The best live TV streaming services
Live TV streaming services are marketed as a cheaper alternative to cable or satellite, offering tighter channel packages to potential “cord cutters”. However, prices have risen in this space, reducing the cost benefit of streaming over traditional TV.
That said, in many cases you can save money with certain services, but choosing the right package is essential to getting the most out of these platforms, so you’ll want to figure out which TV stations you need before choosing a provider.
If you’re planning to use a live TV streaming service to replace cable on multiple TVs in your home, be prepared to pay a little extra so you can stream simultaneously on separate devices. Also, remember that these TV services have the same ads as cable even though they are broadcast online.
Streaming quality can vary from channel to channel, but usually they all maintain a resolution of 720p or 1080p. Again, you’ll want to check out the specific channel packages and other benefits each service offers to determine which one is best for you.
Here’s a rundown of the main live TV services available now:
Sling TV offers two different packages, Sling Blue and Sling Orange, for $40 per month each, or $55 per month bundled together.
Sling Blue offers streaming on up to three devices and more channels, including MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Sports, and the NFL Network. Sling Orange offers the Disney channel and the ESPN family of networks, but only allows one streaming device at a time. You can find a full breakdown of Sling TV channels in our guide.
Getting the bundle makes the most sense, as you get the full suite of channels and features for $15 more. It’s worth noting that Sling only offers local NBC, Fox, and ABC stations in select cities, so if you can’t get those channels through Sling, you should look at another service or an antenna.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV costs $70 per month to access Hulu’s more than 85 live TV channels. However, you must pay for an upgrade to stream on more than two devices at the same time. On the other hand, Hulu + Live TV automatically includes the full on-demand service of Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN+, so you get a lot more value there.
The basic package includes all the major local networks in most markets, the ESPN family of channels, the Fox and NBC Sports channels, and the SEC Network. However, the service lacks access to AMC, NBA TV, and the MLB Network, all of which are standard for YouTube TV.
Fubo TV starting at $75 per month for more than 100 channels, 1,000 hours of cloud DVR space, and streaming on up to 10 devices in your home. Unlike most of its competitors, Fubo charges extra for sports channels like the SEC Network, NBA TV, and the MLB Network. Local Fubo TV channels are included at no extra cost.
YouTube TV it costs $73 per month for over 85 YouTube TV channels with unlimited DVR cloud storage and streaming on up to three devices simultaneously. YouTubeTV includes more sports channels in its basic package than its competitors, including ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, NFL Network, NBA TV, and MLB Network.
New members can get their first three months at a discounted rate of $65 per month.
Stream DirectTV (formerly AT&T TV) starting at $75 per month for a no-contract plan. DirecTV provides more pricing and package options than most live TV streaming competitors—the service offers nearly every channel, but like standard cable, it can be difficult to get all the channels you want in a cheap deal.
Philo Television the most affordable option at $25 per month for 60+ channels. Unfortunately, Philo TV viewers don’t have access to local networks, and the service doesn’t offer many upgrade options for watching sports or cable news. It does offer popular cable channels like Paramount Network, Comedy Central, MTV, and AMC, though, so there’s still plenty to watch.