A live TV streaming service is an easy way to cut your viewing costs. While cable TV comes with lengthy contracts, clunky installations and hefty fees, online streaming services require nothing more than a monthly fee. You don’t have to lose out on benefits either. Streaming platforms offer the same networks as cable providers, and they let you access live TV via a wide range of devices, including phones, tablets, web browsers and game consoles. They even come with impressive on-demand libraries and DVR storage capabilities, so you’ll never be without something to watch.
Below, you’ll find the best live TV streaming services to consider for your household.
Compare Live TV Streaming Services
|fuboTV||Hulu + Live TV||Philo||Sling TV||YouTube TV|
|Number of channels||85+||65+||59||32+||70+|
|Number of on-demand titles||30,000+||3,000+||25,000+||70,000+||50,000+|
|Streaming quality||4K (for certain events)||1080p||720p||720p||1080p|
|DVR storage||30 hours||50 hours||Unlimited||10 hours||Unlimited|
Sports mega fans should head straight to fuboTV. Originally geared mostly towards soccer programming, the service has now branched out to broadcast over 30,000 live games and events annually. There’s coverage from the worlds of basketball, baseball, football, hockey, tennis and more. (The only major sports channel that’s missing is ESPN.)
But fuboTV’s lineup offers more than just sports. Entertainment networks like AMC, Bravo, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon all appear in the standard $54.99/mo. package. For more fun and games, try fubo Ultra. For $79.99/mo., you’ll get 37 extra entertainment channels and more than 20 additional sports networks. Don’t forget to check out the service’s on-demand shows and movies too. Right now, you can catch up on the likes of Killing Eve and The Avengers.
fuboTV only recently added user profiles to its feature list. Create up to six profiles per account and use them to save each person’s favorite channels and recordings.
Live TV networks will display the same commercials as cable TV. Some of fuboTV’s on-demand content, however, comes ad-free.
You’ll get two simultaneous streams with fubo TV. Up the limit to three for an extra $5.99/mo.
There’s no option to download content for offline viewing, so an internet connection is required to access fuboTV.
All users get 30 hours of free cloud DVR storage. If you want to up it to 500 hours, you’ll have to pay an additional $9.99/mo.
Whether you’re sports-obsessed or heavily into premium networks, you’ll find a suitable add-on. Buy NBA League Pass for $28.99/mo. or access Showtime for $10.99/mo.
Hulu + Live TV
Want to combine all your favorite networks with thousands of on-demand titles? Try Hulu + Live TV. For $54.99/mo., you’ll get over 65 channels and a huge library of movies and shows to watch any time. With both national and local news and sports networks available, you’ll always stay on top of the latest happenings. Plus, you can watch all the live TV the likes of Bravo, Lifetime and TLC have to offer.
In Hulu’s on-demand catalog, expect to find highly rated original shows like Shrill and The Handmaid’s Tale. There are also entire seasons of shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Prison Break along with movies like the award-winning Parasite and The Green Mile.
One Hulu account can have six individual profiles, so your entire household (and a couple of friends) can enjoy personalized recommendations and watchlists.
Hulu’s content features commercials. But you can remove ads from on-demand titles by paying for Hulu’s No Ads. Together with your live TV package, it will cost $60.99/mo. Some on-demand content will still have commercial interruptions.
Only two people can watch Hulu at the same time. Don’t panic, for it’s possible to get unlimited simultaneous streams at home for an extra $9.99/mo. You’ll even get three on-the-go streams on top.
Hulu No Ads subscribers can download up to 25 episodes or movies to watch offline. Each title will remain in your library for 30 days, and you’ll have 48 hours to finish watching once playback has begun.
Hulu gives you 50 hours of recording space for free. For an extra $9.99/mo., you can up it to 200 hours to avoid missing out on your favorite show.
Make the plan your own with a Hulu add-on. Choose between four premium networks, including HBO and Showtime, Spanish-language channels and an even bigger entertainment offering. Each add-on comes with a separate monthly fee.
Think of Philo as an entertainment hub. The service’s single package features almost 60 channels, including big names like AMC, niche networks like Cooking Channel and kid favorites like Nickelodeon. Although there’s little in the way of sports or news, Philo won’t leave you bored. It also houses on-demand movies from Lifetime and Hallmark and full seasons of reality shows like Fixer Upper.
One account can hold up to 10 user profiles, making Philo the clear winner in this area. The high number means everyone can check out their own saved shows and viewing history.
Philo content has commercials just like regular cable TV. But you can fast-forward ads when watching recordings.
Three devices can access Philo at the same time. Unfortunately, there’s no option to increase this limit.
Offline downloads aren’t currently available, so you’ll have to be hooked up to the internet to enjoy Philo.
Philo is one of the few streaming services to have no DVR storage limits. You can record as much as you like and save each title for 30 days.
72 Hour Rewind
Replay anything that’s aired within the past 72 hours with this nifty feature. You’ll never miss out on your favorite show ever again.
Sling TV doesn’t have the biggest channel lineup, but it does have plenty of ways to view news, sports and other entertainment. The cheapest plans — Sling Orange and Sling Blue — each cost $30/mo. But Orange only comes with 32 channels, including AMC, Bloomberg, CNN, Disney Channel and ESPN. To get networks like NBC, Fox, E! and TLC, you’ll want to opt for the Blue plan. It has 47 channels in total. Sling also gives you the option to combine both plans for $45/mo.
On-demand content is available too. Several networks let you watch past episodes and even entire seasons of shows like The Walking Dead.
You can’t create individual profiles with Sling TV, so each user will see the same recommendations.
Commercial breaks appear during all live TV broadcasts and some on-demand content too. You can skip ads when viewing a recording.
The number of simultaneous streams depends on your Sling TV package. The Orange plan only allows one stream, Blue allows three and the combined option gives you four.
An internet connection is needed to use Sling TV, so offline playback isn’t available.
You’ll probably want to boost your DVR storage. Sling gives 10 hours for free, but offers 50 hours for an extra $5/mo. Unlike other services, you can keep Sling recordings for as long as you want.
Some channels allow you to replay any title that’s aired in the previous three days. It’s an easy way to stay on top of your must-watch shows.
YouTube TV has one of the most comprehensive channel selections, and all for one price: $49.99/mo. All four local channels — ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC — are included in YouTube’s lineup, which features over 70 channels. There are plenty of news channels too and must-watch content from AMC, BBC America and Discovery Channel. Recently aired shows and movies are also available for a limited amount of time.
Summer 2020 will welcome a bunch of new channels to YouTube TV, thanks to a deal with ViacomCBS. Expect to see BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and more.
Up to six user profiles are allowed per account, so the whole family can enjoy personalized viewing recommendations.
You can’t skip live TV commercials, but you can fast-forward through ad breaks during recorded content.
Three devices can access YouTube TV content at the same time, minimizing the chance of family disputes.
Unfortunately, you can’t download shows or movies for offline viewing
Just like Philo, YouTube TV lets you record as much as you like. And recordings will be kept in your library for nine months.
Can I Cut the Cable TV Cord With a Live TV Streaming Service?
YouTube TV tends to top the live TV streaming site list. Not only does it offer a wide range of channels for a competitive price, but it also provides unlimited recording storage. Hulu’s Live TV plan is also a strong contender — it will save you the hassle of having to invest in a separate on-demand service. And if you’re on a really tight budget, don’t forget the $20/mo. Philo.
To fully cut the cord, you can combine a live TV service with an on-demand platform like Hulu or Disney+. And if your chosen service is lacking in live local TV streaming, buy an antenna to stay in the loop.
Current as of June 2020*
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