pro sports networks.
  • DVR only includes 50 hours, requires $10 add-on to skip ads
  • Confusing user interface and needs improved channel guide.

Hulu Live TV has a good selection of locals channels, RSNs, national sports networks, but is missing channels like AMC, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, and VH1. Hulu doesn’t offer any of the pro sports networks (like NFL Network).

This service is a great option for college sports fans because it includes Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, and SEC Network.

Many channels allow you to rewind to the beginning of a show, even if you join late—one of our favorite features. You also get access to Hulu's entire streaming library, including their original shows like Casual and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Read more in our full Hulu Live TV Review.


Sling TV

Sling TV was the first company to offer a cord cutting service. It is the cheapest option $25 to have live sports and news, but it adds up quickly if you add additional channels or a DVR $5.

  • Cheapest way to have some live TV.
  • Great budget option for pro sports fans.
  • New channel guide greatly improves user experience.
  • Inconsistent stream stability.
  • $5/month upgrade for a 50-hour DVR.
  • Outside of top 7 regional markets, local channel availability is sparse.

Sling TV “Blue” with “Sports Extra” is a great budget option for pro sports fans. For $35/month, you can get most national sports channels (except ESPN), RSNs, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and NHL Network.

Sling TV is has added a channel guide to its app on all devices, which greatly improves the user experience.

Read more in our full Sling TV Review.


YouTube TV

YouTube TV has an amazing user experience that is hurt by a weak channel selection. While it offers all local channels in the major markets the service is available in, it only has 18 of the top 35 cable channels.

  • Offers locals in most markets.
  • Amazing interface with live channel previews.
  • Unlimited cloud DVR storage, for up to 9 months.
  • Weakest channel selection of all the services
  • Has had outages during major events

YouTube TV includes support for Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, and Xbox One. Unfortunately, it is not available on Fire TV or PlayStation.

The smartphone and tablet apps are the best of all the services. We love the live channel previews as you browse the app. As expected, search works incredibly well.

Your subscription also includes YouTube original shows and an unlimited DVR. You can record as much you want and keep it for up to 9 months.

Read more in our full YouTube TV Review.


DIRECTV NOW

We're not quite sure who would subscribe to DIRECTV NOW after they recently updated their plans, with higher prices and dramatically fewer channels. For $50/month, you get HBO, locals, and just 18 of the top 35 cable channels and local channels.

Previously, the service offered the four most comprehensive plans: Live a Little ($50), Just Right ($65), Go Big ($75), Gotta Have It ($85). All plans included local channels and 34 of the top 35 cable channels, higher priced plans included your local RSN and additional sports channels.

  • Includes HBO in all plans
  • Worst cable channel selection of any provider.
  • On demand content has playback issues.
  • Cloud DVR only lets your record up to 20 hours.

While early reviews knocked DIRECTV NOW’s stream stability, the service has improved (but still can be spotty). Live streaming is generally stable and works just as well as other providers. We did receive playback issues with on demand content sometimes.

While they recently added a free 20 hour Cloud DVR which lets you record your favorite shows, it is by far the weakest out of those offered by the services.

They completely overhauled their apps to make it easier to search and browse for live and on-demand shows. It still includes their standard channel guide which makes it simple to find what's currently on TV.

You can also find shows using their “72-Hour Rewind” feature, which lets you watch many shows that aired in the last 3 days.

DIRECTV NOW is also the only service that offers a “channel surfing” feature, which lets you swipe to switch between channels.

Read more in our full DIRECTV NOW Review.


Other 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.

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.

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