Streaming tv and remote

The Best Live TV Streaming Services

You love the idea of cutting your cable company loose, but you just can’t give up your favorite extended cable channels. And where would you be without the bliss of a full DVR at the end of a long week? The good news is that streaming services aren’t what they used to be, and that’s a good thing. Thanks to modern TV streaming services, like Sling TV and Philo, you don’t have to sacrifice what you love about cable to switch to a cordless option. 

Live TV streaming services are different from on-demand streaming platforms. While streaming platforms like Netflix and Max offer a selection of on-demand programming, TV streaming services combine previously aired content with a line-up of live major networks. Live programming line-ups on streaming services often include a blend of local networks like ABC and NBC and national networks like ESPN, CNN, Bravo, and TV Land. Some streaming services, including Roku, have their own branded streaming devices. But you can access nearly any streaming service on your tablet, laptop, smartphone, smart TV, and other internet-connected gadgets. You may even be able to log into your streaming service from a gaming console. Once logged in, you can see your full channel line-up and access your cloud DVR (when applicable).

Read on to compare the best streaming service for your budget and specific content needs.

What are the best live TV streaming services?

Streaming services run the gamut of super affordable platforms with limited channels to more expensive options with line-ups that have hundreds of channels. On some services, like Hulu for example, you can even upgrade your existing account to add live TV so you don’t have to sign up for a brand new service. What we’re saying is, in the world of live TV streaming, there is something for everyone.

Today there’s a long list of services to choose from, but here are the best live TV streaming services of the bunch:

Compare live TV streaming services

Live streaming TV online has never been easier. You’re spoiled for choice. We’ve taken all the features you care about and compared each streaming service in one convenient place. Is the best live TV streaming service for you an option with a low monthly payment, or do you need a service that maximizes your simultaneous streaming potential? 

See what the best TV streaming services have to offer in terms of price, titles, channels, DVR space, and more.

 DIRECTV STREAMFuboHulu + Live TVPhiloSling TV YouTube TV
PricingClick here for current pricing, promotions, & specialsClick here for current pricing, promotions, & specialsClick here for current pricing, promotions, & specialsClick here for current pricing, promotions, & specialsClick here for current pricing, promotions, & specialsClick here for current pricing, promotions, & specials
Number of titles40,000+30,000+3,000+25,000+50,000+50,000
Number of channels75+100+95+60+50+100+
Number of simultaneous streamsUnlimited on home networkup to 10231-43
DVR storageUnlimited1000 hoursUnlimitedUnlimited50 hoursUnlimited
Ad-free streamingNoNoYes (on-demand content only)NoNoNo
Picture quality720p1080p1080p720p720p1080p
Free trial length5 DaysVariesNone7 daysNoneVaries

How to choose the right live TV streaming service for you

Searching for that special live TV streaming service needn’t be difficult. Know what you want, and you’re halfway there. Consider which channels you need to have access to and which ones you can do without. Next, turn to DVR storage. Do you need hundreds of hours to store tons of episodes? Or can you make do with less?

Do you need a lot of on-demand content to binge all winter? All TV streaming services have thousands of on-demand titles, but some have tens of thousands of titles. And speaking of on-demand content, can you make do with ads? If not, prioritize services with the option to upgrade to an ad-free experience.

Last but certainly not least, think about streaming limits. Does every member of your household like different things? Are you likely to have arguments if people can’t watch what they want when they want? If the answer to both of those is a resounding “yes,” you’ll need a service that offers ample simultaneous streams.

Best for premium networks: DIRECTV STREAM

DIRECTV STREAM plans and pricing

If Cinemax and HBO are your go-to networks, you’ll love DIRECTV STREAM. It’s the only streaming service to include the channels for free — others charge an additional monthly fee on top of the regular subscription price. To pay nothing extra for these two premium networks, you’ll have to choose the Premier plan. It costs $164.99 per month and boasts 150+ channels.

Outside of the Premier package, DIRECTV STREAM has three other packages to choose from. The Entertainment plan is the cheapest. Costing $79.99 per month, it comes with more than 75 TV channels. There’s also the Choice package, which will set you back $108.99 per month for over 105 channels and the Ultimate package for $119.99 per month for 140+ channels. Each comes with a mixture of news, sports, entertainment, and kid channels. Plus, you can personalize each package with add-ons, ranging from movie packs to Spanish-language specials.


DIRECTV STREAM allows you to stream on unlimited devices on your home network and record with unlimited DVR. Save your favorite content for up to 9 months for no additional charge.


AT&T TV is not a good option for streamers on a budget. It may be out of the price range for people who are trying to save money by ditching cable. Plus, the picture quality is capped at 720p. 

What to watch on DIRECTV STREAM 

If you opt for a plan that includes HBO (or choose to add the channel), you’ll be able to catch new and recent episodes of popular shows like Insecure and Westworld. With any plan, kids can enjoy cartoons from Disney and Nickelodeon, while adults can soak up the hilarity found on Comedy Central.

Best for sports fans: Fubo

Fubo plans and pricing

Sports fans will find their home in Fubo. A streaming service that started with a soccer focus, Fubo now features all kinds of content. But it’s never lost its love of sports. In fact, it still airs more than 30,000 live games and events every year. Some are even shown in 4K.

Fubo has several add-on options. It’s standard $79.99 per month. plan gives you access to over 180 channels, but the service prioritizes personalization. You can add NFL RedZone and 23 other sports channels via the Sports Plus package ($11 per month). For individual monthly fees, premium networks like AMC Premiere and Showtime can each be added to your package.

Pros of Fubo

Customizing your Fubo experience is pretty easy with add-ons. You can even upgrade the service’s DVR and simultaneous stream capabilities. The service offers 10000 cloud DVR recording hours, which will change to unlimited DVR later this year.

Cons of Fubo

Some of the most popular features of Fubo, including unlimited screens, require an additional cost. This can quickly increase monthly costs. Their premium channels don’t include HBO, so you’ll still need an additional subscription if you can’t go without new episodes of Succession

What to watch on Fubo

Stay up to date with your favorite international teams, with Fubo’s extensive soccer coverage. You’ll find English Premier League, German Supercup, and Argentine Superleague games. There are also countless on-demand movies to kick back and relax to. The current list includes Oscar winners like Green Book, titles from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and kid-friendly choices like How to Train Your Dragon.

Best for original on-demand content: Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV plans and pricing

Hulu + Live TV combines an impressive live TV list with a Netflix-worthy catalog of on-demand titles. And it does it all for one price. Get more than 95 news, sports, kids, and entertainment channels and thousands of on-demand programs for $76.99 per month. Plus, the package includes all of Hulu’s award-winning original shows, Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of The Disney Bundle.

You can enjoy ad-free on-demand content with the live TV plan for $89.99 per month. It also gives you the chance to download titles for offline viewing — ideal for frequent travelers.

Hulu + Live TV’s streaming service includes unlimited DVR storage, allowing users to record and store an extensive range of shows and movies. The standard plan also offers streaming on two screens simultaneously, catering to the needs of households with multiple viewers.

For an additional $9.99 per month, Hulu provides an upgrade to stream on unlimited screens at home and three screens on the go, enhancing flexibility for larger households and frequent travelers. However, it’s important to note that restrictions apply to streaming content from premium networks, a common practice in the industry.

Pros of Hulu + Live TV

Upgrading to Hulu + Live TV is easy if you already have a Hulu account. Plus, you can add the Hulu app to your Roku, Fire TV stick, and many other streaming devices for easy access to your content. You can also add Spanish-language content or additional entertainment channels with add-ons that cost under $10. 

Cons of Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV does not include any premium channels as a part of its standard line-up. Users may not find the regular Hulu interface to be as intuitive as some other streamers. 

What to watch on Hulu + Live TV

Longing to keep up with your favorite sport? Catch every major championship from the worlds of basketball, football, golf, and more with Hulu + Live TV. And if you’re looking for a Hulu original, try dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale or the supremely funny Shrill.

Best for households on a budget: Philo

Philo plans and pricing

Philo offers subscribers 70+ live channels for the low price of $25 per month. Popular channels include A&E, AMC, BET, Food Network, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, VH1, and more.

You can stream on up to three devices at the same time and users can create up to 10 profiles per account. Plus, record your favorite shows with unlimited DVR and save them for a year.

Although the streamer only has one plan, if you’re interested in adding on more channels, you have a few different options and they each come with a 7-day free trial.

Philo is one of the cheapest live TV streaming services around. So if you’re on a budget, you’ll want to take a look at its $25 per month. plan. Offering over 70 channels, including AMC, Comedy Central, Discovery, and Nickelodeon, it’s designed with pure entertainment in mind. Keep in mind that you won’t find local channels or sports networks, but you will find plenty of on-demand titles to while away the hours.

Pros of Philo

Philo doesn’t offer add-ons, but it does allow up to 10 profiles per account and 3 simultaneous streams. So if you love history documentaries, your partner’s into reality TV, and your kids can’t get enough cartoons, you can all watch your faves with the click of a button. Why not start a 7-day free trial to see what it’s really like?

Cons of Philo

If you like to personalize your experience, you may not like that Philo doesn’t offer add-ons. And the lack of focus on sports programming can be a real downer for some users. 

What to watch on Philo Fans of The Walking Dead will find all their needs satisfied with a Philo subscription. Not only will you be able to watch the original show, but you’ll also have access to the spin-offs like Fear the Walking Dead. Reality TV comes in the form of lifestyle shows such as House Hunters and dating dramas like 90 Day Fiancé. When it comes to kids, Paw Patrol will keep young viewers entertained.

Best for personalization: Sling TV

Sling TV plans and pricing

Sling has three different plans which give streamers flexibility to find something for themselves and the whole family. Channels vary based on location, but you can check out the full lineup for each plan here.

  • Sling Blue – $40 per month: Sling Blue is perfect for those who enjoy news and entertainment as it includes TNT, TBS, Bravo, HGTV, and CNN as part of its lineup of over 40 channels. Plus, record your favorites with 50 hours of DVR and stream on 3 devices simultaneously.
  • Sling Orange – $40 per month: Sling Orange is ideal for sports and families as it includes ESPN, ESPN2, Disney, and CNN, as part of its lineup of over 30 channels. Plus, record your favorites with 50 hours of DVR and stream on 1 device.
  • Sling Orange & Blue – $55 per month: For the best of both worlds, Sling Orange & Blue unlocks and combines the best of the other two plans. Plus, record your favorites with 50 hours of DVR and stream Sling Orange channels on 1 device and Sling Blue channels on up to 3 devices simultaneously.

*In select markets there is an extra $5 charge for local channels.

Pros of Sling TV

The main advantage of Sling TV is the low price. You can either get one package or get both the Blue and Orange plans for a discount. Users have access to most of their favorite networks, even a handful of local channels. 

Cons of Sling TV

The main drawback of Sling TV is the limited channel line-up with a single plan. It’s hard to get a healthy line-up that combines sports, news, and entertainment on the same plan. The DVR space is also more limited than with other live TV streaming services. 

What to watch on Sling TV

With a Sling TV subscription, you can catch the brand new season of BBC America’s darkly funny Killing Eve and Bravo’s drama-filled The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. American Dad! fans will be happy to hear they won’t miss out on the series’ 17th season or guest appearances from Jane Lynch, Bill Nye, and The Weeknd.

Best for unlimited DVR storage: YouTube TV

YouTube TV plans and pricing 

Base plan – $72.99 per month: 100+ live channels, unlimited DVR space to store your favorite shows and more for up to 9 months, special features like Key Play Views, and 6 household accounts and streams. Since channels vary based on viewers’ location you can check their site to see what channels are included in your area.

There’s also the option to add premium networks for an additional monthly fee. Showtime costs $7/mo., while NBA League Pass is $40/mo. 

Pros of YouTube TV

YouTube TV’s cloud DVR capabilities are truly impressive. Each account comes with unlimited storage, and recordings can be kept for up to 9 months. 

Up to 3 people can use the service at once to help curb TV-related family disputes. And 1 account can house up to 6 profiles, so each member of your household can view personalized recommendations. New subscribers can try a 7-day free trial.

Cons of YouTube TV

The recent and significant price increase for YouTube TV means it’s no longer cheaper than cable for many users. And you won’t find original content on the service — though, to be fair, you won’t find that on most live TV streaming services.

What to watch on YouTube TV

You can catch long-running hit shows like The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy with YouTube TV. The service also has much-loved series like Friends. There are also plenty of sports and reality TV options to keep you busy, including the likes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Bachelor.

The final cut

Using a popular service such as  DIRECTV STREAMSling TVFuboHulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV to live stream TV online is a cost-effective way to say goodbye to cable. With all the most popular channels and plenty of premium options, you won’t want for much more. While many of these services offer access to local channels such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, some don’t. Serious local sports fans might consider using an HD antenna to enjoy free local sports action. If you are looking for an affordable way to boost your entertainment library, think about pairing your chosen live TV subscription with a free streaming service. Some offer thousands of classic and contemporary titles for no extra cost. 

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