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 in 2020.
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 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, that is more geared towards on-demand than live.
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 ACC Network, 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 [The Handmaid’s Tale], The Act, Ramy, Shrill, and Pen15.
Read more in our full Hulu Live TV Review.
Sling TV was the first company to offer a cord cutting service. It is the cheapest option (US$30+) to have live sports and news, but it adds up quickly if you add additional channels or expanded 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.
- Includes 10 Hour DVR, but $5 to upgrade to 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 $40/month, you can get most national sports channels (except ESPN), NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and NHL Network. They have a $25 Total TV Deal which will add ~100 channels from their 7 Extra Packs and 50 Hour DVR.
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 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 31 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.
AT&T TV NOW
We’re not quite sure who would subscribe to AT&T TV NOW after they recently updated their plans, with higher prices and dramatically fewer channels. For US$55+/month, you get HBO, locals, and just 23 of the top 35 cable channels and local channels. With the price hike, they do now include a 500 Hour DVR and a Third Stream.
Previously, when it was still DIRECTV NOW — 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 AT&T TV 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.
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.
AT&T TV 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 [AT&T TV NOW Review].
While we previously recommended, the PlayStation Vue “Core” ($50) plan, since it was the best option for sports fans — they are shut down the service in January 2020. We have put together a list of the best alternatives to PS Vue.
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.
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 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 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.