Last updated Mar. 3, 2023 by Charles Zemub
Live TV streaming services have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and for a good reason. While traditional cable is still alive and well in many households, it can be expensive and often comes with a long list of unwanted channels.
Streaming has improved as companies like Netflix continue investing in original content. Still, those looking for something different need not look further than live TV streaming services.
In this guide, we’ll cover eight of the best live TV streaming services available today: Sling TV, Hulu With Live TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV (and YouTube Premium), DirecTV Now, FuboTV, and Philo. Intro paragraph:
Sling TV is best for: people who want to watch a lot of television but don’t feel they need anything more than the basics.
Although Sling TV doesn’t have any sports channels, it’s still one of the best live TV streaming services on the market.
That’s because it has the most stations at an affordable price and works across almost every device imaginable, from Roku and Fire TV devices to smart TVs (even Apple TV), mobile phones, tablets, and computers.
Plus, if you want even more channels for your buck, there are three different variations available: Sling Orange ($25 per month), Sling Blue ($25 per month), or Sling Orange + Blue ($40 per month).
DirecTV Now is a good option if you’re looking for an affordable way to watch the NFL. The service offers a channel bundle that includes all four major networks broadcasting football:
NBC, CBS, FOX, and ESPN. It also has access to NFL Network’s 24/7 coverage of scores and highlights on Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football games.
You’ll also be able to watch college football games with ABC (ESPN College), ESPN News, and SEC Network—and if you have AT&T Unlimited Plus wireless service or AT&T Unlimited Choice phone plan, the latter two channels are free with your subscription.
DirecTV Now has access to other sports networks, too: NBA TV; MLB Network; Golf Channel; NHL network;
Tennis Channel Plus; Fantasy Sports TV plus more than 20 regional sports networks nationwide, including Chicago Cubs / White Sox, Detroit Tigers / Red Wings / Pistons & Milwaukee Brewers / Bucks games!
PlayStation Vue is the most expensive option on our list but also the best. PlayStation Vue has a massive channel selection and a DVR; two features many people have come to expect from their streaming service.
It also has an excellent mobile app and user interface for its users to use. So if you’re willing to pay for it, PlayStation Vue is the service you should use if you want the best live TV experience.
PlayStation Vue is the most expensive option on our list but also the best. PlayStation Vue has a massive channel selection and a DVR.
These are two features that many people have come to expect from their streaming service. It also has an excellent mobile app and user interface for its users to use.
Hulu Live TV is the best live TV streaming service for sports fans. It offers nearly all major sports networks, including NBC and NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox, and FS1.
Hulu also carries regional sports networks (RSNs) from some local affiliates that air your home team’s games locally (it’s not available everywhere).
For news and entertainment fans, Hulu Live TV offers NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC; E!, Bravo and SYFY; FX; USA; TBS; TNT; A&E; History Channel—to name a few.
If you’re looking for the best live TV streaming service for families with young children, look no further than Hulu Live TV.
YouTube TV offers a good selection of channels, including many sports channels. It also provides access to local news and weather.
YouTube TV has several popular children’s channels, such as Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Cartoon Network/Adult Swim.
YouTube TV’s movie catalog is pretty deep; too, you’ll find movies from most major studios like 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks Animation).
Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros., along with some other niche networks like Starz Encore Westerns & Movies with lots of blockbuster hits from the last few years available as well.
Fubo TV is probably the best option if you’re a sports fan. The service offers over 75 channels, including all popular national sports networks like ESPN and Fox Sports 1.
In certain areas, you can also get regional sports networks (RSNs) like YES Network, MSG+, and NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Fubo TV is available on most devices, such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, and more. In addition, it has add-ons for additional channels if you want them.
If you’re looking for a free trial period before committing to an annual subscription plan, Fubo TV will give viewers seven days from sign-up to test out their service at no cost; just be sure to cancel before the trial ends, or else it’ll automatically become $10/monthly.
Philo is a solid option for cord-cutters who want to save money. For $16 per month, you’ll get 30 channels, including A&E, AMC, Comedy Central, and many more.
However, Philo does not have sports or local channels like ABC and NBC, so if those are a must-have for you, this service may not be for you.
Philo does offer some unique features that include no DVR or cloud DVR (you can record shows on your device using third-party apps), but it does have channel customization and live streaming in most markets.
In addition to these features, there are no mobile restrictions which means that Philo subscribers can stream on multiple devices simultaneously without any extra fees.
While Philo is a solid option for cord-cutters who want to save money, it does have some drawbacks. There are no sports channels or local stations on this service, which means that if these are a must-have for you, then this service may not be for you.
WatchTV is a new service from AT&T that offers 45 channels for $15 per month. That’s more than half the price of most other live TV streaming services,
But unlike many services, there are no contracts or hidden fees if you want to cancel your subscription anytime; you can do so without penalty.
AT&T says WatchTV will be available on Apple TV and other devices in March 2019 and will also integrate into Vizio smart TVs and Sony’s PlayStation Vue service later this year.
WatchTV’s price is lower because it doesn’t have any sports content. However, it also lacks local news channels in some markets.
AT&T hopes to add those networks and expand its reach eventually, but you’ll have to find another service if you want those channels.
The streaming services market is growing rapidly. However, with services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video all competing for your money, it can be hard to choose which ones are worth the cost.
Netflix and Hulu are excellent video-on-demand services that provide a wide range of content at a low monthly rate.
However, not all of those programs are available to stream live. You must upgrade to a cable package if you want to watch them as they air.
On the other hand, Amazon Prime Video is a streaming service that offers live TV packages and on-demand video content. In addition, prime subscribers can stream shows and movies with an Amazon Prime membership at no extra cost beyond their annual dues.
If you’re looking for a way to cut your cable bill or don’t have access to traditional TV services, Amazon’s streaming service has some great features that might be worth checking out.
The best live tv streaming services are ones that also let you watch local channels and national cable channels, too. Most live tv streaming services come with at least CBS, NBC, and ABC in most areas.
Usually, other networks are included, too, but sometimes for a higher price. It’s important to remember that some of the lesser-known networks are not available everywhere, so double-check before you subscribe to make sure you’ll get the channels you want.
If you’re unsure which live tv streaming services will give you access to all your favorite channels, check out our guide to the best live tv streaming services.
It’s a great resource for discovering more about each service, including what channels they offer and how much they cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better, Sling or FUBO?
Sling and FUBO are cable management products that help organize the wires that can clutter your home theater system.
Both products do a great job at managing your wires, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference for your choice.
Sling is a more traditional product, as it is essentially a metal rack with hooks on which you can hang your cables. Sling also sells optional hangers which you can use to store things like DVD cases or video game consoles.
Sling’s primary advantage over other cable management systems is its versatility. If you don’t need to store things like DVD cases or video game consoles, you’re better off with something more sleek and streamlined such as HIDEit Mounts’ FUBO product line.
FUBO is a line of wire organizers, ranging from simple wire covers to full-blown cable management systems (complete with cable ties and heat-resistant covers).
The variety of options allows you to customize your setup based on your individual needs, but the most important thing to consider when choosing between Sling and FUBO is how you want your cables to look.
FUBO wire managers are essentially decorative pieces for your home theater system; they hide the wires and make them look neater, but they aren’t meant to be hidden away.
SlingLocks’ products are designed to be placed behind furniture or against walls so that only the cables are visible.
Hulu is the biggest streaming service, with an extensive free library and the best combination of original content and on-demand media.
But with the advent of competitors like Amazon, Netflix, and HBO Go, Hulu has started to feel a little overpriced for what it offers.
While you can’t beat being able to watch all five seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a day (for free if you’re a Hulu Plus subscriber).
If you don’t mind paying for streaming content and live in a place where you can get Amazon Prime or Netflix, there are a few things about those services that might make them superior for some people.
Let’s start with the basics: Amazon Prime is $80 annually and includes free two-day shipping on most Amazon purchases. It also provides access to the Kindle Lending Library, where you can borrow one book monthly for free.
For streaming video, Netflix costs about $10 per month, with no additional fees or add-ons required; if you want DVDs by mail, it’s an other $4 per month.
Amazon Prime does not have live TV. Although some services stream live TV on Amazon devices, Amazon Prime does not support them now.
However, Prime Video offers several popular TV shows and movies that can be streamed anytime.
Since you’re paying for Prime’s free 2-day shipping and other perks with an annual membership, you may wonder why Prime Video isn’t included in the original membership fee.
Amazon wants to profit from selling things to you, not providing a service.
It’s been reported (by Business Insider) that Amazon launched Prime Instant Video mainly to drive more physical product sales through its website.
Amazon didn’t even sell Prime as a video service until 2011, 8 years after it was founded. If you want to watch Prime Video on your TV, buy a Fire Stick or another Amazon device. It’s not available on Apple TV or Roku.
You can get local channels on Amazon Prime but you must be subscribed to a separate service.
Sling TV is one of the most popular services you can use to do this, and it’s a good bet that many local channels will be available on their “Sling Blue” package.
You’ll have access to over 40 channels for $25 a month, so it’s not a bad deal if you’re looking for something other than streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
You can also get local channels on Amazon Prime as part of their “Ultra” package. This premium subscription includes everything from the standard Prime membership, including free 2-day shipping and access to Amazon’s video library.
You’ll have to pay $100 annually for this one, but some benefits make it worth the cost.
Netflix doesn’t offer live TV, but they have plenty of great options for streaming content on your schedule. You can get many great movies and TV shows if you wait a few days, weeks, or months after their original air date.
Similar services include Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube TV. If you want live programming immediately and don’t care about how many episodes are available to stream, there are a few other options.
Sling TV is a subscription-based service that provides access to channels like AMC, ESPN, Food Network, and more for $20 a month. Philo is another similar streaming service that costs $16 per month.
Both services include plenty of channels on any basic cable package and even some premium channels like Starz and Showtime in some areas for an additional price.
FUBO is better. Not because it’s cheaper but because of its streaming quality. With YouTube TV, many shows won’t load or stall out every few minutes.
You often have to buffer or stalling problems with YouTube TV, even if your internet speed is fast enough to handle it.
And this is something I can’t forgive; it’s not like YouTube TV doesn’t know what it’s doing and how to do it. They don’t care enough to do their job if you already pay them.
Sling is the best live TV streaming service for a good price. In addition to its channel selection, Sling has a strong DVR and an app that isn’t terrible.
Its most expensive package costs $40 per month and includes over 40 channels, so you can get nearly everything you’d want for less than $50 per month.
That’s not bad when you consider some other services charge more than twice as much for similar packages.
Sling doesn’t have every channel out there. It lacks CBS All Access and Showtime Anytime, both of which are great options if available in your area—but it has plenty of big names like ESPN, Disney Channel, and ABC Family.
It’s hard to watch live TV when you have cable. It costs a lot, and the channels are limited unless you want to pay for more packages. The satellite is even worse—fewer channels, and the quality isn’t great.
Thankfully, several options are available for streaming services that offer many channels at an affordable price point. We’ve rounded up our top picks below so you can find one that works well with your family’s needs.